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.


State and local government leaders are working to strengthen community resilience in the face of Covid-19’s effects. Results for America and J-PAL North America are supporting state and local governments in their use of data, evaluation, and evidence in order to advance economic mobility and racial equity for generations to come. 

Fill out our interest form to receive additional information about LEVER and/or to sign up for our open programming. More details are below in the Opportunities to Engage section.


The American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and other federal funding sources are routing billions of dollars to state and local governments to rebuild and strengthen their communities. Governments are using funds  to support innovative programs and promising pilots ranging from rental assistance and state-wide tutoring corps to sector-based job training and guaranteed income trials, among others.

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


You’re a state or local decision-maker who cares deeply about advancing economic mobility and racial equity within your community (and you’re harnessing federal Covid-19 recovery funding to do it).

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.


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


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. 

Interested in learning more about LEVER or signing up for one of the activities below? Let us know.

Sign up for LEVER programming

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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. To access more detailed information, please visit the Evaluation Incubator page and review the application instructions.

When: The LEVER Evaluation Incubator application closed on August 4, 2023. Applications for the 2024 Evaluation Incubator will become available in 2024.

Who: Agencies that have begun scoping an impact evaluation for a project and have dedicated internal capacity for innovation, evaluation, and/or evidence. We welcome applications from government agencies interested in evaluating programs and policies supported by federal Covid-19 relief funding. This includes programs funded entirely or partially through Covid-19 relief dollars, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the American Rescue Plan (ARP), and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as well as those enabled through revenue replacement or other mechanisms using Covid-19 relief funding.

well as those enabled through revenue replacement or other mechanisms using Covid-19 relief funding.
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Training Sprint: Policies & Practices to Sustain Equitable Recovery

What: A ten-week virtual engagement through which teams will access tools and resources focused on building an evidence-driven decision-making process and policies while receiving support from experts on how to promote and implement these practices. Participants will develop their own policy for how evidence, evaluation and equity are prioritized in their jurisdictions. To access more detailed information, please visit the Training Sprint page and review the application instructions.

When: The 2023 Training Sprint applications closed on August 4, 2023. Applications for the 2024 Training Sprint will become available in 2024.

Who: Governments who have built foundations for evidence use and are seeking to build evaluation capacities related to Policies & Practices and Leadership & Culture. Best suited for governments who have some experience building internal structures for evidence and evaluation and have a team of leaders within their government ready to invest more time in evidence and evaluation capacity building. In total, 10-15 teams from different jurisdictions around the country will be selected to learn together in this training sprint.

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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 April and November 2023. 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.

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Resources and Recorded Workshop

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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Virtual Convenings with Governments and Researchers

What: Virtual opportunities for researchers and government leaders and staff to connect and share ideas about evaluation opportunities. The goal of these convenings is for researchers to add capacity and potentially lead these evaluations with policymakers. 

When: 2024

Who: Governments interested in connecting with experienced researchers who can partner with them to co-lead randomized evaluations of innovative programs.


Who is LEVER for?

LEVER is for any state or local government agency who is leveraging federal Covid-19 relief funding and 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?

The activities that LEVER hosts in 2023 will be repeated in 2024—if that timing aligns better with your plans, fill out our interest form to stay informed about future offerings. We also 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 program interest form, where you can sign up to receive emails about future engagement opportunities and register for upcoming programming.

Sign up for LEVER programming

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