Prevention Matters Evaluation and Lessons Learned

June 2023

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation launched Prevention Matters in 2018 to help Marion County schools identify, implement and sustain proven substance use prevention programs. Programs used as part of the initiative were chosen for their demonstrated ability to equip students with skills that not only help them avoid drugs and alcohol, but also help improve their academic achievement, attendance, classroom behavior and social and emotional well-being. Further, these programs have been shown to reduce bullying and violence.

Through Prevention Matters, the Foundation committed more than $13.5 million over four years to implement evidence-based prevention programs in Marion County public (traditional, charter and innovation network) and accredited private K-12 schools.

The initiative served 159 Marion County public and private schools, reaching over 83,400 students annually. Grantees received technical assistance from third-party experts throughout the initiative and participated in an external evaluation through RTI International.

Although grant funding has concluded, most grantees continue to implement their programs with a long-term commitment to improving student outcomes.

Using findings from RTI’s evaluation and other information collected during the initiative, the Fairbanks Foundation released a report that summarizes the impact of Prevention Matters and outlines important lessons learned for schools seeking to implement and sustain successful prevention programs. Additionally, in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, and North Central Health Services, the Foundation created a document outlining guidance for funders interested in awarding grants to schools seeking to implement substance use prevention and mental health programs.