Reports / Reports

Sustainable Employment in a Green US Economy Evaluation Report

The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to help poor and vulnerable people benefit from more equitable economic growth and increased resilience in order that individuals, communities and systems can survive, adapt and grow in the face of changes, even catastrophic incidents. Working towards that goal through a series of time-bound global and regional Initiatives, the Foundation develops capacity, fosters networks and partnerships, influences policies and public discourse, nurtures innovation and promotes excellence, accountability, social responsibility and good governance.

This vision has played out in two themes relevant for this report. The first relates to program substance and strategy with regard to the US workforce and economic condition. In 2009, the Rockefeller Foundation Executive Team approved Sustainable Employment in a Green US Economy (SEGUE) as an Initiative in Development. The SEGUE Initiative has a total budget of approximately $15 million for its development phase, awarded over a 39-month period from October 2009 to December 2012. To
date, approximately $11.5 million has been awarded in grants.

The Initiative’s rationale, founded on observations of the twin challenges posed by unemployment and climate change, created the opportunity and imperative to invest in green jobs, both in the United States and around the world. Despite the lack of a forward-looking policy and public discourse on climate change in the US at the Initiative’s start, there had been significant momentum and emphasis on green jobs in the private sector, at the level of local, state and federal government, and among unions, non-profits and community-based organizations. However, the demand for green jobs had not yet materialized at scale or in a way that made them accessible to low-income workers. The Initiative, therefore, focused on ways to build the sectors that were most likely to employ disadvantaged workers.

The second theme that has become a focus of the Foundation is the need to monitor and evaluate Initiatives at their various stages of evolution. In particular, the Foundation has looked at numerous strategies to integrate evaluation methods and practices into its operations holistically. In turn, evaluations have been structured so they can provide Foundation staff with material for improving the design of Initiatives, gather sufficient information to contribute to answering key learning questions, provide some level of accountability to the Foundation’s leadership to inform investment decisions,
and contribute as a public good to knowledge on approaches, methods and tools for evaluating initiatives as well as the specific substantive topics in question.

This Evaluation of the SEGUE Initiative in Development provides further support to both efforts. The Rockefeller Foundation has been proud to support this ongoing program work in SEGUE as well as to further demonstrate how and when evaluation can be integrated into the Foundation’s learning and strategic decision-making.