Quiroz Becerra is a qualitative researcher who brings her experience conducting ethnographic and action research to her work at MDRC. At MDRC she has been part of the team evaluating the Chicago’s New Communities Program, an innovative community development initiative in 16 neighborhoods in Chicago. She has also been part of a study to assess how microloan programs may alleviate poverty among women, and has contributed to evaluations of conditional cash transfer programs and of workforce-development programs for public housing residents. Victoria completed a PhD in political science at the New School for Social Research. For her dissertation, she conducted ethnographic work to understand how undocumented migrants engage in the civic life of their places of residence. Before coming to MDRC, she conducted research on community-based organizations, migration, domestic violence, and women’s organizing both in the United States and in Latin America.
MDRC PublicationsIssue FocusMay, 2023
Generation Work aims to help more young people—particularly those of color from low-income families—succeed in today’s job market. This Issue Focus highlights promising strategies that the five partnerships implementing the initiative have pursued to foster awareness of racial equity and inclusion among their staff and change organizational practices.Report
The First Five Years of Generation WorkMay, 2023
Unemployment among young people is well above the national average. Among Black young adults, it is even higher. Generation Work aims to address this inequity by improving how local workforce development systems serve this population. This report examines the first five years of the initiative in five cities.Report
36-Month Impacts of the Grameen America ProgramMarch, 2022
Grameen America provides microloans to women living in poverty seeking to launch or expand small businesses. The program resulted in a reduction of material hardship and an increase in credit scores, business ownership, business earnings, and nonretirement savings. It also improved participants’ feelings of overall financial well-being.Report
18-Month Impacts of the Grameen America ProgramSeptember, 2020
Grameen America is a microfinance institution that provides business loans to women in poverty in the United States. Results from a randomized controlled trial show the program increased business ownership and earnings, credit worthiness, and savings, and reduced material hardship among participants, but it did not increase overall net income.Report
Early Impacts of the Grameen America ProgramMarch, 2019
Grameen America provides loans to low-income women who are seeking to start or expand their small businesses. Early results from a random assignment evaluation show that Grameen participants are more likely to operate their own businesses and to establish credit scores and less likely to experience material hardship.Report
Stability and ChangeJanuary, 2019
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.Report
Learning from the Chicago Community Networks StudyNovember, 2017
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.Report
Highlights from the Jobs Plus Pilot Program EvaluationSeptember, 2017
Jobs Plus promotes employment among public housing residents through employment services, rent rule changes that provide incentives to work, and community support for work. Within the first 18 months, all nine public housing agencies in this evaluation had begun structuring their programs, building partnerships, and implementing the model’s core components.Report
Implementation Lessons from San Antonio and the BronxOctober, 2015
Jobs-Plus was designed to raise and sustain the employment and earnings of residents of public housing developments. This report investigates how Jobs-Plus was replicated in more contemporary settings, analyzing the early implementation experiences of a community-based provider in the Bronx, NY, and the San Antonio Housing Authority in Texas.Report
Early Lessons from Family Rewards 2.0October, 2014
This project builds on NYC’s earlier experiment with a conditional cash transfer program to reduce poverty and improve education, health, and employment outcomes. It tests a revised model in the Bronx and Memphis, adding family guidance to modified incentives paid more frequently. Early implementation findings suggest deeper family engagement.Report
Ten Years of Chicago’s New Communities ProgramAugust, 2014
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.
To improve the equity and effectiveness of workforce systems for young adults, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched Generation Work to connect more young adults—especially young people of color from families with low incomes—with meaningful employment by changing the way public and private systems prepare them and support their job search. Partnerships of key...
The Grameen America program uses a group microlending model that was pioneered by the original Grameen Bank program in Bangladesh designed by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus and has since spread throughout the developing world. As in the original model, loans provided in the United States are approved on a group-...Carolyn Hill, M. Victoria Quiroz Becerra, Stephanie Rubino, Samantha Wulfsohn, Gilda Azurdia, Marissa Strassberger
The official poverty rate for the U.S. population is high, at 13.5 percent, and the rate among children is higher still, at 19.7 percent. The body of research examining deep poverty, severe deprivation, and stress associated with poverty in adults has grown steadily with continued interest in recent years; however, qualitative research...James A. Riccio, Cynthia Miller, Nandita Verma, Edith Yang, Jared Smith, Gilda Azurdia, Donna Wharton-Fields, Anne Warren, M. Victoria Quiroz Becerra
Family Rewards was an innovative approach to poverty reduction in the United States that was modeled on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs common in lower- and middle-income countries. The program offered cash assistance to poor families, contingent on their meeting certain criteria related to family health care, children’s education...
Can community-led efforts improve outcomes for residents at the neighborhood level? This is a critical question for policy and practice. For over a decade, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has supported the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC Chicago) to make neighborhoods safer, support young people,...Nandita Verma, James A. Riccio, Donna Wharton-Fields, Betsy L. Tessler, Nikki Ortolani, Jonathan Bigelow, M. Victoria Quiroz Becerra, Edith Yang
Public housing developments are among the most economically challenged neighborhoods in the United States. In fact, many public housing residents face obstacles to employment even beyond those normally experienced by other low-income people. To address this problem, Jobs-Plus was conceived in the mid-1990s by the U.S. Department of Housing and...