We assessed the social value impact of three years of grant giving worth £9.6m across West Midlands and Warwickshire.

Heart of England Community Foundation is the largest independent grant giving organisation in the West Midlands and Warwickshire. Since 1995 the Foundation has awarded more than £30m and supported over 3.5 million people.

Over recent years the Foundation has grown considerably and so has the size and range of their funding. However, they didn’t fully understand the impact of their work or how best to assess this going forward. They asked us to help.

We provided a socio-economic baseline of the area and mapped this against grants awarded. The purpose here was to assess whether the grants were representative of the wider community.

We then assessed the impact of their grants over the previous three years. They had awarded £9.6m through 2,100 grants reaching over 900,000 beneficiaries. Heart of England aim to “create healthy and happy communities”. We wanted to align our social value assessment against this and therefore used the HM Treasury Green Book ‘Wellbeing Guidance for Appraisal’. This provided a credible framework for defining healthy and happy communities. Their impact was measured against ten broad measures of wellbeing.

Following this we established an evaluation and monitoring framework and provided training so they could assess their own impact going forward.

The work provided them with evidence to shape and enhance their grant making moving forward. The work has also been used to support their donors with their philanthropic giving and understand the difference they are making. It also provided their Board, staff and grants panels with vital insight, supporting them to grow and learn as a funder.

“It was great to work with Forever. They are incredibly knowledgeable in their field, and they were able to provide an insightful report on our organisation, within a local and national context. Their friendly and approachable style supports great collaborative working and the opportunity share knowledge and skills. It’s been a pleasure to work with them.”

Helen Kendrick, Senior Manager: Operations, Heart of England Community Foundation