We identify meaningful research topics and research teams that can rigorously answer questions so the outcomes of the research supported by the foundation will help people live healthier and more productive lives, We broadly listen and learn from numerous constituencies so we can identify important community problems. Once these problems are identified, we determine the best means for the foundation to make a meaningful difference with our investment, whether it is by a grant or a contract mechanism.
HOW WE WORK WITH THE FIELD
The entire foundation’s work is done in collaboration with partners, who bond with us in searching for new solutions, and tackling real community health issues with the transformative power of science and technology. We attempt to engage with our partners in a spirit of trust, clear and transparent communication. Our collective efforts also rely on the support and resources of the public and the private sector, international, national and regional communities as well as individuals.
HOW WE DEVELOP STRATEGY
In each of the foundation’s divisions, goals and strategies have to be pre-established before allocating resources and making investments. We continually collect and share data on our progress, reflect on lessons learned, and make course corrections as needed. Essential to this process is ongoing dialogue with our partners—which is embedded throughout our strategy lifecycle.
Annually, each strategy is reviewed and adjustments are made in order to implement paths toward achieving our purposes.
HOW WE MAKE INVESTMENTS
Within each strategy, we collaborate with partners to develop proposals that are in line with our strategic priorities and the organization’s focus and capacities. An important part of this process is reaching agreement on what success will look like for the investment.
A standard four-phase process is used to develop all of our activities. The duration of each phase is variable and relies on the complexity of the project as well as the capacity and geographic location of the prospective partner.
Phase 1: Developing an innovative idea
Our members work to identify original ideas that support our strategic priorities, in consultation with foundation colleagues, researchers, policymakers, and other partners in the field. This phase ends with an internal decision that a proposal fulfils the foundation’s strategy, and it is noteworthy to proceed to further develop the idea.
Phase 2: Proposal development
At this stage, different ways, mainly in collaboration with other partners in the field, are used to explore and improve proposals. No matter what is the approach, we are still committed to understanding the perspective of others to further shape the proposed body of work. This phase ends with the decision to apply for a grant or contract proposal.
- Direct solicitation. When we know that an organization is well-suited to perform the work, we directly solicit an early phase concept memo or proposal.
- Discussion. In some cases, we invite one or more organizations to discuss the concept with us and explore their interest and their capacity to undertake the work. If the organization has the expertise, capacity, and interest, we will invite them to submit a concept memo or proposal.
- Request for proposal (RFP): When we want to broaden our network, we may use an RFP. Public RFPs are posted on our website; private RFPs are directed to specific organizations.
Phase 3: Investment Plan
We will give applicants guidelines and templates for developing a proposal, a budget, and a results framework and tracker. A program officer (or foundation staff member) reviews the submitted materials with internal and, at times, external experts and works with the applicant to integrate recommended changes. We also confirm the applicant organization’s tax status, determine how to structure the transaction, and assess risk. Our legal and financial analysis teams may also participate during this phase.
Investment proposals are reviewed at various levels, with more levels of review for grants and contracts that are more complex. A foundation executive makes the final decision about whether to fund the proposed grant or contract. Before funded activities can commence, the foundation and the partner organization sign an agreement that includes intended results, targets, milestones or reporting deliverables, and a payment schedule.
Phase 4: Management and Close
During the course of a project, the program officer (or foundation staff member) and partner discuss how they will constantly cooperate to monitor progress and challenges of any defined step of the project. Cooperative , clear and consistent communication as well as productive feedbacks are the key words of this stage.
At the conclusion of the project, the partner will work with the program officer (or foundation staff member) to submit a final report that outlines the results obtained and lessons learned.
HOW WE MEASURE AND EVALUATE RESULTS
From the beginning of the project, we work with partners to define the overall SMART results. We call this approach SMART-O (Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Relevant-Timing-Osteopathic based) investing.
To maintain efficiency, flexibility and independence of our partners, we do not require them to report on all of their activities. We focus more on measuring the most crucial metrics of progress that support learning, implementation and outcome. In any case, the modality and frequency of measurement rely on the type of project and will be agreed upon by the foundation and the partners during the preliminary agreement stages.
Evaluation is another collaborative learning tool that provides us and our partners with feedback so we can improve, adjust, and decide how to best achieve outcomes. We work to ensure that the entire process has the capacity and support to generate quality evidence.
Our foundation evaluation policy determines parameters for evaluation and explains how and why we use evaluation and where variation is warranted. We recognise the importance of an ongoing debate about specific evaluation methods that can be selectively applied to individual fields in which we are involved.