Live Case – Project

Recommend strategies for program impact assessment

A Collaboration Between

Project Synopsis

Challenge: We lack of systems or infrastructure to efficiently and effectively measure and assess the programs we deliver.

Opportunity: Improved impact tracking will lead to better strategic decision making, and better reporting ability to funding sources and grant-makers.
Deep dive into program(s) that are the subject of the project (purpose, design and delivery methods, target audience, program theory, outcomes, etc.)

We need your help to conduct research on effective, sustainable strategies for evaluating program effectiveness. We need to take a step back and assess all of our programs, and use qualitative and quantitative analysis to make sure the programs we work so hard to offer are actually creating the individual and community benefits we are desiring. If our board is able to going forward efficiently, and in real-time, track the impact of our programs, it will help us make strategic decisions with our limited resources.We are interested in learning how other successful grant-supported programs with similar objectives are evaluated and demonstrate their effectiveness to stakeholders. How is program effectiveness, defined, measured and bench marked? How do administrators communicate assessment results with stakeholders and make improvements? We also need to have better awareness of the resources available to support programs and evaluation efforts. For instance, are there grant opportunities for improving evaluation systems? Are there opportunities to network and collaborate with local educators/universities who offer pro bono or low cost evaluation services?  We are also interested in curated examples, and your recommendations for adopting certain program-specific evaluation strategies, measures, techniques, etc.

The milestones and activities for this project are grounded in a design thinking approach. To learn more about design thinking and how it works, check out these online resources:

HBR, Why Design Thinking Works. 

MIT, Design Thinking Explained. 

IDEO, Design Thinking.

Project Topics

Research & Development

Company Information

CompanyParents for Peace & Justice
HQChicago, IL
StagePre-Revenue Startup
Hiring PotentialN/A

Company Overview

Parents for Peace and Justice (PPJ) was formed in 2013 by co-founders Elizabeth Ramirez, who lost her own son in an unsolved killing, and Robert Torres, who was touched and inspired by Elizabeth’s story -- and by her tireless passion to help others who suffered a similar fate.  PPJ, headquartered in Belmont Cragin, serves families affected by gun violence in the predominantly Latino neighborhoods of the Northwest side of Chicago: Humboldt Park, Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, and Logan Square. PPJ’s approach is three-pronged:
  1. Violence Prevention: addressing the violence before it happens through activity-focused youth programming 
  2. Healing Support: helping families cope with the enormous loss that results from violence
  3. Victim Advocacy: advocating for justice through vigils, media campaigns, and legislative advocacy
In recent years, Chicago’s crime rates have been making national headlines. Between 2015 and 2017, Chicago homicides surged by 58%, driving America’s overall spike in homicides. 2020 was been a particularly violent year in Chicago, with murders up by more than 37%. Violent crime remains disturbingly high in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of the cities, meaning the impact is felt most sharply in the city’s most marginalized communities. The immense grief caused by violence compounds with every new act, leaving a hurting community in desperate need of resources and relief. While local and state authorities work to address the issue at the policy level, Parents for Peace and Justice works on a grassroots level to fill in the gaps and help meet the community’s most immediate and urgent everyday needs. PPJ’s signature programs serve hundreds of children and adults in LatinX communities across Chicago. We provide:
  1. Mental health resources, including support groups, counseling, retreats, and workshops for mothers, fathers and siblings who lost a loved one to violence,
  2. Athletic camps and career workshops for children affected by gun violence, with mentorship from professional athletes and business leaders,
  3. Advocacy training for families learning to use their voices for positive change.

Experiential Learning Program Details

SchoolNorthern Illinois University (NIU)
Engagement FormatLive Case - Think "Hackathon" or Case Competition with a whole class of students! This learning format allows educators to deliver experiential learning to students at scale. Students are often split into groups to work on a live case (or a series of cases) from a real host company that directly relates to key learning objectives.
CourseBusiness in Action, Spring 2022 (Doughty) – Parents for Peace & Justice
  • All Undergraduate
Students Enrolled40
Meeting Day & TimeTues/Thurs
Student Time Commitment4-7 Hours Per Week
Company Time Commitment1 Hour
Duration13.14 Weeks

Program Timeline

Touchpoints & Assignments Due Date Type
Project Reveal

Project Reveal

Students are introduced the the project topics
February 2nd, 2022 Event na
Students Submit Project Preferences

Students Submit Project Preferences

Use this process to  elect your preferences and be assigned to project teams. [INSERT LINK]
February 2nd, 2022 Event na
STUDENTS! Take the Project Kick-off Survey!

STUDENTS! Take the Project Kick-off Survey!

Take a few moments to complete this KICKOFF SURVEY before the project begins!
February 9th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Project Launch

Project Launch

[NEED TO COORDINATE with organization to schedule videoconferencing meeting with class]
February 21st, 2022 Event na
Milestone Deliverable 1 Due Milestone Deliverable 1 Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above.
March 7th, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Let us know how you are doing!

STUDENTS! Let us know how you are doing!

Please take a few minutes to let us know how the project is going for you using this TEMPERATURE CHECK SURVEY
March 9th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Milestone 2 Deliverable Due Milestone 2 Deliverable Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above
April 6th, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Let us know how the project is going!

STUDENTS! Let us know how the project is going!

Take this short survey to let us know how the project is going for you! [INSERT TEMP CHECK LINK]
April 11th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Milestone 3 Deliverable Due Milestone 3 Deliverable Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above
May 2nd, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Take a short survey on YOUR learning experience!

STUDENTS! Take a short survey on YOUR learning experience!

Please take a few minutes to complete this SELF ASSESSMENT SURVEY on your learning experience with this project!
May 4th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
STUDENTS! Let us know about your observations and experiences working with YOUR PEERS on this project!

STUDENTS! Let us know about your observations and experiences working with YOUR PEERS on this project!

Please take a few minutes to complete this PEER EVALUATION SURVEY!
May 4th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Official Project End!

Official Project End!

Note: Schedule a time for student final virtual presentations to industry partners.
May 4th, 2022 Event na

Key Project Milestones

  • March 7, 2022 - Deep-dive into the Organization

    • What is the organization’s history, mission, vision and goals?
    • What is the organization’s relationship to the community? What geographic area, subpopulations, etc. are served by the organization? Who is the target population?
    • What community, group, and individual needs does the organization meet, and how? How are their programs and services defined and organized?
    • Students will also research the following questions:
      • What are nonprofit impact measurements?
      • Why are nonprofit impact measurements important?
      • What is the difference between an output and an outcome?
      • What is the difference between a KPI and an impact measurement?  What is the value of each to an organization?
    • What does a successful project look like?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Infographic overview of the organization and current challenge (internal); questions for industry mentor

  • April 4, 2022 - Define the problem, research and brainstorm to address unmet needs

    • Gather existing information (data, documentation, input from stakeholders) that are to be the subject of your analysis.
      • What information do you need?
      • How would you describe the nature, objectives, target audience, program theory, and desired outcomes of each program?
      • What data does the organization collect from program participants (note you are just working to identify and define the variables and how they are measured, not accessing raw data with identifiers)?
      • The current challenge focuses on program evaluation. How are programs currently being evaluated, if at all? What measures and data are used? 
      • What strategies and tools will you use to organize and analyze the information you gather, and why? Are there other organizations whose strategies you can model?
    • Brainstorm/ideate
      • What sources of information will you consult to learn best practices for evaluating similar programs?
        • Secondary research (e.g. online, databases, etc.)?
        • Primary research (program directors/coordinators/administrators of successful programs)?
      • What concepts, frameworks, and models from the field are applicable and useful for informing evaluation strategies? What are some real-world examples you can show as potential models?
      • Considering the range of ideas that emerge as opportunities to increase retention; what are some realistic, possible solutions for program evaluation that rise to the top and are relevant to this case?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Program/example evaluation strategies matrix with references and curated resources. Presentation to obtain feedback from industry mentor.

  • May 4, 2022 - Present curated resources, prototypes, recommendations

    • What evaluation strategies do you recommend for each program under analysis?
    • Work to showcase recommended strategies, and highlight examples of how you integrate the content you curated and annotated in the previous step into the subject program. For instance:
      • If you suggest using a pre/post evaluation strategy, are there sample surveys you’ve gathered from your research that exemplify this strategy? What schedule would these follow, which audiences would they apply to, and so on?
      • Can you point to model programs, sample funding application, etc. to illustrate industry assessment norms and practices?
    • How will you structure the information you want to share? What is the best strategy for organizing, visualizing, and sharing your ideas?
    • Why would your suggestions likely be effective for producing the desired outcome? How do you come to these conclusions?
    • Are there any flaws or constraints that need to be addressed?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Prototypes; Annotated resources with index/directory; Presentation

Academic Mentors



[email protected]


Jason Gorham

[email protected]


Scott Rosenfelder

[email protected]


Neil Doughty

[email protected]


Elois Joseph 

[email protected]


Jenny Redisi 

[email protected]

Assigned Students

There are currently no students assigned.