District of Columbia Health Equity Fund Evaluation Partner

Project team members attending the first IDEA Summit in March 2023

Project team members attending the first IDEA Summit in March 2023.

The District of Columbia is poised to make a historic shift away from historically inequitable systems and investments and toward health, hope, opportunity, and prosperity as it prepares to distribute $95 million through the Health Equity Fund.

Read how the Greater Washington Community Foundation is celebrating One Year of Creative Grantmaking.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation (GWCF) will steward this landmark fund across 5 years using strategies that improve health equity, serve the needs of Washington, D.C. residents, and catalyze structural and lasting change. The Health Equity Fund presents an opportunity to demonstrate how strategic investments in communities can target systems and structures to advance health equity and ensure all people reach their full health potential.   

Health Equity Fund Evaluation

Emphasizing shared measurement and collective impact in this evaluation will help amplify this work in such a way that the impact of the Health Equity Fund as a whole can be much more than the sum of the individual investments.

AIR experts will serve as the Health Equity Fund Evaluation partner. GWCF and Washington, D.C. can use the findings from this exciting journey to inspire more impactful government and philanthropic investments. Our approach is guided by the principles of community-based participatory research, treating community leaders as experts on their own culture and needs.

We will use a collaborative design process to develop and execute an evaluation grounded in the goals and experiences of GWCF, grantees, and the community members grantees serve. Community-based participatory research will provide a starting place for identifying which concepts relative to the grantmaking and grant activities we should prioritize for measuring.  

Achievements to Date

  • Collaboration spaces for round 1 and round 2 grant partners are in place to determine how to have a collective impact on health equity in the District. Development of these spaces is in direct response to the evaluation team and the Community Foundation listening to the wants and needs of grant partners, demonstrating the collaborative and developmental evaluation approach.
  • Completed listening sessions to learn directly from community members about what they need to thrive as individuals and communities. Findings will be used to inform our understanding of the impact of the Fund’s work.
  • Through data collection with grant partners, researchers are learning about the range of upstream drivers the grant partners are working on to improve health equity (e.g., employment, cash supports, legal system, and wealth building). 


This project is supported by AIR’s Center for Addiction Research and Effective Solutions (AIR CARES). AIR CARES generates and promotes evidence-based solutions to address substance use disorder and mitigate its impact on affected individuals, families, and communities.