Client: International District Housing Alliance (IDHA)
IDHA was the leader in a partnership of community agencies and non-profits In the International District. Its mandate was to reduce solid wastes for businesses and residents, protect water quality and improve outdoor air quality. The funding agency, US Environmental Protect Agency, requested that the CARE (Community Action for A Renewed Environment) evaluation also address leadership issues, cultural factors that influence communication, and project sustainability.
Changes in agency leadership and staffing, shifting goals and lack of community engagement gave the evaluation added focus. The evaluation process helped diffuse tension among partners and direct attention to program improvements.
- Key informant interviews with stakeholders (youth and adults) to assess leadership, decision-making and community participation in relation to project outcomes;
- Participant observation of steering committee and youth group meetings;
- Stakeholder reflection sessions (focus groups) for comment on challenges and recommended improvements for project sustainability;
- Mentorship for case manager to build leadership capacity.
- Identified successes of a complex partnership.
- Increased food scrap recycling and waste reduction to landfill (measured volume and extent in pilot phase).
- Businesses that undertook changing to recyclable/reusable food take-out containers and compliance with city ban on Styrofoam container use.
- Rain water collectors to distribute water to planting swales along central corridor (under construction);
- Youth environment assessment of idling cars led to clean air recommendations.
- A new design center to foster business.
- A clean alleyway project for garbage recycling, new containers, and reduced crime.
- Public relations campaign.
- Reinforced the value of community partnerships.
- The partnership leveraged $848,600, a 286% gain in financial support over the initial EPA grant.
- Identified challenges to enforce the Styrofoam ban, to waste reduction outreach, and to partnership effectiveness.
- Described how a government funded grant influenced local initiatives, priorities and organizational relationships.