When COVID-19 upended normal operations at STRIVE, a workforce development nonprofit founded in New York, the Center for Applied Behavioral Science at MDRC documented the agency’s real-time innovations that allowed it to continue serving clients during the crisis. Greg Wise, STRIVE’s National Vice President, shared a first-hand account of the transition.
Stability and Change
Community organizations are at the center of neighborhood improvement efforts. But how do organizational networks evolve over time, and how does their evolution affect local capacity for positive change? This report takes on these questions to advance an understanding of how community networks function, and how to better support them.
The Experience of a New Program for Young People Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
STRIVE International engaged MDRC to help the organization improve a new program model aimed at increasing educational attainment and employment of young adults involved in the juvenile justice system. This Issue Focus describes the partnership and offers advice to organizations implementing new programs on how to build evidence of effectiveness.
Learning from the Chicago Community Networks Study
This report presents findings from the Chicago Community Networks study — one of the most extensive efforts to measure interorganizational partnerships in local neighborhoods. It uses social network analysis and extensive field research to ask how specific patterns of partnership promote better-implemented collaborations that, in turn, can inform public policy.
MDRC launches the first of a five-part web series from the Chicago Community Networks study — a mixed-methods initiative that combines formal social network analysis with in-depth field surveys of community practitioners. It measures how community organizations collaborate on local improvement projects and how they come together to shape public policy.
Findings from Family Rewards 2.0
A program in Memphis and the Bronx offered cash incentives, coupled with family guidance, to poor families for meeting certain health care, education, and work milestones. The program increased income and reduced poverty, increased dental visits and health status, reduced employment somewhat, and had few effects on students’ education.
A Scan of the Literature and Current Approaches
Low-income and minority children suffer disproportionately from asthma. This review examines efforts to improve education and self-management, remediate asthma “triggers” at home, and improve health care provider practice. It concludes that asthma management education; proper, sustained medication regimes; cost-effective, replicable programs; and steady funding are all critical for addressing health disparities.
Ten Years of Chicago’s New Communities Program
A 10-year, $50-million initiative, the New Communities Program supported community organizations in 14 Chicago neighborhoods to convene local partners to carry out varied improvement activities, from safety to education and affordable housing. This report describes NCP’s successes and challenges and the implications of its experience for federal and local community development programs.
The Importance of Evidence
In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.
Policy Engagement and Systems Change in the New Communities Program
This report describes the efforts of four local agencies in a comprehensive community initiative (CCI) in Chicago, exploring their engagement with policy issues to improve their neighborhoods. It considers this CCI’s potential for working more actively to change the larger systems that shape neighborhoods, with implications for CCIs nationwide.