This paper was written for discussion at the Harold Richman Public Policy Symposium and proposes a five-part set of concrete actions that the philanthropic, public, non-profit, academic, business, and entrepreneurial sectors can take to build a wider and deeper evidence base that would contribute to substantially improved outcomes for disadvantaged children, families, and neighborhoods. The proposed actions include: combine findings from research, theory, practice, and evaluation to promote more informed decision- making; become more strategic to support successful implementation and scale-up; obtain richer evidence from complex interventions; create an expanded learning framework and manage to results; and strengthen measurement for accountability and learning. Recommended strategies are discussed for each of the proposed actions. The paper concludes that if the pragmatic, inclusive approach to evidence advocated is to take root and flourish, public and private funders must take the following steps: support knowledge collection, analyses, and evidence syntheses that yield a more complete body of evidence, ensure that State- and community-level initiatives can generate rigorous new evidence, accelerate the development of the tools and capacities that will help local communities generate new knowledge at greater scale, and working with the evaluation community, continue to expand the menu of available evaluative techniques that can be matched to different types of interventions and different needs to know. 98 references.
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Expanding the Evidence Universe: Doing Better by Knowing More.