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$2.1M in grants open for Social Impact Evaluations

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Social impact evaluations that include trials and other experimental components, when performed ethically, are highly effective tools, yet they are still vastly underused across the for-purpose sector.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF) is hoping to change that with the announcement by Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, that PRF is funding a new $2.1 million national open grant round for evaluations of social impact programs that include an ethical experimental component. 

“In medicine, randomised trials have saved countless lives,” said Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP 

“Bringing the same ‘what works’ philosophy to Australian social policy is vital to helping the most vulnerable.” 

“In countries such as Britain and the United States, philanthropic foundations have a strong track record in supporting randomised policy trials. In Australia, it’s terrific to see the Paul Ramsay Foundation leading the way.” 

PRF’s aim is to deepen the understanding and experience of evaluation techniques in Australia to better measure and create social impact. The evaluations will contribute to the evidence base that will help shape future investment in social impact programs. 

Expressions of interest are now open for seven available grants, up to a maximum of $300,000 each, to fund evaluations of social impact programs that align with PRF’s purpose of a future where people and places have what they need to thrive. PRF is receiving support from the Australian Centre for Evaluation at various stages of the grant round. 

“These grants are a $2.1 million investment in using experimental evaluation design to increase sector capacity and social impact,” said PRF’s Head of Measurement, Evaluation, Research, and Learning, Dr George Argyrous. 

“The open grant round will show that experimental design can be a cost-effective and efficient way to evaluate areas of social impact while also complementing quasi and non-experimental evaluation designs.” 

The grants are open to registered charities and non-profit organisations who are implementing or intend to implement, programs that improve outcomes aligned to PRF’s outcomes which are: 

  • Children and young people have positive life paths free from entrenched poverty and harm. 
  • Places and communities are connected and imagining and leading their own futures. 
  • Conditions support thriving. 
  • First Nations people and communities are self-determining. 

Expressions of interest are open from Monday, 17 June to Tuesday, 23 July 2024, with an open, online information session to be held on Tuesday, 25 June 2024. 

Following the EOI process, successful programs will be invited to make a full grant application. PRF will engage Evaluation Advisors to support applicants and ensure all relevant requirements are addressed. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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