Increasing evaluation knowledge and skills can help funders, grantees, and communities more effectively commission and use evaluations. Rainbow Research integrates evaluation capacity building with projects that can benefit from this additional technical assistance. Clients not only gain a better understanding of their own projects, but also, increase their own ability to track progress, make improvements, and document impact. We serve clients at every level of their organization, whether as a trusted advisor to top management or as a hands-on coach.
The Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) is a grant program established to provide direct investments in organizations focused on improving the health and well-being of American Indians and people of color. Funded by the Minnesota state legislature, the program aims to reduce disparities in 8 priority health areas for communities of color and American Indians. Rainbow Research has worked with the Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Equity to evaluate EHDI for more than 15 years. Rainbow provides annual reports of outcomes and impacts to the legislature and has helped to produce numerous pieces, including a 20-year reflection on results and needs related to Cultivating a Health Equity Ecosystem.
Minnesota Department of Health – COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCCs) is a project that started in September 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, by the MN Department of Health (MDH) who engaged 29 culturally specific community organizations along with the MN Department of Human Services (DHS) Refugee Hub and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Disability Hub to serve as COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCCs). The CCCs provided culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, and timely information and referral services in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic (this includes African American, African immigrant, American Indian, Asian, American Pacific Islander, Latinx, LGBTQ, and disability communities). Rainbow Research was selected to provide technical assistance and support to MDH staff and the CCC organizations. The CCCs served as coordinators, navigators, advocates, educators, mentors, and providers of mental health and other support to their communities. Between October 2020 to June 2022, they successfully reached over 317,700 people, distributed more than 82,138 resources, fielded approximately 20,000 calls through hotlines, and facilitated COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 30,500 people. The CCC model put MDH at the forefront of innovation in the United States. In addition to making testing and vaccination accessible to historically marginalized communities, this initiative highlighted the use and value of disaggregated race/ethnicity data to effectively inform the response to public health crises such as COVID-19 and paved the way for a more equitable response to public health emergencies by creating an infrastructure that links state agencies and community based, culturally specific agencies.
The Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness (MICH) is a cabinet-level body led by Lt. Governor Flanagan. It comprises the commissioners of 13 state agencies and the chair of the Metropolitan Council. It is accountable for leading the state’s efforts toward housing, health, and racial justice for people experiencing homelessness. The Council contracted with Rainbow Research to conduct the first phase of work to develop a statewide justice-oriented strategic plan beginning with the hiring of 12 consultants with varied lived experiences with homelessness to drive the process of creating a unified, operational definition of housing, racial, and health justice for people experiencing homelessness. Using the definitions from Phase 1, the consultants have begun working with each of the 13 state agencies to prioritize their actions, strategies, and results.
Food in Communities (FIC) is a project funded by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE). It is a community-based initiative focused on expanding equitable or fair access for everyone to healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant foods in the Denver metro area. In collaboration with community members and new or existing neighborhood groups, the project addresses food access and insecurity through programs and policies.
We partner with critical social change initiatives emerging from communities.
Minnesota Million Project with the Nature Conservancy is a project that includes the Nature Conservancy of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota who are working with Joe Morales of Rainbow Research to create a shared vision of reforestation in Minnesota. Recent data suggests that there may be up to three million acres available to be reforested in our state – formerly forest land that could be appropriate to reforest. After some initial outreach, our staff recognized that we needed support in crafting a vision with leadership from Native Nations, but we needed help creating a cohesive vision. We feel that the original caretakers of the land should be key decision-makers as we consider how we might embark on a large-scale reforestation project. Joe has been essential in establishing and growing meaningful relationships with Native leaders across Minnesota, and he has provided thoughtful insight and skilled facilitation throughout this process. In addition, his listening ear, calm demeanor, sense of humor, and network of trust have been game-changers in our work.
Environmental Justice Assessment is a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to assess the landscape of environmental justice challenges in Minnesota and work being done to address these challenges. The assessment we complete by the end of April 2023, will support longer term engagement around ensuring a healthier environment for every Minnesota, whether urban or rural, whether rich or poor.
We co-create tailored projects with groups seeking to advance capacity in research, evaluation, and capacity building.
Creative CityMaking Minneapolis is a project that uses a Human Systems Dynamic framework to conduct a developmental and outcome evaluation of Creative CityMaking Minneapolis. This is a unique initiative funded by the Kresge Foundation that embeds artists into city departments. Artists created new forms of exchange between the city departments and the communities they serve, employing unique strategies to build community engagement and empowerment, and address the pressing issues of disparities in access and opportunity in our city. Rainbow Research used a mixed methods approach to provide ongoing improvement feedback for the one-year initiative and articulate the impact on the city entity and the community to inform the field of artist-infused community development.
National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) – The Youth Advocate Leadership Corps is a pilot project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The project led by the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) and Rainbow Research; Inc. will join the effort as the evaluator of this program across five university campuses in the United States.
Collaborative Solutions – Pohlad Family Foundation is an innovative approach to reimagine and redesign safety for four cities across the Twin Cities metro area. It is receiving the support of the Pohlad Family Foundation, local agencies, and groups committed to bringing new alternatives for safety and healing to Minnesota. Through this new path, our communities collectively engaged in efforts that speak to their needs and dreams for a Minnesota to all.