Building Non-Profit Capacity and Community Partnerships: Findings from the Communities Empowering Youth (CEY) Evaluation, Final Report

Publication Date: November 15, 2011


In 2006, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the Department of Health and Human Services established the Communities Empowering Youth (CEY) program within the Compassion Capital Fund. CEY’s intent was to address the capacity building needs of partnerships of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that were tackling issues of gang violence, youth violence, or child abuse and neglect. The CEY evaluation results indicate that organizations participating in CEY achieved or improved several specific capacity indicators in many of the capacity domains. Partner organizations reported some statistically significant increases in all four capacity domains, and lead organizations reported some increases in three domains. In terms of partnership capacity, most lead organizations and their partners reported relatively high levels of partnership capacity at baseline, with little change over time. They also reported that their CEY partnerships were not likely to continue to function beyond the grant period. Despite limited partnership capacity increases, nearly all of the organizations’ staff interviewed as part of the case study stated that participating in the CEY partnership helped them build valuable networks and connections with other service providers in their communities. The capital contained within these networks has the potential to improve services to youth in the CEY communities through an increase in joint services and referrals across this web of service providers.

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