CARES Program Evaluation & Research

Transparency and accountability are integral to Ramsey County's COVID-19 response. Program evaluation helps organizations understand whether goals are being met, track performance and  how to improve services and performance. All projects will address two overarching questions:

  1. Are Ramsey County residents better off as a result of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act programming?
  2. Did the project achieve the outcomes the community was seeking?


  1. Ramsey County is spending millions in its response to the COVID-19 crisis. New processes are being developed, as well as new programming and services, with a pace and scale that is unprecedented. In this situation, the need for evaluation, accountability and institutional learning is key to ensuring goals are being met.
  2. Ramsey County’s goal of accountability rests on the public’s trust that resources are being properly spent and the entire community is being served. Program evaluation, in addition to compliance and contract monitoring, helps ensure accountability to the public.
  3. While Ramsey County is responding to a crisis, there are still strategic priorities that guide our work during the crisis and beyond. Program evaluation can provide insight and learning about how these responses, specific to COVID-19, can inform and build on long-term priorities.
  4. Ramsey County has invested in program evaluation and research for 40 years and should take advantage of those resources to ensure a transparent, accountable and successful emergency response.
  5. Program evaluation can help ensure community-identified needs and outcomes are being met and racial disparities are being reduced through this crisis.

Areas of focus

While Ramsey County has a team of evaluators, not every project funded by CARES can or should be evaluated. Projects are prioritized by:

  • Projects that further the county’s strategic goals and where learning will help us improve beyond the crisis.
  • Projects that enable the county to be accountable to the community.
  • Projects that can be part of a coordinated effort to mitigate racial/ethnic disparities.

View CARES evaluation report


The Health and Wellness Administration Research and Evaluation Team is not formally a section or branch within the Incident Management Team, but will be approved based on its work plan to execute specific tasks in partnership with the various sections and branches of the IMT and county Service Teams and departments as related to CARES Act projects and funding.

Interim reports and project plans

An overall project summary provides evaluation questions, key performance measures and methods. During the COVID-19 response, the Health and Wellness Administration Evaluation and Research unit will report on the projects below.

Food and basic needs

Workforce development

Emergency assistance/emergency general assistance

Community economic development