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What we've been up to

What is the difference between RESEARCH and EVALUATION?

June 8, 2017 Recently, we offered a definition of evaluation as (in part) the application of systematic methods to collect and analyze data that are meaningful and relevant to a given program, service, or initiative. If you thought this sounded a lot like what research aims to do, you are not alone! Evaluation is, in many ways, a form of applied research and there is considerable overlap between the purposes…

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Science “Matters” at Valley Community Association

June 5, 2017 It was all a matter of science earlier this month at Valley Community Center. Here is an “experiment”: Take a bunch of (properly supervised) children and let them explore in the Buffalo Science Museum until their hearts are content. What results do you get? The staff of Valley Community Association decided to run this experiment on Friday, May 5th, and the team at Via Evaluation was pleased…

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Gary Ciurczak to Present an Evaluation Workshop at St. John Fisher College

June 1, 2017 Extensive evaluation plans are now almost always required in grant applications, as funders are becoming more accountable in an age of increasingly scarce resources and improved competition. Via Evaluation President, CEO and Founder Gary Ciurczak, Ph.D., has accepted an invitation from the Director of Corporate, Foundation, & Government Relations at St. John Fisher College to present a workshop at the Second Annual Faculty Grants Boot Camp. The…

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Via Evaluation Welcomes New Client Just Detention International

May 29, 2017 Via Evaluation was recently awarded a contract to evaluate a program for Just Detention International (https://justdetention.org/). JDI, a nonprofit human rights organization that works to prevent sexual abuse in detention settings, has offices in Los Angeles, CA; Washington, DC; and Johannesburg, South Africa. The project Via Evaluation is currently evaluating for JDI is focused on establishing the first-ever statewide hotline exclusively dedicated to serving incarcerated survivors of…

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And the Winner is…

May 24, 2017 Starbridge, a non-profit organization in Rochester, New York, is the winner of Via’s FREE Logic Model Give-away! Starbridge is an agency committed to partnering with people who have disabilities, their families, and their circles of support to help them realize fulfilling possibilities in education, employment, health, and community living. The Via team had the pleasure of working with Starbridge’s Leadership and Fiscal Intermediary teams to develop two…

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Buffalo Prep 2017 Graduates in the Spotlight at Kleinhans

May 22, 2017 May is the month high school seniors everywhere celebrate their hard work and success, and the 2017 graduating class of Buffalo Prep have much to celebrate! On Wednesday, May 3rd, Hubbard and Taggart were pleased to attend the Buffalo Prep Annual Gala at Kleinhans, to celebrate the accomplishments of the largest graduating class in Buffalo Prep’s 28-year history. Buffalo Prep was founded by education and community leaders…

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Hello, Chicago!

May 18, 2017 Dr. Gary Ciurczak, Via Evaluation’s CEO, attended the Chicago Area Chapter of the GPA’s Annual Conference, “Grant Professionals as Community Builders,” on Friday, May 12. A highlight of the conference was the Donor’s Panel, moderated by Eric Weinheimer, President and CEO of Forefront, entitled “State of the State and Union: Impact on Grantmakers and Philanthropy.” Mr. Weinheimer was introduced by Mike Chamberlain, the CEO of the National…

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Via Dives into National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

May 8, 2017 May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and Via is in full gear working on their two teen pregnancy prevention initiatives: HOPE Buffalo and Making Healthy Decisions. To celebrate their achievements and continue raising awareness about teen pregnancy, HOPE Buffalo has taken on a wide array of activities. Their Youth Leadership Team is planning a youth summit for June 10th, the Leadership Group has released an application…

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Approved Vendor listings!

May 4, 2017 We are proud to announce that Via Evaluation is now listed as an approved vendor in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Since 1998, the team at Via has provided tailored evaluation products and services to our clients across the United States. We are thrilled about the new opportunities, and look forward to providing quality evaluation services to various state agencies in the two states. If…

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Taggart training future board members – this week!

May 2, 2017 Caroline Taggart, Senior Evaluator, was invited by the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County to present for the 3rd year in a row at the organization’s Board Leadership Training program, coming up later this week. Caroline’s presentation will cover the importance and general tenets of Program Monitoring and Evaluation, with an emphasis on questions non-profit organization’s Board Members can ask to encourage their organization’s engagement in these activities…

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Update! Congratulations to organizations who received 21st CCLC after school funding!

April 28, 2017 This week the New York State Education Department (NYSED) updated the announcement, and added new recipients of Round 7 funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant. The grant funds supplemental services and enrichment before, during, and after school through partnerships between schools and community based organizations. Now TWELVE Via Evaluation clients were among the organizations that received awards: Boys & Girls Clubs of the…

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Jessica Weitzel’s 10th Year Anniversary at Via Evaluation!

April 26, 2017 This week marks the 10th anniversary of Jessica Weitzel’s first day of work at Via Evaluation. She was already working as an evaluator, and arrived here with strong recommendations from everyone she worked with. She immediately distinguished herself with an outstanding ability to understand complex projects quickly, and conduct excellent evaluations. As Via Evaluation grew over the past 10 years, she became a leader among the evaluators,…

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So, what IS evaluation anyway?

April 18, 2017 When you think of evaluation, do you have flashbacks to sitting in school, pencil in hand, taking a spelling or math test? If so, you are not alone! After all, that test was one way for your teacher to evaluate how well you understood and could apply the lesson materials. But, evaluation is much more than tests… “Evaluation” is a term used in many different fields, and…

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Via Goes on the Road

April 12, 2017 Beginning in January 2017, Via Evaluation began a partnership with Education, Training and Research Associates (ETR) on “Making Healthy Decisions,” an initiative to reduce teen pregnancy and encourage positive nutrition habits. ETR, a behavioral health non-profit, provides science-based innovative solutions in health and education designed to achieve transformative change in individuals, families and communities. As the contractor for “Making Healthy Decisions”, Via will be traveling to community-based…

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Jessica Weitzel and Komani Lundquist to attend NGMA annual training!

April 10, 2017 Next week, Jessica Weitzel and Komani Lundquist will be attending the National Grants Management Association Annual Grants Training in Arlington, VA. Will we see you there? The theme for the training is Grants Management “In full swing.” Our work at Via Evaluation is often tied to the work of Grant Managers and Grant Writers, and we are excited to continue to expand our network of these professionals…

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Via Evaluation Steps Into the Future!

April 7, 2017 Our President and CEO, Gary Ciurczak, Ph.D., began evaluating projects professionally in 1988, and formed Via Evaluation in 1998, nearly 20 years ago. Since then, Via Evaluation has grown into a highly professional, well-respected, evaluation and consulting company of 11 highly committed and passionate staff with clients and projects throughout New York State and across the United States. As the need for expert evaluation services continues to…

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Via Brings the Logic

March 30, 2017 This winter, Via Evaluation was excited to work with Compeer of Greater Buffalo! Compeer recruits, screens, and matches trained volunteers and mentors in one-to-one supportive friendship relationships with children, adults, military veterans and seniors who are striving for good mental health. The first step in this new partnership was to develop a logic model to help Compeer Buffalo continue to refine and improve their service delivery to…

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NYSNYS conference is this week!

March 27, 2017 Emily and Komani will be at the New York State Network for Youth Success conference (NYSNYS) conference in Saratoga Springs in just a few short days. The conference is sold out, so hopefully you already registered and we will see you there! Saturday is Emily’s birthday, so stop by the Via Evaluation Table in the Exhibitor’s hall for a special treat to celebrate! For more information on…

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Grant Money to Support Low-Income Student College Success Available

The U.S. Department of Education has released a Request for Proposals for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). The program is intended to enhance the preparation of low-income students so that they are more likely to succeed in postsecondary education. Two types of grants are available, each for up to 7 years: state grants, and partnership grants. Both are designed to provide services to students in…

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NYSABE 40th Anniversary Conference a Success!

March 22, 2017 Dr. Gary Ciurczak attended “Fulfilling the Promise of Bilingual Education Together,” the 40th Anniversary Conference of the New York State Association for Bilingual Education (NYSABE) March 2nd through the 4th, 2017 in White Plains, NY. While there he renewed ties with the many people and districts with which he and Via Evaluation has conducted Bilingual Education, dual language, and Multi-Language Learner research and evaluation since 1991. These…

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Via team members get certified by What Works Clearinghouse Design Standards

March 21, 2017 Federal grants increasingly require applicants to include evaluation designs that could meet rigorous What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Evidence Standards. The standards require quasi-experimental or experimental designs, with many additional requirements in place to gather high-quality evidence. In recognition of this need, two Via Evaluation staff have earned the WWC Group Design Standards Certificate. Ms. Weitzel and Ms. Taggart completed the certificate recently so that they can ensure…

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Congratulations to the Organizations Receiving Competitive Afterschool Funding!

March 20, 2017 Today, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) announced the recipients of Round 7 funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant. The grant funds supplemental services and enrichment before, during, and after school through partnerships between schools and community based organizations. Eleven Via Evaluation clients were among the organizations that received awards: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns (2 programs) Carthage Central School…

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Taggart attends SREE conference for fourth consecutive year

March 20, 2017 Via Evaluation team member Caroline Taggart attended Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness conference for the fourth consecutive year from March 1st-3rd in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme, “Expanding the Toolkit: Maximizing Relevance, Effectiveness, and Rigor in Education Research” especially resonated with Via, which provides consulting services to organizations striving to implement effective educational interventions. Caroline attended many informative sessions presented by distinguished education researchers on topics including social-emotional…

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Via Evaluation Supports Families and Work-Life Balance

March 6, 2017 It can be difficult to bring a baby into the world and return to work! Via Evaluation understands this and allows parents can bring infants to work until they are one-year -old. Amy Puca, Evaluator, returned from maternity leave recently and is bringing little Soren into the office a few days per week. He enjoys attending meetings and laughing at report figures.          …

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Via Evaluation achieves HIPAA compliance!

March 10, 2017 We are proud to let our clients know that Via Evaluation is now compliant with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requirements. All staff are HIPAA certified, and have been trained in security and compliance. If you are a covered entity and need expert evaluation services, we are ready to become a business associate and help you achieve your mission. With this move…

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Grant Money to Support Development of English Language Learner Educators Available

The U.S. Department of Education has released a Request for Proposals for the National Professional Development Program. The purpose of the grant is to provide professional development to improve classroom instruction for English Language Learners. Competitive Preference Priority points are available to projects that are supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness and/or are designed to improve parent, family, and community engagement. The letter of intent to apply is due March…

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Emily Hagstrom and Komani Lundquist to attend the NYS Network for Youth Success Conference

March 8, 2017 At the end of March, Emily Hagstrom and Komani Lundquist will be attending the New York State Network for Youth Success conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. Will we see you there? The theme for the two day conference is “Preparing Youth for the Future Through Social and Emotional Learning.” Our work at Via Evaluation has long focused on as-risk youth, and youth success, and we are excited…

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Grant Money to Strengthen Institutes of Higher Education Available

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a Request for Proposals for the Title III: Strengthening Institutions Program. The grant helps Institutes of Higher Education (IHEs) gain self-sufficiency and expand their capacity to service low-income students, with a focus on retention and graduation. Applications are due April 17th, 2017. Unlike past rounds, only 15 or so Title III grants will be awarded this round. Additionally, the Department of Education is…

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Via Evaluation is giving away a FREE logic model!

We’ve heard that there is a need, so Via Evaluation is giving away a FREE Logic model! We will provide a program logic model for an organization that is: not a current client of Via Evaluation a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status committed to setting aside 2-3 hours for a logic model session and a brief follow up by April 24th within 100 miles of Buffalo, NY has an operating budget…

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Via attends National Association for Bilingual Education Conference in Dallas, TX!

March 3, 2017 Gary Ciurczak and Komani Lundquist attended the 2017 National Association for Bilingual Education Conference in Dallas, TX February 21st to 25th. Gary attended a full day in-service with Dr. Sonia Soltero of DePaul University, entitled “Transformative  Leadership in Dual Language Education,” and many sessions specific to the need of bilingual, refugee, and immigrant students and adults. Komani tended to our exhibit booth, meeting educators from Texas and…

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Via to Evaluate ‘HOPE Buffalo’

March 1, 2017 Via Evaluation is excited to be the independent evaluator for the HOPE Buffalo initiative to reduce teen pregnancy in nine select Buffalo zip codes (14201, 14204, 14206, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14201, 14213, and 14215). HOPE Buffalo is a collaborative project that brings together a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including youth-serving organizations, health care providers, the faith community, the juvenile justice and foster care systems, and local schools…

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Persistence and Fadeout

February 21, 2017 The term “persistence” has been in the news recently. Did you know that persistence is a key concept for the impact of early childhood and adolescent interventions? As part of our commitment to continual learning, our research group discussed the topic this month. We read and discussed Persistence and Fadeout in the Impacts of Child and Adolescent Interventions (Bailey, Duncan, Odgers, and Yu, 2017; http://sites.uci.edu/gduncan/files/2013/06/Fadeout-paper-Submitted-pdf.pdf). The authors…

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: New due date for NYSED RFP to Remove Barriers to CTE Programs for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities

IMPORTANT UPDATE: New due date for NYSED RFP to Remove Barriers to CTE Programs for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities NYSED announced today that “due to the need for additional clarification for this grant opportunity, a revised RFP will be posted here the week of February 20, 2017. Due to this change, there will be new due dates for questions and answers as well. The purpose of the…

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Via Evaluation Now Listed in NYS Contract Reporter

February 14, 2017 Via Evaluation has completed the application to be listed in the NYS Contract Reporter, the official source of NYS contracting opportunities. The application has been approved, and the Via Evaluation listing notes our ability to work with protected health information and electronic protected health information (PHI/ePHI) under HIPAA. Via Evaluation also appears in searches on other evaluation-related topics. We are identified as a NYS Small Business headquartered…

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Via Evaluation is a finalist for Buffalo Business First’s “Best Places to Work 2017″

February 3, 2017 Via Evaluation is a finalist for Buffalo Business First’s 2017 “Best Places to Work” in Western New York, under small companies (10 to 20 employees). This is our 6th time as a finalist! The nomination will be featured in an upcoming issue issue of Buffalo Business First! They also provide an award for best-dressed company. This years’ theme is Carnival/Circus. Any ideas for us?! We’ll post pictures!…

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Via Evaluation presents about Using Evidence in Program Design

February 2, 2017 Jessica Weitzel presented “Finding and Incorporating Research to Increase Program Effectiveness” on January 26th. The training was sponsored by the After-School Network of Western New York, (Find them on Twitter here) and held at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, (on Twitter here). The presentation provided examples of the increasing need to present evidence of impact to garner funding and answered questions like: Where can…

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New York State Education Department

NYSED Releases Innovative RFP to Remove Barriers to CTE Programs for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities

January 30, 2017 The NYS Education Department has released the Removing Barriers to CTE Programs for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities Grant. This competitive 1-year grant offers funds to school districts and BOCES as lead agencies in partnership with institutions of higher education, and community and business organizations. There is $1 million available statewide with awards limited to a maximum of $200,000 each. The purpose is to “ensure…

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Hagstrom attends The Afterschool Experience 21st CCLC Symposium

January 27, 2017 Last week Emily Hagstrom attended The Afterschool Experience 21st Century Community Learning Centers Symposium in Albany. This event was coordinated by the 21st CCLC Rest of State Resource Center, and provided networking and professional development opportunities for New York State 21st CCLC grantees. The New York State Department of Education, and the State Evaluator also presented. No date was given for when Round 7 awards would be…

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Via Evaluation Refocuses on Core Service

January 26, 2017 We at Via Evaluation are refocusing on and strengthening our core service of evaluation. We have recently restructured and now evaluation is our only focus. Our team has evaluated over 225 separate projects, programs, and initiatives since 1998, in grants and projects bringing over $200 million in support to the school districts, universities, agencies, and organizations we work with. This history has given us the ability to…

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Holiday Season Data and Facts!

December 22, 2016 So, you know we at Via Evaluation are passionate about data, and the winter holiday season brings its own data sets and fun facts! Here are just a few fun ones the team at Via gathered from across the internet. Did you know that Santa actually has 31 hours to deliver presents? That’s right! Traveling across time zones adds a bit more time to Santa’s clock! (Source:…

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The 21st Century for Kids

December 15, 2016 Research has consistently indicated that high-quality afterschool programming has positive effects on children. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant supports before-school, after-school, and summer learning programs that provide essential academic and enrichment programs. Via Evaluation has provided evaluation services for 53 programs for 28 clients providing essential 21st CCLC programs across New York. This year a new round of 21st CCLC funding was announced…

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Big Win for Mental Health Services in WNY

December 9, 2016 Since 1974, the Northwest Community Mental Health Center has served the Erie County community and has demonstrated a commitment to providing high quality mental health services. In support of their mission, Via would like to congratulate NCHMC on their recent award of $472,658 from the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program. Through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, these grants to nonprofit human service organizations…

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Via Decks the Halls

December 8, 2016 ‘Tis the season…fa-la-la-la-la-lalalala! With the first real snow of the season forecast for this weekend, the team at Via Evaluation gathered together this week to celebrate another successful year! December is packed with holidays –Boxing Day, Christmas, Hanukah, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Kwanzaa all happen this month! In addition to our passion about helping clients collect and use meaningful data, the Via team loves…

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Via Evaluation to Present at the National Grant Professionals Association (GPA) Conference

November 2, 2016 Holly Dickinson, Director of Grants and Jessica Weitzel, Director of Evaluation, will combine their expertise to present about the importance of evaluation in grant proposal development at the annual GPA conference. The GPA conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from November 9th-12th , the same city where two weeks earlier Via Evaluation was strongly represented at the American Evaluation Association conference. Ms. Dickinson and Ms. Weitzel will present “Starting with…

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Fall is Grant Forecasting Season

October 27, 2016 There are many reasons to love October: fall foliage, apple cider, and pumpkins, to name a few. At Via Evaluation, we add to that list the beginning of a new federal fiscal year (October 1), and grant forecasting! Planning is critical for successful grant writing, especially for highly competitive, complex federal grants. If you wait until the RFP has been published, you risk spending the short 6-8…

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Key Differences Between 21st CCLC Rounds 6 and 7 RFP

October 25, 2016 There are several key differences between the Round 7 21st Century Community Learning Centers Request for Proposals and previous rounds of funding. To help out, below is a table of some of the major changes to keep in mind when planning your proposal: Working with Via Via Evaluation has extensive experience with 21st CCLC evaluation. If you would like Via Evaluation to work with you on your…

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Jessica Weitzel to Present at the New York State Outdoor Education Association Conference

October 20, 2016 Jessica Weitzel will be presenting an “Ask an Evaluator” workshop session at the 48th Annual Conference of the New York State Outdoor Education Association (NYSOEA) November 4th. NYSOEA is a professional membership organization that supports outdoor and environmental education. The conference will take place at the picturesque Watson Homestead Conference and Retreat Center, and includes sessions on fun, applied geology, biology, astronomy, and related activities. Recognizing that…

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Via Evaluation Presenting Six Sessions at the American Evaluation Association Conference

October 18, 2016 #Eval16 All six presentation proposals submitted by Via Evaluation for the American Evaluation Association 2016 Annual Conference were accepted by the association! Amy Puca, Caroline Taggart, and Jessica Weitzel will be presenting at AEA once again, and Peter Hubbard and Jadaiman DaCosta will be giving their first AEA presentations with Via in October. Via Evaluation has been accepted annually to present at AEA since 2011. Further information about each 2016 presentation…

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Komani Lundquist to Present “Best Practices for Employing Working Parents”

October 17, 2016 Komani Lundquist, Via Evaluation’s Director of Operations, has been invited to participate this Friday as a panel speaker to discuss the topic, “Best Practices for Employing Working Parents”, organized by the WNY WBASNY Working Parents Committee. She will be presenting on the policies, methods, and strategies for implementing a positive workplace for parents, and discuss the associated Human Resources and Small Business advantages. As Director of Operations,…

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Ba Zan Lin to Present at the Asian Conference on Education

October 13, 2016 Ba Zan Lin (Lin) will be presenting an oral session on “Leadership and Civic Engagement of Myanmar Refugee Students in the United States: Experiences, Influences and Aspirations” at the 8th Asian Conference on Education of the International Academic Forum (IAFOR) on October 20th. International Academic Forum IAFOR provides new perspectives to thought leaders and decision makers of today and tomorrow by offering constructive environments for dialogue and…

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Is Your School Eligible for After-School 21st CCLC Funding?

October 13, 2016 Thousands of schools across New York State are eligible to apply for 21st Century Community Learning Centers out-of-school-time program (21st CCLC) grants from NYSED. This round, $86 million is available to fund awarded programs. Eligible Schools To be eligible for 21st CCLC, at least 2/3 of the students that an applicant is proposing to serve must attend: 1. schools eligible for schoolwide programs under Title I, Section…

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Early Education

Via Evaluation to Present at the Child Care Resource Network Annual Conference

October 11, 2016 Amy Puca will be presenting a “Promoting Quality in Early Childhood Programs” workshop session at Child Care Resource Network’s (CCRN) 2016 Growing Your Future Conference on October 14th. CCRN is a nonprofit organization committed to the development of affordable, accessible, high quality child care for all children. The conference will take place at Samuel’s Grande Manor in Williamsville, NY, and includes a variety of sessions aimed at…

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The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation – $1 Billion over 20 Years

October 7, 2016 The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is now accepting grant proposals through its online portal. The late Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., former owner of the Buffalo Bills, provided $1.2 billion from the sale of the team to the Pegulas, to establish the Foundation. These funds will be spent over 20 years, divided evenly between Western New York and Southeast Michigan. Mr. Wilson entrusted the Foundation to use…

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Plan Partnerships Now for Powerful Grant Proposals Later

Plan Partnerships Now for Powerful Grant Proposals Later

October 6, 2016 Building partnerships with organizations that provide similar or complementary services to your organization is an important part of grant readiness. Many funders require that grant applicants partner with other organizations or include them as subcontractors to deliver services. This is true of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, where school districts and nonprofits are required to partner with each other to implement afterschool programs. Collaborating with other organizations…

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Are You Grant Ready?

Are You Grant Ready?

October 5, 2016 What does the Grant Development Process look like at your organization? For many, it begins with the release of an RFP for a grant program of interest, which leads to a mad dash to get everyone on board, develop a program and write a competitive proposal under a short deadline. This stressful process doesn’t end until, with great relief, the proposal (along with its pages of narrative,…

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Why Via Eval is a Smart Choice for 21st CCLC Evaluation

September 28, 2016 Via Evaluation (formerly Ciurczak & Company, Inc.) has extensive experience conducting high-quality evaluations of 21st CCLC out-of-school-time and other grants throughout New York State. We have evaluated over 50 unique New York State 21st CCLC grants, participating in each round of 21st CCLC funding. Via Evaluation is very familiar with the required evaluation manual, and provided input to the state evaluators as the manual was formulated. Via…

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21st CCLC Out-of-School-Time Request for Proposals Released

The NYS Education Department released Round 7 of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant Request for Proposals (RFP) today. This competitive 5-year grant offers funds to school districts and community based organizations to provide out-of-school time activities to students and their families, and requires external evaluation. Via Evaluation has been evaluating and participating in grant writing activities for this grant line since its inception. We have evaluated…

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Grant Funding Available for Federal USDA Farm to School Programs

September 21, 2016 The USDA has opened its annual Farm to School (F2S) grant competition, which funds schools, nonprofits, government entities, Indian tribal organizations, and agricultural producers to develop, implement, and support F2S activities that increase children’s access to local food in their schools. There are $5M in funds available for an estimated 75 awards, which will range from $15k to $100k based on project type. Via Evaluation Grants Department…

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Resources for Improving School Attendance Available

September 19, 2016 Chronic student absenteeism is a challenge for many school districts, and for the education system as a whole. In response to the growing recognition that student absenteeism is affecting academic and other outcomes, the White House has launched the “Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism” initiative. As part of this initiative, the U.S. Department of Education is providing resources to help schools…

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Erin Holbrook, B.A.

Via Welcomes Erin Holbrook

September 15, 2016 We are excited to announce the addition of our newest team member, Erin! Erin Holbrook has joined our team as a Research Associate. She will focus on data management, data collection and analysis, and internal reporting.

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21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant RFP

September 13, 2016 The NYS Education Department has projected the release of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant program RFP for this Friday, September 23, 2016. Projection dates are estimates but it is likely that the release of this long anticipated RFP is imminent! This competitive 5-year grant program funds school districts and nonprofits that provide extended learning time, including after-school, and parent enrichment programs. Via Evaluation…

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Buffalo Ranks #5 in Producing AmeriCorps Volunteers

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recently published rankings of states and cities with the greatest number of AmeriCorps volunteers who served during the 2014-15 year. The AmeriCorps program provides opportunities for people to serve their communities while developing professionally and gaining new skills and experiences. Buffalo, NY is ranked #5 on this list of large cities that produced the most AmeriCorps volunteers during 2014-15. Via Evaluation is…

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467 Richmond Avenue LLC Wins $1.5 Million in Better Buffalo Funds

Via Evaluation is very proud to announce that our client, 467 Richmond Avenue LLC, received a $1.5 million loan from the Better Buffalo Fund (BBF) for the redevelopment of the vacant former Methodist Church at the Richmond Ferry circle into the Rosanna Elizabeth Visual and Performing Arts Center and Campus (REVPAC). Via Evaluation’s Grants Department staff, who wrote the winning proposal, is honored to be part of such an incredible…

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Need to Find Funding? We Offer Comprehensive Grant Opportunity Reports

Conducting grant research is a time-intensive process that requires a thorough examination of the alignment between an organization’s mission and activities, and the mission, strategies, and previous funding histories of potential funders. Good grant research is very important for ensuring that organizational resources are spent wisely, in pursuit of viable funding opportunities. Via Evaluation offers a Comprehensive Grant Opportunity Report (“GO Report”) that identifies foundation and government sources that are…

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Via Evaluation Attends Teen Pregnancy Prevention National Conference

Caroline Taggart attended the 2016 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference July 19th-21st. She attended many sessions specific to evaluation of Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) and related grants. Via Evaluation currently evaluates two pregnancy prevention grants funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Taggart attended the conference at the request of our client, CAI (Cicatelli Associates, Inc.). CAI is implementing…

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NYSED Announces New My Brother’s Keeper Initiative Grants

NYSED has opened two grant competitions related to its My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which is the state-level adoption of a federal challenge to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. Teacher Opportunity Corps The Teacher Opportunity Corps program will fund institutions of higher education with $32.5k-$325k annually, for five years, to fund tuition and other expenses related to providing high-quality teacher preparation to historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged…

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Via Evaluation Helps the Friends of Camp Kenan Send Kids to Camp

The Friends of Camp Kenan, a non-profit organization located in Niagara County, works year-round to raise money for the Camp Kenan Campership Program. This program provides children whose families lack the financial resources to send them to summer camp, with a scholarship to attend one week of camp at Camp Kenan in Barker, NY free of charge. One of their largest fund-raising events held on July 8-10, Goosestock (named after…

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Need To Meet Your MWBE Goal?

Many NYS grants require applicants who submit a funding request that exceeds $25,000 for the full grant period, to spend 30% of their grant projects’ total non-discretionary non-personal service budgets (i.e. personnel salaries and fringe benefits, rent, lease, utilities and indirect costs) on products and services purchased from MWBE (Minority and Women Business Enterprise) certified vendors. Full or partial waivers of the MWBE requirement, providing the applicant can demonstrate that good…

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Funds Available for School Improvement Activities (Basic SIG)

NYSED is collecting applications for its Basic SIG (School Improvement Grant) program, which provides one year of funding for Focus and Priority schools and districts to conduct school improvement activities to meet progress goals identified in their District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP) and School Comprehensive Education Plan (SCEP). Funding varies from $25k to $75k per school, based on district and school status. Focus districts are required to work with an…

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Nassau BOCES Takes Leadership Role in Long Island Pre-K

Nassau County BOCES hosted a well attended two-day Summer Institute for teachers and administrators June 28th and 29th, to enhance the Pre-K opportunities in Long Island. Ms. Lucinda P. Hurley, Executive Director of Nassau BOCES Department of Strategic Initiatives, along with partners Eastern Suffolk BOCES, Western Suffolk BOCES, and the Child Care Councils of Nassau and Suffolk BOCES, led the effort resulting in a widely varied program aimed at supporting teachers…

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New York State Funding Available for Pre-K Programs

NYSED has announced $22 million in available funding to increase the availability of high quality prekindergarten placements for high need children and schools within New York State. Applications to this grant program, Prekindergarten for Three-Year Old Students in High-Need School Districts, are due on August 17. A mandatory Notice of Intent is due on July 20. High-need school districts can use these funds to create new full-day prekindergarten placements, convert…

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Via Evaluation Welcomes Homespace and Empower, Inc.

Our team is working with Homespace to complete a logic model and enhance the organization’s evaluation capacity. Homespace “supports at-risk young women to achieve independence two generations at a time” by providing housing and related programming. In addition, we are providing evaluation capacity building services to Empower, Inc. (formerly Niagara Cerebral Palsy). Empower provides an array of services, primarily for people with developmental disabilities, ranging from early childhood programming to family…

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Buffalo Public Schools Seeks Proposals for After School Partners

Buffalo Public Schools has released a Request for Proposals for After School Partners for the 2016-2017 school year. The district is looking to implement after school programming at 36 schools in the district and needs experienced providers to help them do this. Proposals are due June 1st. There will be an informational meeting for potential partners on Tuesday, May 17th, 10:00am-11:30am in the Imagination Center at School #99 Stanley M. Makowski,…

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Federal Grants Available to Help Homeless, Runaway, and Street Youth

Annually, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) requests proposals for two 3-year grant programs that fund public and private nonprofit entities to address the needs of runaway, homeless, and street youth. The Basic Center Program funds provision of temporary shelter and counseling services for these youth. The Street Outreach Program funds prevention services for youth in these situations who or are at risk of being, subjected to…

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Funding Available for Youth-Focused Programs and Services

Youth Development Programming Erie County is requesting applications for its annual Youth Development Programming grant. Applicants may request up to $15,000 to operate year-round community-based youth development programs and up to $10,000 to operate programs in the youth detention center. Applications are due on 5/31/16 and mandatory applicant interviews will be held on 6/14/16.    2017 Youth Development Programming (Erie County) United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Program Investments…

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Federal Grants for Refugees Currently Available

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) funds several programs geared towards increasing refugees’ economic and social self-sufficiency. Several of these programs are available now, and several are anticipated for release this Spring, if previous patterns hold. These programs are: Currently out:    Ethnic Community Self-Help Program – due 5/31/16    Refugee Individual Development Accounts Program – due 6/21/16    Refugee Microenterprise Development Program – due 6/21/16   …

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Via Evaluation Awarded Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative Evaluation

Via Evaluation was recently awarded a contract to evaluate a federal grant aiming to reduce teen pregnancy rates, using a collective impact approach. Cicatelli Associates, Inc. (CAI) collaborated with organizations in Buffalo to win the competitive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health “Replicating Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs to Scale in Communities with the Greatest Need” grant that Via Evaluation is evaluating. The resulting collaborative effort,…

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Improve K-12 Student Literacy with a Federally Funded Innovative Approaches to Literacy Grant

The US Department of Education has just released the Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant request. This federally funded program provides high-need LEAs (school districts) with the funding they need to improve the literacy skills of their K-12 students. Funds will support innovative programs that promote early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read, increase student achievement by using school libraries as partners, distribute free books to children and…

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Weitzel Presenting at ASW:NYSAN Afterschool Conference

Jessica Weitzel will be presenting a workshop session on creating logic models at the AfterSchool Works! NY: the New York State Afterschool Network Annual Conference this Friday, April 15th. If you are in Saratoga Springs for the conference, join Ms. Weitzel at 11am Friday for an interactive session on “How to Create Useful Logic Models”. The workshop will include instruction on the basics of logic modeling and hands-on group work. Participants…

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Now: Implement a New Bilingual Education Program with NYSED Grant Funding

The NYS Department of Education is requesting applications for its Bilingual Education Program. This program will fund Bilingual Education Programs that provide English Language Learners, and potentially English Proficient students, with ESL and home language instruction in order to become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural while improving their academic abilities. Public school districts can apply for funds to launch new Bilingual Education Programs in schools where one does not already exist.…

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Improve the Education of Military-Dependent Youth Through Federal Grant Funding

The Department of Defense is accepting proposals from LEAs (local educational agencies) with at least 15% military-dependent students, to implement research-based programs to improve these students’ educational achievement. This grant program, Grants to Military-Connected Local Educational Agencies for Academic and Support Programs (commonly referred to as DODEA), will provide up to 5 years of funding for $250k-$1.5M total per award. An independent program evaluation is required. Via Evaluation can help…

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Funding Now Available for Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Services

The Department of Homeland Security is offering funding through two exciting grant programs to provide citizenship instruction and naturalization services. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, schools, municipalities, institutions of higher education, and Native American tribes and organizations. Applicants should have experience providing citizenship instruction, naturalization services, or ESL programming. Grants will range from $100k-$250k depending on program. For more information, email Holly Dickinson, Director of Grant Writing, or reach her at…

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Hagstrom Presents at National Afterschool Association Conference

On March 21st, evaluator Emily Hagstrom presented “No Gym, No Problem!” along with Kim Luce of Child and Adolescent Treatment Services of Buffalo  as part of this year’s National Afterschool Association conference in Orlando, FL. This 30-minute express session focused on activities that will get students moving in a classroom when a gym is not available. This was Emily’s third year attending the conference, and her second year presenting. This year…

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Via Evaluation Team Members Attend SREE 2016 Conference

Via Evaluation team members Jessica Weitzel and Caroline Taggart attended Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness conference for the third consecutive year on March 2nd-5th. This year’s theme, “Lost in Translation: Building Pathways from Knowledge to Action” especially resonated with Via. The Via Team attended many informative sessions with distinguished education researchers, and a full-day professional development workshop on conducting Cost Analyses. Session topics included building partnerships and data systems for applied…

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Federal Physical Education Grant Aims to Reduce Disturbing Childhood Obesity Trends

According to the NYS Department of Health, 1/3 of children in NYS are obese or overweight; a rate that has tripled over the past 3 decades. In an article titled “Obesity rates trending upward among Erie County children” published in The Buffalo News this past November, a map of childhood obesity in Western New York was provided, as well as a discussion of area school districts with concerning  overweight/obesity statistics.…

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Via Attends Westminster Economic Development Initiative’s Winterfest Fundraiser

Each year, the staff of the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) work hard to host their annual fundraiser, Winterfest, and the staff of Via was pleased to be in attendance. WEDI’s mission is, “to empower economically-disadvantaged people who live and/or work in Buffalo’s west side community. WEDI’s vision is a vibrant, stable and inviting community. WEDI believes that empowered people can change their community.” This year’s event was held at…

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Now Charter Schools Can Expand, and Replicate Success, with State and Federal Grant Funding

Charter schools provide their students with innovative ways to help them achieve academic excellence. In order to assist Charter Schools in the dissemination and replication of successful models and practices, the Federal and NYS Education Departments have allocated funds for two competitive grant programs this year. Now open, and due on 3/11/16, is NYSED’s “2016-2019 New York State Charter School Dissemination Grant Program.” This grant will fund up to $500,000…

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Newly Released McKinney Vento Grant Helps Homeless Students Succeed, Due 2/26

There are over 135,000 homeless students across New York State; although many are concentrated in and around urban areas, there are a surprising number of homeless school-age youth in the State’s wide-spread rural areas. Urban and rural homeless populations face some of the same difficulties but there are distinct differences as well, particularly in terms of the availability of services. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has announced the…

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Via Evaluation Attends: Grant Professionals Association 2015 National Conference

Holly and Briana, from the Grant Writing Department, spent an exciting week in St. Louis, MO at the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) annual national conference. For four days, they attended workshops on a variety of topics related to grants development, including the new federal regulations for reporting, the DATA Act, and the state of grant-seeking; ensuring that they have the latest knowledge and skills to best serve Via Evaluation’s clients. The…

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The Cullen Foundation Highlights Arts and Education with the Announcement of its Winter 2015-16 Grant Cycle

The Cullen Foundation has announced another round of funding for this winter. Nonprofit organizations proposing either 1) education projects that serve grades 5-12, or 2) performing arts projects focusing on community performances, may be eligible to apply for funds. Applicants can propose multi-year projects, up to 3 years, within a range of $15k-$100k per year depending on project type. For Education grants, the Foundation will prioritize projects that include evidence-based…

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Via Evaluation Team Attending and Presenting at AEA Annual Conference

Our Evaluation Department staff (and Komani) will be attending the annual American Evaluation Association Annual Conference in Chicago later this week. If you are in town, say hi to Amy, Caroline, Gary, Jadaiman, Jessica, Komani, and Peter! We will be attending sessions covering the full range of evaluation activities and methods. Caroline and Jessica are presenting at the conference at 1pm this Thursday. They will discuss the practical and ethical implications…

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New Opportunity Provides $ for Non-profits to Introduce Low-income Students to College

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (NYS HESC) has announced the availability of funds to reduce the financial burden of college tours for low-income students. Through the College Tour Reimbursement Program, part of NYS HESC’s College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) program, eligible nonprofits can apply for reimbursement of expenses incurred by taking low-income students on college tours. The process begins with submission of a Pre-Approval Request. HESC has…

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NYSED’s 2016-2021 Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention (ESD/SVP) Grant Now Available

NYSED is now accepting applications for its 2016-2021 ESD/SVP program. This program will provide public school districts, and nonprofits working with public school districts, with up to 5 years of funding to implement extended school day (ESD) or school violence prevention (SVP) programs, or a combination of both. Each applicant can submit multiple applications, not to exceed $350k per year per application, and $1.2 million per year cumulatively. Applications are…

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Via Evaluation Presents at Youth Development Conference

Caroline Taggart and Jessica Weitzel presented at the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus Annual Youth Development Training Conference on October 20th, 2015. The conference took place in scenic downtown Niagara Falls, NY. Ms. Taggart and Ms. Weitzel presented “Make Your Data Work for You”. This session provided attendees with tools and techniques for maximizing the usefulness of data that most organizations already collect, or could easily begin to collect.…

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Resources for Improving School Attendance Available

Chronic student absenteeism is a challenge for many school districts, and for the education system as a whole. In response to the growing recognition that student absenteeism is affecting academic and other outcomes, the White House has launched the “Every Student, Every ­­­­­­­­Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism” initiative. As part of this initiative, the U.S. Department of Education is providing resources to help schools encourage student attendance. Via Evaluation…

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Buffalo Celebrates “Lights On Afterschool” tonight!

Each October, communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool to bring attention to afterschool programs and their role in lives of children, families, and communities. The Afterschool Network of WNY, a regional network affiliated with the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN), will be hosting the Buffalo-area Lights On Afterschool event. It will be one of more than 7,500 celebrations around the nation. The event will feature activities created by students…

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Congratulations to Dunkirk, Jamestown, and Wellsville School Districts on Their Recently Awarded NYSED Grants!

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) recently announced awards for their competitive grant program, “Program Development Grant to Prepare Students with Disabilities to Exit School with Work Readiness Skills,” which will provide school districts with three years of funding to improve career- and technical- education for students. Via Evaluation was privileged to work with all three districts on their applications for these grants. Via Evaluation’s Grants Department wrote the full…

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Fall is Grant Forecasting Season: Do the Groundwork Now, Harvest the Rewards for Years to Come!

October 6, 2015 There are many reasons to love October: fall foliage, apple cider, and pumpkins, to name a few. At Via Evaluation, we add to that list the beginning of a new federal fiscal year (October 1), and grant forecasting! Planning is critical for successful grant writing, especially for highly competitive, complex federal grants. If you wait until the RFP has been published, you risk spending the short 6-8 weeks before…

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Developing Internal Grant Writing Capacity

Developing your grant readiness and program implementation capacity is essential to your organization’s impact. Consultants like Via Evaluation are able to assist your organization in becoming grant ready and are beneficial for preparing complex, time-intensive, highly-competitive grants, such as those from the state and federal government, as well as those from large foundations. However, for many small foundation grants, it is often more cost- and time-efficient for organizations to write them…

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