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.
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.
Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults
This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance uses strategies found in sector-based employment programs, combined with career coaching after participants are placed into jobs.
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.
An Analysis of the Interaction among Quality-of-Life Indicators from the New Communities Program Evaluation
This paper explores analytic methods that assess the rate at which changes in neighborhood quality of life occur. It looks at correlations among quality indicators over time and the effect of both neighborhood context and conditions beyond the neighborhood, like the Great Recession, identifying which indicators are predictors of others.
Interim Findings from Chicago’s New Communities Program
A 10-year, $47 million MacArthur Foundation initiative, the New Communities Program was developed and is managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago. This interim report focuses on the roll out of this comprehensive neighborhood improvement initiative and its early implementation years, examining community conditions, how local groups worked together, and the more than 700 projects supported through 2008.