This resource is a portfolio close-out note that was originally developed for colleagues internally at OSF: It provides an overview of the portfolio (its aims, structure, and scope) along with reflections on key achievements and lessons learned.
This resource is part of the MEL toolkit for grantmakers and grantees resource collection.
Authors and their affiliation
Megan Colnar, Andrea Azevedo, Jay Locke, Robin Varghese, and Stephanie Lucas (Economic Justice Program MEL Team, Open Society Foundations)
Key features of this portfolio close-out note
Messy problems are hard to measure—and economic (in)justice is certainly a messy problem. Complexity-sensitive methods and tools for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) do exist, but underinvestment and skepticism within the economic justice and fiscal governance fields about the value of MEL mean that few have been taken up or tailored to fit.
The Strategy & Impact Unit within the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program decided to address these challenges much as it would any other: through grant-making, technical assistance, and in-kind support. This Unit secured resources for a standalone portfolio—Enhancing Impact for Economic Justice (EI4EJ)—which ran from 2017 (under the former Fiscal Governance Program) until the closure of the Economic Justice Program in 2021.
This resource is the EI4EJ portfolio close-out note that was produced by the Strategy & Impact Unit. Originally developed for colleagues internally at OSF, the note provides an overview of the portfolio (its aims, structure, and scope) along with reflections on key achievements and lessons learned.
While this note was primarily intended for internal (OSF) audiences, the note includes several learnings and recommendations for the broader donor community, highlighting the notable achievements of the team and sharing words of advice for staff continuing to work on these issues.
How have you used or intend on using this resource?
This close-out note was used to share information about and knowledge generated through the work of the Enhancing Impact for Economic Justice portfolio to OSF colleagues who would continue to work on evidence, innovation, and MEL under the new. The note aimed to ensure that the important strides made as part of the EI4EJ portfolio (and EJP’s broader MEL sub-strategy) would not be lost and instead help inform future efforts.
Why would you recommend it to other people?
This close-out note is useful for any donors looking to strengthen evidence and learning in the field in which they work. Independent evaluations undertaken in 2021 revealed that many grantees and peers felt EJP’s investment in MEL was one of the most significant contributions that the program made to the economic justice field. This note may offer ideas for how to structure a similar portfolio for strengthening MEL in the field. It will be especially useful when used in conjunction with more specific guidance on some of the initiatives pursued as part of the EI4EJ portfolio, such as the Fiscal Governance Indicators project and the Learning Exchange Fund.
Colnar, M., Locke, J., Azevedo, A., Varghese, R. & Lucas, S. (2021). Close-out note for the Enhancing Impact for Economic Justice portfolio. Retrieved from https://www.betterevaluation.org/tools-resources/close-out-note-for-enhancing-impact-for-economic-justice-portfolio
These resources are part of the Seeding innovation, evidence, and grantee-led learning in the economic justice field series of the MEL toolkit for grantmakers and grantees resource collection.