Using Results Count to Realize the Promise of Equity for All

Pol­i­cyLink, a nation­al research insti­tute, is lever­ag­ing the skills and tools of Results Count®. The Casey Foundation’s unique approach to lead­er­ship devel­op­ment helps Pol­i­cyLink under­take ini­tia­tives aimed at achiev­ing equi­table results for the 100 mil­lion peo­ple in Amer­i­ca liv­ing in or near pover­ty — the major­i­ty of whom are peo­ple of color.

One of sev­en Results Count hubs, Pol­i­cyLink has infused this data-dri­ven approach into its strat­e­gy to spur large-scale change and spread results-ori­ent­ed cul­ture to exter­nal partners.


Cen­tral to PolicyLink’s work is part­ner­ing with hun­dreds of grass­roots orga­ni­za­tions in cities, sub­urbs, rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and trib­al lands. Instead of tai­lor­ing a grant pro­pos­al to meet a foundation’s pro­gram­mat­ic objec­tive, Pol­i­cyLink wants to ensure that fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties are aligned with an organization’s long-term goals.

Results-Based Facil­i­ta­tion™, which helps cat­alyze meet­ing par­tic­i­pants and holds them account­able to their com­mit­ments, informs vir­tu­al­ly every meet­ing at Pol­i­cyLink. ​“If you’re on the agen­da,” says Pol­i­cyLink Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Ash­leigh Gardere, ​“you present your results frame in the broad­er orga­ni­za­tion­al con­text before talk­ing about your work.”

Results Count also plays a role in PolicyLink’s recruit­ing and onboard­ing of employ­ees. Final­ists for open posi­tions are briefed on the methodology’s impor­tance to the orga­ni­za­tion. Once hired, new employ­ees receive Results Count train­ing in the form of a four-part series of record­ed ses­sions specif­i­cal­ly made for Pol­i­cyLink staff.


As an equi­ty orga­ni­za­tion, Pol­i­cyLink wel­comed Results Counts’ empha­sis on dis­ag­gre­gat­ing data to under­stand the entire pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple liv­ing in or near pover­ty, with spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion giv­en to the racial groups fac­ing the great­est bar­ri­ers. PolicyLink’s over­all vision, which will require a gen­er­a­tion-long effort and many part­ners, has helped the orga­ni­za­tion uni­fy the work of its pro­grams. Each pro­gram and oper­a­tions team has devel­oped its own results frame­work, work plan and per­for­mance mea­sures to advance PolicyLink’s over­all objec­tives. This process helps staff mem­bers under­stand their con­tri­bu­tion to, and account­abil­i­ty for, the orga­ni­za­tion’s work.

The orga­ni­za­tion’s over­all goal — con­tribut­ing to trans­for­ma­tive out­comes for the 100 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing at or below 200% of the fed­er­al pover­ty lev­el — was a key start­ing point for reex­am­in­ing PolicyLink’s strate­gies. One con­se­quence of this analy­sis, aid­ed by the Results Count tool fac­tor analy­sis, was the devel­op­ment of the Racial Equi­ty Gov­ern­ing Agen­da, which seeks to reform pub­lic poli­cies and insti­tu­tion­al prac­tices that rein­force racial inequality.

“What we real­ized is you can nev­er have a just soci­ety if our democ­ra­cy and our gov­ern­ing struc­tures are not equi­table,” says Gardere. ​“That was a major breakthrough.”

One part of the Racial Equi­ty Gov­ern­ing Agen­da is the Equi­ty Scor­ing Ini­tia­tive, a part­ner­ship with the Urban Insti­tute aimed at estab­lish­ing a new sys­tem to mea­sure the equi­ty impact of pro­posed leg­is­la­tion. ​“We are look­ing for the long-term impacts of pol­i­cy on out­comes,” says Judith Dan­ger­field, PolicyLink’s man­ag­ing direc­tor of the Racial Equi­ty Gov­ern­ing Agen­da. ​“Just as the Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office scores leg­is­la­tion for bud­get impact, we want to devel­op an objec­tive method­ol­o­gy to say whether a pro­posed piece of leg­is­la­tion meets the thresh­old of equi­table out­comes for a just society.”


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