At Arcus, we view listening and learning as the first step toward strategic grantmaking, and when appropriate, leading. It is only by listening to stakeholders like our grantee and funder partners that we can create impact through our grantmaking and through other activities.
With humility as one of the organization’s core values, we aim to periodically engage colleagues and partners in ways that help us question our assumptions, develop new insights, and adjust our approaches. By gathering and analyzing relevant data and information, and seeking input from a broad range of perspectives, we are better able to identify opportunities, understand the impact we are having, and make course corrections when the need arises.
Read and download our social justice and apes reports here.
The Arcus Approach to Learning
At the Arcus Foundation, we learn in a variety of ways:
- Internally, we meet regularly across departments to share information with one another so that everyone is aware of current work plans, activities, accomplishments, and learnings.
- We learn from our grantee partners through convenings, conferences, one-to-one meetings, and through biennial surveys that provide us with feedback about how our grantees view their relationship with us as well as how our processes and levels of support are helping them advance their missions.
- We learn through a rigorous process of setting goals and outcomes for ourselves, establishing baseline measures and assessing our progress. In this way, we work together to revisit our initial assumptions and adjust our strategies as necessary.
EvaluationAs a grantmaker, we have a responsibility to assess the progress and impact of the program strategies that guide our mission areas of social justice and ape conservation. We take a disciplined look across all areas of the foundation’s work and operations, asking and answering key questions relating to overall performance, application of human and financial resources, and results of our grantmaking and other program-related efforts. We engage in evaluation to both learn about the work of our grantees and to determine whether our own strategies are helping to advance change. In addition to reviewing grant reports and conducting site visits, we track items such as value delivered to grantees beyond the grant dollars we provide, publications and research that advance knowledge in the mission areas or the sector, and attention/credibility brought to an issue as a result of Arcus’ focus.
We also assess the extent to which Arcus’ involvement helped contribute to any positive outcomes, examining instances where our efforts are working well and where they may not be achieving what we originally hoped. In the latter instance, we revise, adjust and implement course corrections.Read and download our reports below.