Results First Initiative



Results First initiative works with states to implement an innovative evidence-based policymaking approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proved to work.

Using Evidence to Deliver Results

States and counties spend billions of dollars on critical services and programs to help protect and improve public health, support reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals, and protect children from abuse and neglect, yet many state and county leaders lack comprehensive information about the impact of those expenditures. Results First aims to fill that information gap.

Since 2010, the Results First initiative has helped 27 states and 10 counties use evidence and customizable tools such as cost-benefit analysis to inform their policy and budget processes and direct funding to effective programs that can provide a return on taxpayer investments.

From 2010 to 2019, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts partnered on the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. The long-term impact of the work has equipped state and local decision-makers with the tools to better evaluate their policy options, using research to identify program investments that can improve long-term public outcomes. 

How We Conduct Our Work

Results First provides assistance and a suite of tools to help state and county leaders interested in using evidence to improve their programs and policies. Those include:

  • The Results First Clearinghouse Database, an online resource that brings together information on social policy programs from nine national clearinghouses.
  • The Resource Center, a one-stop shop of the project’s research on evidence-based policymaking, including state-specific case studies.
  • Customized trainings and technical assistance.

We support state and county leaders who face tough budget and policy choices by helping them identify programs that are proven to yield the greatest benefits, building a climate for decision-making that is based on research and evidence. Our approach and tools allow states to better understand and assess existing efforts, prioritize investments in proven interventions, eliminate ineffective programs, and shift scarce resources to policies and programs that can generate better outcomes for their citizens.

Results First in Your State

To learn more about our work in your state or county, including our network of high-performing states, please visit Where We Work