Leveraging Evaluation and Evidence for Equitable Recovery (LEVER)

A photo collage of three images: on the left is a woman at a job training site wearing a hard hat and safety vest; in the middle is a city bus at an intersection; on the right, young students raise their hands to respond to a teacher's question. Below the photo are the logos for J-PAL North America and Results for America.


Across the United States, state and local governments are leading economic mobility efforts in their communities as they implement programs to address historic levels of income inequality, rising housing instability, and the impacts of climate change. J-PAL North America and Results for America are committed to equipping state and local governments with the resources needed to create a culture of evidence and data use in decision-making, ensuring programs are best-positioned to improve lives. 

Fill out our interest form to receive additional information about LEVER. More details are below in the Opportunities to Engage section.

Decision-makers have a unique opportunity to advance long-term economic mobility and equity by investing in evidence-based programs and evaluating innovative ideas. 

Understanding the impacts of governments’ innovative efforts is critical if we aim to strengthen community resilience in the long-term and advance equity for all. State and local governments are committed to identifying and scaling the most effective approaches—evaluation and evidence are needed to make those decisions.

For example, right now many jurisdictions have allocated federal dollars to evaluate innovative efforts that promote economic mobility, building internal evidence and data capacity in the process.

Why you:

You’re a state or local decision-maker who cares deeply about advancing economic mobility and racial equity within your community.

You want to harness data, evidence, and evaluation to understand program impacts and identify the most effective ideas to scale, whether you’re a budding evidence enthusiast or experienced evaluation champion. 

You’re seeking to learn alongside other state and local decision-makers from state and local governments across the country and engage with a community of research and practice experts.

Why us:

As two experienced organizations in evidence-based policymaking, Results for America and J-PAL North America are ready to meet jurisdictions where they are and support them in this effort.

Results for America is a leading national nonprofit organization with deep experience helping policymakers at all levels of government harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges.

J-PAL North America is a research center based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose network of academic researchers specializes in partnering with public, private, and nonprofit leaders to rigorously study what strategies meaningfully reduce poverty. 

Together we are committed to equipping state and local governments with the resources needed to create a culture of evidence and data use in decision-making. 

Opportunities to Engage

We’re providing a suite of critical resources and training for government jurisdictions to build and use evidence.

Government decision-makers participating in LEVER will come away with a basic understanding of evaluation, knowledge of what it takes to build evidence and evaluation capacity, and the opportunity to access tailored support and connections with experts in the evidence and evaluation practitioner field.

LEVER includes a variety of resources and engagements each tailored to the unique needs of governments with varying levels of familiarity with data and evaluation. No matter your prior experience, we have something for you. 

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Evaluation Incubator

What: In-depth support for government agencies as they turn policy-relevant research questions into well-designed randomized evaluations of social programs that alleviate poverty and promote community wellbeing. Through the LEVER Evaluation Incubator, governments receive training, one-on-one technical assistance, flexible funding, and connections to academic researchers to develop evaluations.

When: The deadline for LEVER Evaluation Incubator request for Letters of Interest has been extended to April 15, 2024. See submission details and send in your Letter of Interest today!

Who: Agencies that have begun scoping an impact evaluation for a project and have dedicated internal capacity for innovation, evaluation, and/or evidence. Check out our page for examples of past projects. 

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In-Person Evaluating Social Programs Course

What: A five-day course held in person at MIT that equips participants with the resources and knowledge to engage with impact evaluations of social programs. The immersive course provides an in-depth look at why and when randomized evaluations can be used to rigorously measure social impact, methods and considerations for their design and implementation, and how findings can inform evidence-based policies and programs. Through lectures, hands-on case studies, and an applied team project, participants leave with a toolkit to set their own evaluations in motion.

When: June 24–28, 2024. The application deadline is April 6. Please see Evaluating Social Programs for more information.

Who: Government agencies interested in equipping staff with a deep understanding of randomized evaluations. The typical participant is a mid-career professional with an understanding of basic statistical concepts and an interest in incorporating randomized evaluations into their work.

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Foundations of Evidence and Evaluation Workshop Recording and Resources

What: Video from a two-part virtual workshop on the foundations of evidence and evaluation and two practical tools governments can use to identify strengths and opportunities for evidence and evaluation and develop action plans for building evaluation capacity.

Click here to explore the resources, watch the workshop recording, and download the tools.

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Office Hours (Coaching and Support)

What: 1:1 support to answer questions related to evidence use, evaluation, and LEVER program offerings. Connect with staff from J-PAL North America and Results for America, and other experts in evidence use and evaluation implementation, to address a critical challenge or hurdle or determine which LEVER program offerings are best suited for you.

When: Ongoing between January and March 2024. Sign up for a slot via the interest form above or reach out to [email protected].

Who: We invite you to meet with us if you have questions about which LEVER program offerings are best suited for you or want to discuss a specific topic related to data use, applying evidence from other studies to your context, designing an impact evaluation, or navigating practical research challenges.


Who is LEVER for?

LEVER is for any state or local government agency who is interested in harnessing data, evaluation, and evidence to make better decisions. We know that using these tools to guide policy is easier said than done—that’s where LEVER comes in. LEVER includes various resources and touchpoints tailored to the unique needs of governments with varying levels of familiarity with data and evaluation, from budding evidence enthusiasts to seasoned evaluation champions.

Does my agency need to have American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funding to participate?

No. We are here to support agencies with any source of federal recovery-related funding. This includes the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funding (SLFRF), the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) aka Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), Inflation Reduction Act, and other sources. If you aren’t sure whether your funding qualifies, please reach out. We’re happy to sit down with you and figure it out.

I didn’t participate in the Evidence and Evaluation Journey Workshop. Can I still engage with future activities?

Yes! LEVER is intentionally designed to include different engagements to best support governments with varying levels of familiarity and experience with data and evaluation. Each offering is meant to function as a standalone, empowering governments to choose their own adventure. Please see our list of offerings above for more information, or sign up via our interest form to receive more information. You can also access a recording of the two-part workshop and copies of the needs assessment and planning tools workshop participants used, linked above in the “Resources and Recorded Workshop” section.

How can I learn more about a particular training or capacity building activity? What if I'm not sure which opportunity is right for me?

We’d love to work with you to identify the activities that are right for you. We recommend you either sign up to chat with J-PAL and RFA staff in Office Hours or reach out directly with your questions to [email protected].

What if I have plans to conduct an evaluation/use evidence but the timing isn't aligned with these opportunities?

We encourage you to stop by our Office Hours to discuss your timeline and how we might be able to support you. In addition, J-PAL North America and RFA have large libraries of written resources to support governments’ capacity to conduct evaluations and/or harness evidence. A few are linked below. If you’re looking for something specific and can’t find it, please reach out via email—we’d love to chat.

Contact us

Questions? Get in touch with us via [email protected].

We also encourage you to fill out the LEVER interest form, where you can sign up to receive emails about future engagement opportunities.

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