Giving Compass' Take:

• Urban Institute examines how tiered-evidence grantmaking — which tries to expand knowledge about new approaches to social problems and scale them — applies to getting more families into high-quality "opportunity" neighborhoods.

• What can we learn from this approach in the urban development sector? Could it be applied to innovations in other areas? This approach is useful to solving the "replication crisis," where outcomes can be difficult to reproduce.

• Here's everything you need to know about federal tiered-evidence programs.

To ensure families can access opportunity-rich areas, we need to know what works. And to know what works, we need research that reveals the differences between interventions that make an impact and those that don’t move the needle.

Tiered-evidence grantmaking can identify effective interventions by allocating funding based on the strength of evidence tied to an approach or model. This growing grantmaking approach builds the knowledge base about promising approaches, encourages innovation, and promotes scaling what works in new places.

Tiered-evidence grantmaking has already been used at agencies around the federal government, including the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. In a newly released paper, we propose applying tiered-evidence grantmaking toward a critical goal — helping families access and stay in opportunity neighborhoods.

Definitions of “opportunity neighborhoods” vary, but research shows that living in neighborhoods that are safe, healthy, and connected to high-quality services, schools, and jobs can improve outcomes and economic mobility for children.

We’ve outlined three reasons tiered-evidence grantmaking can help policymakers learn how to best expand families’ access to opportunity.

1. Building more evidence
2. Encouraging innovation
3. Supporting local flexibility

Read the full article about tiered-evidence grantmaking at Urban Institute.