Organization Info

City Gospel Mission
Type: FBO
Sector: Homelessness/Recovery/Education
City: Cincinnati
Best Practice: Use of quarterly “ENDS Friend” life change evaluation tool

Organization Mission

The mission of The City Gospel Mission is to break the cycle of poverty and despair through local programming and services throughout the Cincinnati region of Ohio.


City Gospel Mission Evaluation Tool

At the City Gospel Mission strong results arise in part from strong evaluation and tracking tools. “We use assessments because they are what really tells you whether your program is truly effective or not,” says Executive Director, Roger Howell. 

At the City Gospel Mission, Ministry Unfolds With the “ENDS” in Mind

City Gospel ENDS Evaluation cover pic

There’s a lot of activity at the Cincinnati-based City Gospel Mission. Check out their website and you’ll find over 25 programs. But for executive director Roger Howell, all the activity comes down to one aim: transforming lives.

Of course, plenty of faith-based organizations talk about life transformation. At City Gospel Mission, though, staff and trained volunteers take the time to track it, using a simple but powerful outcomes evaluation tool called the “ENDS Friend Evaluation,” it is a straightforward yes/no questionnaire examining 22 metrics in four key arenas (physical, social, mental, spiritual). Each quarter, volunteers (such as tutors or mentors) and staff members (such as recovery program specialists) take time to reflect on what they have observed in the lives of the regular program participants with whom they are in relationship. In a typical quarter, roughly 1350 youth and 550 adults will be assessed.

“We’re not looking for perfection,” Howell says. “But what we want to see is every participant earn a “yes” answer in the critical categories (such as being free from substance abuse) and have no fewer than 50 percent yes’s in each overall arena.”

City Gospel Mission, Howell explains, follows what is known as the Carver Board Governance approach. It means that the organization identifies a central metric that defines success: the “ends” for which the organization exists. “Here, that end goal is life transformation. So you have to define what that actually means and then systematically track and measure your progress toward it,” Howell says.