Theory of Change  

The Framework that Guides Our Work


Alaska Conservation Foundation (ACF) recognizes the importance and considerable potential for a more powerful and sustained conservation movement in Alaska. As economic and political landscapes evolve so do the optimal strategies and approaches to protecting Alaska. 

Beginning in 2009, ACF undertook an evaluation process that incorporated input from Alaska conservation leaders, best practices in philanthropy, and current research on nonprofit sustainability. A central part was to articulate a Theory of Change to guide our conservation work, providing focused priorities and improved approach for evaluating the Foundation’s effectiveness.

ACF’s Theory of Change

A Theory of Change is a framework or blueprint for achieving long-term goals. It helps ACF to draw connections between our mission and the grantmaking and programmatic work we perform, plan and focus our efforts, and  measure effectiveness.

Download a copy of ACF’s Theory of Change model. 

Along the left margin are the various “levels” of the Foundation’s work:

  • ACF: Activities and efforts occurring within ACF
  • Partner/Grantee: Activities and efforts performed by (external) conservation leaders, organizations, campaigns
  • Population/Environment: Ultimate outcomes which include building a more influential movement, creating more robust environmental policy and having an enduring conservation impact.

ACF’s Theory of Change model articulates how the Foundation builds Alaska’s conservation movement at the partner/grantee level, not the population/environment level.  This means that ACF’s role is to support the  groups that will directly achieve the outcomes identified at the population/environment level.

In the center are the intermediate outcomes:

  • Favored Conservation Strategies: A lens for our evaluation and engagement 
  • Organizational Capacity: The qualities essential for any organization to succeed

By supporting organizations that favor the following conservation strategies

  • Promoting civic engagement and citizen action;
  • Employing innovative approaches to building a conservation movement;
  • Increasing public awareness of conservation issues;
  • Employing diverse partnerships;
  • Focusing upon enduring solutions and problem-solving; and
  • Fostering collaboration

…ACF will build the influence of Alaska’s conservation movement, focusing upon long-term, enduring solutions that create more robust environmental policy and protections. Only by creating better environmental policy can we achieve the enduring conservation protection warranted by Alaska’s global significance.

Learn More

The following resources are available to learn more about developing a Theory of Change:

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