The greatest hope of people working in the social sector is to make a positive, long-term impact. However, current funding systems incentivize a short-term focus on “outputs” – like the number of students in a school instead of how many of them graduate from college and find meaningful employment.
What Matters: Investing in Results to Build Strong, Vibrant Communities, a new book that is a project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Nonprofit Finance Fund, explores different aspects of measuring community development models and projects and examines the principles of impact investing as a potential means to enable enduring change.
Carol Naughton, President of Purpose Built Communities, authored a chapter titled, “An Outcomes-based Approach to Concentrated Poverty.” The chapter discusses examples of the cradle-to-college education pipeline, mixed-income housing and community health and wellness initiatives in neighborhoods across the country, and asks questions to influence innovative thinking about how to fund permanent solutions to poverty.
According to Naughton, “Although the idea of selling a solution to concentrated poverty is alluring, the genius is in the details, all of which still need to be fleshed out. Before taking this idea to market, we will want to better understand any additional data that need to be collected and determine if a neighborhood intervention strategy can reach the scale necessary to make this kind of investment worthwhile for a buyer of better community outcomes.”