Strengthening Evaluation Capacity Among Veteran Service Organizations to Improve Outcomes for Veterans

Over the past four years, the CDC Foundation has supported a variety of projects related to veteran suicide prevention. One of these efforts, the Veteran Suicide Prevention Evaluation (VSPE) project, is designed to strengthen the ability of veteran-serving organizations (VSOs) to use evaluation to build evidence on the effectiveness of programs to address veteran suicide.

Veterans and military populations have a higher risk for suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The work of community-based VSOs is vital to building connections and establishing resource safety nets for veterans and military families in creating an upstream approach to suicide prevention. The CDC Foundation is pleased to announce that in our fourth year of funding from CDC for this project we are awarding support to four VSOs to continue their evaluation work for their community-based programs and build a community of practice network. 

The four veteran-serving organizations awarded support include:

For the past three years, capacity building efforts were focused on formative and process evaluations. This year’s project builds upon this foundational knowledge and is working to enhance the capacity of VSOs to implement outcome evaluations that measure how the programs being evaluated affected intended outcomes around veteran suicide prevention. During the 10-month project, VSOs will engage in comprehensive planning, data collection and analysis for the evaluation of their community-based programs.

Also this year, VSPE grantees have the opportunity to engage in open and productive conversation around building evidence-based work in the field of veteran suicide prevention through participation in a community of practice (COP).

The first COP meeting of this year’s VSO awardees was held in early December and brought together more than 20 members of the evaluation project to discuss the topics of evaluation training, data collection, community engagement, and lessons learned from the first phase of the project, which is a time- and labor-intensive process. Importantly, the meeting fostered peer-to-peer learning and partnership, allowing participants to share perspectives and candid commentary on successes and the areas in which they will anticipate growth over the next year.

As a part of the program, the CDC Foundation will host two additional community of practice meetings focusing on communications and dissemination as well as strategic capacity for evaluation. The key topics and lessons learned from this first meeting will be used to develop additional technical assistance materials for grantees and guide future discussions with the group.

Through this project, tools will be developed to support evaluation and communications capacity for VSOs. These tools will support the materials designed from the Warrior Built: Strengthening the Eco-System for Veteran Suicide Prevention convening focusing on partnership building. 

We are excited to continue this project for a fourth year and advance the work of building evaluation capacity for veteran serving organizations. For more information on the veteran-related projects at the CDC Foundation, please contact

This blog post is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $300,000 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

Emily Gordon
Emily Gordon, MPH, is a program officer for the CDC Foundation.