Case Study

Using Evidence to Scale Innovation: Second Harvest of Silicon Valley

The One Community Initiative at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley seeks to create a hunger-free community in a specific community within its broader service area.The One Community Initiative strives to break down barriers to access Second Harvest’s food services and provide an excellent experience for its clients. 

The initiative serves as a change incubator for Second Harvest to test innovative approaches to improve their programs in order to reach more people facing food insecurity. Evidence of effective innovations will guide Second Harvest in scaling up the innovations across their entire two-county service area. 

Project Evident partnered with Second Harvest to design a measurement strategy for the One Community Initiative. This initiative will be an incubator to strengthen programs organization-wide, so it was imperative to rigorously assess the initiative’s impact to be confident about elements that are appropriate to scale. 

This strategy included: 1) a theory of change for the One Community Initiative to understand the program’s impact on its client experiences and in turn, food insecurity and hunger outcomes; 2) a prioritized set of outcome measures; 3) a design for an internally led evaluation of the first One Community pilot, Free Community Markets, that provides a framework for evaluation of future pilots in the initiative; and 4) a learning agenda to guide future evaluation of the One Community initiative.

In addition to strengthening programs that provide food, the initiative is also a place for Second Harvest to build a new evidence-building muscle for the organization.