UNP does not work alone. We are a catalyst and convener for a large and growing network of partners and partnerships. Networks like this are challenging to evaluate because there are so many people involved, decision making is decentralized, and the most important impacts can have multiple causes and be difficult to define ahead of time.
In response, UNP has adopted a “network evaluation” approach that looks at the strength and vitality of the network itself, as well its expected and unexpected impacts. We use the logic model to pictured here, inspired by ecological systems theories. Rather than a linear process, we conceptualize impact as spreading outward from UNP’s collaboratively-developed core mission, vision, and values. Around this center of gravity, UNP convenes people and resources and supports equitable partnerships rooted in mutual learning, action, and benefit. The effects of these partnerships “ripple” outward across system levels. Those changes, in turn, impact and inform the evolution of UNP’s network.
In our evaluation report, we organize the impacts around our four strategic priorities:
One of UNP’s core priorities is to support west side residents as leaders who will define and create the future of our community. In our evaluation, we look at indicators of, 1) residents’ individual growth as leaders, 2) individual and collective leadership in action, and 3) increased capacity of resident-led organizations. We also explore the importance of confidence and hope in leadership.
Educational opportunities are critical for individuals looking to grow as people and professionals, reach their goals, and contribute to their communities.In our evaluation, we look at indicators of partners taking courses and passing educational milestoes. We report on how partnership work can motivate people to continue their education, and share the growing impact of UNP-supported scholarships. At the community and institutional level, we look at the overall rate of college going and completion in our neighborhoods, and how it is changing over time.
UNP is a connector. Through partnerships, we build social capital that can be used to drive individual goals and collective action. In our evaluation, we look report on indicators of, 1) how individuals are connecting to people and resources through partnerships, 2) the overall size and interconnectedness of the UNP network, and 3) the quality of relationships within partnerships.
UNP is working to engage and communicate more effectively with the University, west side neighborhoods, and broader audiences. The goal is to increase awareness and understanding of UNP and its partners, encourage more participation and support for partnerships, and influence the work of others who could learn from UNP and its partners. In our evaluation, we look at indicators of this increased engagement including, 1) awards, recognition, and news coverage for UNP and its partners, 2) efforts to expand UNP’s partnership approach, 3) publications and other forms of disseminating knowledge form partnerships, and 4) UNP’s engagement in online media.
 Network Impact & the Center for Evaluation Innovation. (2014). A Guide to Network Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.networkimpact.org/the-state-of-network-evaluation-a-guide/
 Bronfenbrenner, U. (1992). Ecological systems theory. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.