Healthcare Georgia Foundation launched COPP to help direct resources for the most impact in the state’s battle against childhood obesity. The goal was simple: Make it easier for children and families to make healthier lifestyle choices. Four established community-based coalitions received a total of $2.3 million between 2013-2016 to improve local policies and environments. As cross-site evaluator and evaluation technical assistance (TA) provider, ICF helped HGF determine the effectiveness of each grantee’s work so that data could inform future investments in the health of Georgia’s children.
COPP tested a grant making strategy of funding coalitions and providing robust TA, peer learning, and monitoring. The program was also designed to identify strategies most appropriate for replicating or scaling in other communities--especially in underserved areas--and sustainable models for implementing communitywide childhood obesity prevention initiatives. COPP tapped ICF’s evaluation and survey research expertise to measure outcomes in health behaviors, social awareness, social norms, local policies, and local physical environments. ICF collected evaluation data in all three years of the program to assess the needs, settings, and effectiveness of childhood obesity prevention in Georgia. Through initiative-level evaluation work, ICF built local capacity to plan, implement, and evaluate policy and environmental change strategies.
Cross-site evaluation provided the critical linkage between the intended goals of the program and measured outcomes. Data drove deeper understanding of community perspectives, and helped assure appropriate communication to stakeholders. The COPP grant making strategy proved successful, and the four grantees continue to pursue activities aimed at reducing and preventing childhood obesity. Positive outcomes beyond the original goals of the program included asthma-friendly status for a school system, a community engagement model being replicated in South Carolina, and a local church in a rural community providing transportation to summer camp.