Arcus Social Justice Program Strategy Evaluation Report: 2020

March 22, 2022|Arcus Foundation

This internally commissioned report evaluates the Arcus Social Justice Program’s success in implementing updated strategies for grantmaking to movements and organizations working toward social justice in East and southern Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and the southern United States. Measuring against predetermined indicators, the report examines progress made within the program’s three goal areas: increased safety, increased protections, and increased acceptance and inclusion. Insights gained from this assessment allow Arcus to determine how well our strategies are working, where we may need to question our assumptions, and whether the evidence points to the need to adjust our strategies.

The data and information included in the report comes from grant reports submitted by our grantees; our ongoing engagement with grantees, colleague funders and others with relevant experience in our geographic regions; research reports; and media sources. In addition, Arcus analyzes its own grantmaking data to ensure that funding reflects the foundation’s priorities and values.

Among the key takeaways of the report are the following:

  • Flexible funding and flexible grantmaking processes enabled grantees to make the necessary adjustments and changes to remain sustainable during the early months of the pandemic and to protect the most marginalized in their communities.
  • Our support in Mexico has been key to the development of new coalition efforts in advocacy, strategic litigation, and assistance to migrants and refugees.
  • Ongoing general operating support grants have helped grantees in Arizona and Georgia achieve significant base-building objectives and push back anti-LGBTQ policy proposals.
  • Throughout the international regions where we fund, Arcus grants have supported the growth of organizations and projects using strategic litigation to achieve policy protections.
  • Pro-LGBTQ faith leaders in the African countries where we fund are beginning to speak out publicly against hate violence and are helping to educate police and public officials.

The 2020 report marks the second in an annual series. We began fully implementing our current Social Justice Program strategy in 2019 and released a summary of our first assessment report.

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2020 Annual Evaluation Update (Full Report)
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I. Introduction and Strategy Implementation Questions
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II. A Year Like No Other – Funding in a Pandemic
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III. The Social Justice Program Strategy and Theory of Change
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IV. The Strategy at Work – Two In-Depth Analyses
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V. Strategic Advances Within our Geographic Regions
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VI. An Analysis of 2020 Grant Data
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VII. Learnings, Challenges and Opportunities