The ability of underserved and disinvested communities to influence the development process and secure widespread economic and social benefits is substantially increased when communities are organized and committed to solving their own problems. Whether the approach is a community change initiative, an issue-specific action or a targeted intervention, the elements of success depend on the strength of the social networks that draw people together, the vision and assessments that shape the strategy, and ongoing community capacity building.
Our community development work focuses innovative and inclusive strategies that help communities and organizations manage the change process, build capacity to influence development and systems, and strengthen ties to regional economic activity. In addition to offering technical expertise in community economic development models, our front-end support involves conducting local assessments, strategic planning, and providing support to partnerships. Our evaluation services includes general evaluation and evaluation planning, systems change evaluation, participatory evaluation, and project monitoring.
Evaluation of Living Cities Integration Initiative Client: Mt. Auburn Associates and Mathematica Policy Research Member of team assembled to evaluate an $80 million, five-city investment in community revitalization strategies and innovations designed to improve access to opportunity for low-income residents in the areas of education, housing, health care, transit, and jobs. The evaluation design is formative and summative and focuses on project- and systems-level outcomes.
Family-Centered Community Change Client: Annie E. Casey Foundation Conducted pre-site selection assessments of 11 sites being considered for newly-created Family-Centered Community Change Initiative, a two-generation approach to poverty alleviation. Assessed collective impact potential and organizational capacity in multiple areas, including adult family economic success, workforce development, housing, early childhood education, civic leadership, and resident engagement. Examined local and regional economic context and made recommendations for site suitability.
Evaluation of Community Revitalization Program Client: Mt. Auburn Associates, Inc. Part of the team assembled to evaluate the Surdna Foundation's Community Revitalization Program, which uses a strong market-weak market framework to advance equitable, environmentally sustainable strategies for low- and moderate-income communities. Assessed weak market strategies, activities, emerging themes and innovations. Examined the impact of Surdna's grantmaking and other investments on the community revitalization field. Designed cross-site learning activities.
Community Economic Development Learning Network Client: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Provided technical assistance to the MacArthur Foundation to development multi-disciplinary learning networks. Developed strategies for convening multiple groups of economic and workforce development researchers, practitioners and policymakers to promote interdisciplinary understanding of, programming in, and feedback about community economic development initiatives in Chicago. Conducted interviews and literature reviews, developed analytic framework and information dissemination options.
Evaluation Evaluations of Community Change Initiatives Clients: Various Worked on various CCIs in multiple capacities, including initiative design, evaluation, technical assistance, best practice documentation, and assessing the economic opportunity and workforce development components. Initiatives includes: Annie E. Casey Foundation's Family-Centered Community Change Initiative; Annie E. Casey Foundation's Making Connections; Edna McConnell Clark Foundation's Neighborhood Progress Initiative; Enterprise Foundation's Community Building in Partnership; Ford Foundation's Neighborhood and Family Initiative; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization; and the Ms. Foundation's Education and Action for Neighborhood and Economic Development.