December 2018 - PAT Meeting #6

December 7, 2018, 1-3pm


UB backbone staff present: David Harrington, Dionne Grayman, Kassa Belay, Jason Ludwig

Attendees: 23 participants, including representatives of 15 programs from 11 organizations and 4 FAB members




  1. Introduce Theory of Change concept and its role in our evaluation of our work

  2. Review UB Theory of Change

  3. Identify specific outcomes from PAT members’ own work that might help us directly or indirectly measure UB impact


  • Icebreaker: What is one hope you have for children in 2019? Meeting attendants offered a broad range of answers, including:

    • That children have a warm home and caring family, and receive the care and attention they require to feel as though they have no limits in achieving their ambitions, educational or otherwise

    • That children learn to love reading, and develop a sense of joy and self-discovery in learning

    • That children receive more access to “developmentally appropriate learning opportunities”

    • That “integrity and grace” are restored to leadership in the White House, and that the forcible removement of Children from their families is ended.

    • That children develop a sense of urgency concerning environmental issue

Welcome and UB Updates (DH and KB)  

  • UB Directors recently attended grant renewal meeting with the Robin Hood Foundation. The RH Foundation was impressed by  UB’s efforts to develop community-generated evaluation measures, as well as the incorporation of an equity lens in work with PAT and FAB.

  • Recap of previous FAB meeting in which UB staff and Fab members began editing the Theory of Change (ToC) to reflect FAB Aspirations

  • Summary of goals for next week’s LC Meeting # 4: Finding the data needed to measure the success of UB initiatives.

  • Next PAT meeting: With the holiday season approaching, will the meeting need to be rescheduled

  • UB Staff Restructuring: UB is in the process of hiring a project manager and Books for Brownsville consultant, in order to push forward the implementation of DTB projects. UB currently has the budget for all three DTB projects.

Review of Evaluations of PAT Meeting # 5

  • “Reality Check” scores of PAT were amongst the highest of any meeting to date.

    • Discussion around equity in particular received positive feedback, and PAT members continued expressing importance of developing “concrete” goals.               

Theory of Change

  • What is a TOC?

    • A TOC is a statement or diagram that illustrates how an organization will achieve its goals.

    • TOC’s can look a variety of ways, however, they should identify:

      • A problem to be solved

      • Inputs, or actions taken to solve the problems

      • Outputs, or the results of those inputs that will help us reach the desired outcome

      • Outcomes or the long term results that would solve the problems

    • Meeting attendants added that TOCs are not only restricted to structuring the work of entire organizations, but can also be developed by initiatives within organizations, families, and even individuals seeking to identify and resolve particular problems

    • Meeting attendants shared examples of TOCs from their own work, such as the Books and Babies initiative at the Brooklyn Public Library

      • Problem: Low literacy and pre-literacy rates amongst infants in Brownsville

      • Input: Creating environment for bonding between caregivers and children

      • Output: Infants develop awareness of different shapes, and toxic stress amongst caregivers is excised

      • Outcomes: Higher literacy and pre-literacy rates amongst infants in Brownsville

  • What is the Purpose of UB’s TOC?

    • Clarify our call to action

    • Surface stakeholder aspirations

    • Using it to evaluate UB’s success = How well we help families and service providers achieve the changes they would like to see for children in Brownsville

      • Identify specific outcomes related to stakeholder aspirations

      • Use outcomes to identify metrics (measures) to be used for evaluation

  • Review of Equity and UB’s TOC

    • TOC should reflect UB aspirations for equity:

    • How has equity lens already been incorporated in DTB projects?

      • Books for Brownsville: promoting diverse representation of parents and children, as well as choosing books that reflect the cultural context of Brownsville.

    • Do we hear criticisms of equity?

      • DH: Yes, many are content with making things equal, but equity involves recognizing the unequal barriers to success faced by different groups

    • PAT member also commented that providers too are trapped in faulty systems that often hamper their attempts to offer equitable services.

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  • UB’s TOC: We need to make sure that the TOC reflects both PAT and FAB aspirations

    • The problem:  Our theory of change is grounded in the insight that unjust and inequitable outcomes for children in Brownsville stem from social, cultural, and professional disconnections that result in families not receiving the benefits of well-coordinated and culturally-attuned, social, health, and educational services. Service providers themselves cannot operate as effectively as possible, and relationships between families and providers break down. Both situations result in missed opportunities to deliver the most timely and consistent support to children in Brownsville, and the community is left with gaps in services and relationships.

    • UB’s proposed solution: UB’s participatory planning and Collective Impact approaches will create an infrastructure for sustainable, collaborative work rooted in the shared humanity and expertise of families and social service providers. Prioritizing families’ strengths and aspirations empowers them in relation to service providers, and will ensure that our activities are community-centered, culturally-attuned, and work towards changing negative narratives about Brownsville. The processes of uniting families and providers to discuss their aspirations for children, share their perspectives and experiences, and jointly-plan activities will help to restore justice, undo systemic racism, and work towards equitable outcomes for children and families. The relationships created through UB will promote mutual accountability between our stakeholders and create a stronger network of support throughout the community, which will indirectly improve outcomes for infants and toddlers here. Moreover, families and service providers will execute projects that will fill in service gaps and directly improve outcomes for young children in ways that are locally-developed, context-specific, and culturally-adapted to Brownsville.

Breakout Group Activity Reviewing the Theory of Change as edited by the FAB

  • Small group discussion: Review the TOC, which incorporates feedback and edits from the FAB, and evaluate what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s missing so far.

    • The problem

    • The proposed solution

  • Group 3 Discussion Notes

    • While the TOC focuses on the problems with social services in Brownsville, it doesn’t include language on the lack of cultural resources and opportunities in Brownsville, i.e. parks, libraries, cultural programming--”all the things that make a community vibrant”

      • Incorporates equity lens: provide families in Brownsville with as many opportunities and resources as families in Park Slope

      • UB work does propose a solution to this problem though, in the form of the family co-op

      • What kind of metrics are necessary to measure value of this kind of programming? It cannot be measured in terms of profit margins

    • Also missing language about accessibility issues with service providers

      • Overabundance of documentation makes registering for some services overly difficult--what kinds of infrastructure are necessary to streamline the process?

Group Activity Share-out

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  • Group 1

    • What is right about the TOC:

      • justice and social equity lens, emphasis on community-provider relationships

    • What is missing:

      • The outcomes are too general, and do not mention social, emotional and language development.

      • The need for specific infrastructures to improve the services provided by different organizations.

      • The need to more effectively share information about resources and services, as well as vet resources

  • Group 2

    • What is missing:

      • More needed about programming, literacy and creating learning environments and businesses

    • Also general concern that FAB may “over-speak” for the community, who may not feel as though anything is wrong in Brownsville

  • Group 3

    • Missing:

      • Language about inaccessibility of resources and the need to streamline access to different services. Overabundance of documentation makes registering for some services overly difficult--what kinds of infrastructure are necessary to streamline the process?

      • Also needs focus on “resources” and “opportunities”(as something distinct from “services”)

  • Group 4

    • Wrong:

      • Language of “unjust and equitable” could be too alienating for a more conservative audience

    • Missing:

      • No mention of the historical forces that have shaped the problems mentioned

      • Language concerning the “social determinants of health”

      • Desired Outcomes are not named

      • Need to mention efficiency and cost-saving strategies

  • Group 5

    • Missing:

      • Need language about what specific “benefits” families in Brownsville are missing out on

      • Need to mention how we ensure projects are sustained into the future

      • Should incorporate language about how both residents and service providers are trapped in “faulty system”

      • Add focus on “structural” and historic “disconnections”

Survey results

A word cloud derived from written feedback focuses on the discussion about the “Theory of change,” which many felt valuable along with hearing from/speaking to other members. However, PAT members also expressed a desire to break into smaller groups to discuss proposals or to share responses to the ToC.

created at
PATDavid Harrington