LAWG Week: Welcome to Cleveland LAWG Week! By Lana Rucks

Greetings! I’m Lana Rucks, Principal Consultant with The Rucks Group. I serve as the current President of the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG) and Chair of the Cleveland Local Arrangement Working Group (LAWG). OPEG and the Cleveland LAWG are looking forward to welcoming you to Cleveland this fall!

In the blogs this week, we are thrilled to introduce you to our beloved city, which used to be referred to as the “mistake on the lake” but is now the city that rocks! What you will come to know is that Cleveland is rich in history and entertainment and is populated by a friendly and diverse group of people. The deep roots in Cleveland also extend into the evaluation space: OPEG was established in 1980 and pre-dates AEA! With regard to the philanthropic community, Cleveland is home to the nation’s first community foundation, The Cleveland Foundation.  Throughout this week, the contributors have woven together general information about evaluation with interesting evaluation work that is occurring in Cleveland.

Towards that end, I would like to share about a new emerging effort to build evaluation capacity for local foundations, particularly focused on small- and medium-sized foundations. Under the leadership of Kathleen Dean of the Saint Luke’s Foundation and Christine Mitton of Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and in partnership with Philanthropy Ohio, they have created a forum for individuals who are on the front lines of grantmaking and grants management as well as individuals responsible for evaluation, learning, and outcomes measurement. The purpose of the group is to engage in dialogue to advance evaluation practice among foundations in Northeast Ohio. This innovative approach involves discussion topics that vary but essentially revolve around sharing best practices and challenges towards increasing the use of evaluation practice within their work. It is exciting that this forum is serving to promulgate evaluation within the region.

Rad Resource: A recent discussion to facilitate the discussion used the guide Facilitating Intentional Group Learning published by FSG guide as a backdrop for the discussion. The report contains a plethora of information on advancing learning within foundations.

Hot Tip: Like with any city, there are references and language that are unique to Cleveland. One such word is “Halle’s.” Invariably, a reference to Halle’s will come up in a conversation with a native Clevelander. So that you’ll know what people are talking about, here’s some background information: Halle’s is a reference to the Halle Brothers Co., which was a department store in Cleveland for nearly 100 years. Its former flagship location is one of the oldest buildings in Cleveland. Since closing in the mid-1980’s the building was renovated and currently serves as office space for area businesses. Here’s another interesting fact: Halle Berry, the movie actress, is the department store’s namesake.

We’re looking forward to the fall and the Evaluation 2018 conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to


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