Social IMPACT Research Center Publications

The Social IMPACT Research Center has an extensive portfolio of needs assessment and evaluation research on issues facing poor and low-income populations. Our user-friendly work equips nonprofits, foundations, and governments to advance real-world solutions to poverty.
Clear all

10 results found

reorder grid_view

Building Brighter Futures: Children's Savings Accounts in Illinois

August 22, 2017

In 2009, the Illinois General Assembly created a bipartisan task force to explore a CSA program in the state. The task force recommended that a savings account should be opened automatically at birth for every child born in Illinois, using the Bright Start Direct College Savings Program as the savings vehicle.This report examines what it will take to make these recommendations a reality. To better understand the Bright Start program and how to make it an effective savings tool for all families, we look at how Illinoisans are currently using Bright Start, and explore the challenges low-income families and families of color face in using Bright Start to save for college. We also examine how a CSA program could impact the racial wealth gap in Illinois. Finally, we make policy recommendations for the design and implementation of a CSA program to help Illinois families save for higher education.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Poverty

Michigan Earn and Learn: An Outcome & Implementation Evaluation of a Transitional Job and Training Program

April 30, 2014

While the Great Recession introduced unemployment and underemployment to the masses, its significant negative trends aggravated already declining rates of employment in Michigan, particularly among less-educated, young, male, and minority individuals, who were then also hit hardest by the recession. As the nation began to slowly recover after the recession, Michigan continued struggling to find an economic foothold.The State of Michigan, along with private funders, responded with the Michigan Earn and Learn program, with the goal of creating opportunities for people facing barriers to employment to pursue education and occupational training that could help them get ahead. This evaluation report of the Michigan Earn and Learn transitional jobs program was commissioned by The Joyce Foundation on behalf of the State of Michigan.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Employment; Safety Net & Human Services

Life After Youth Media: Insights about Program Influence into Adulthood

April 29, 2014

* Do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors imparted in youth programs "stick" into adulthood?* If they do, how do they manifest in career, education, and life decisions?* How do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that youth programs try to impart differ based on program intensity or levels of engagement?* Do these elements look different for people who went through youth media programs versus people who went through other types of youth programs?These are common questions that youth program providers, funders, public officials, and other leading thinkers regularly wrestle with. This report tells the story of a group in Chicago committed to providing quality youth media programming in the city and how, through a collective evaluation, they were able to begin to answer these critical questions.

Education

Life After Youth Media: Insights about Program Influence into Adulthood, Executive Summary

April 29, 2014

Do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors imparted in youth programs "stick" into adulthood?If they do, how do they manifest in career, education, and life decisions?How do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that youth programs try to impart differ based on program intensity or levels of engagement?Do these elements look different for people who went through youth media programs versus people who went through other types of youth programs?These are common questions that youth program providers, funders, public officials, and other leading thinkers regularly wrestle with. This report, funded by The Robert. R. McCormick Foundation, tells the story of a group in Chicago committed to providing quality youth media programming in the city and how, through a collective evaluation, they were able to begin to answer these critical questions.

Education

Trapped by Credit: Racial Disparities in Financial Well-Being and Opportunity in Illinois

February 24, 2014

This report examines an important aspect of economic racial disparity -- disparity in credit scores. The relationship between credit scores and minority presence illustrates a clear racial disparity in credit in Illinois. Though many related factors help to explain some variability in credit scores, even when controlling for them, racial differences in credit persist.Having a credit score is important for gaining access to things like education, better jobs, homeownership -- the very things that feed financial and social opportunity. While credit disparities exist in large measure due to the same historic policies that have limited access to broader financial opportunities for minorities, credit scores are particularly important to consider because they also impact individuals' future financial opportunities.In effect, credit scores can create a trap, one that minorities are more likely to fall into, thereby feeding the continued growth of income and wealth disparities.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Housing & Homelessness

The Game of Credit: A High Stakes Game That Perpetuates the Racial Wealth Gap

February 24, 2014

Everyone deserves the opportunity to build a financially secure future for themselves and their families. Access to equal opportunities is the cornerstone of America's core values and is also a necessity to growing a healthy economy. Unfortunately, the reality is a far shot from that piece of the American dream. Income and wealth inequality are at levels that we have not seen since the Great Depression. The Great Recession further expanded an already growing racial wealth gap. Many families have little hope of upward mobility. In fact, day-to-day life is more expensive for those struggling to make ends meet due to unequal access to the tools we all need to build financially secure futures. This includes a basic checking & savings account, a retirement savings account, a college savings account, home and student loans with low interest rates, and a solid credit score that gives you access to these important loans. Many households of color have been denied access to these crucial financial tools needed to build credit and put them on a path to financial health. As this report will show, this inequity has led to a stark racial disparity in credit scores as well as related indicators, such as education level, student loan debt, employment, income, homeownership, and home loan debt. Fortunately, there are programs and policies that can help close the gap and therefore strengthen the economy, which are also outlined in this report.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Employment; Housing & Homelessness; Poverty

Poverty Matters: It's Now 50/50, Chicago Region Poverty Growth is a Suburban Story

September 5, 2013

Nationwide, the number of people in poverty in the suburbs has now surpassed the number of people in poverty in central cities. Cities have long been thought to be home to the most and worst poverty. However, in the past several decades, the suburbs have experienced the greatest growth in poverty. In this brief, the Social IMPACT Research Center examines the distribution of poverty in Chicago and the suburbs over two decades. The findings suggest that from 1990 to 2011, poverty grew much more in the suburbs than in Chicago, and consequently, poverty became more equally distributed between Chicago and the suburbs.

Education; Employment; Poverty; Safety Net & Human Services

Student Family Support Services Initiative: Final Evaluation Report

November 1, 2012

The Student Family Support Services Initiative (SFSI) provided intensive case management and housing assistance to families with children who were identified as residing in "doubled-up" living situations (e.g. living with relatives or friends because they had lost stable housing but were not yet in homeless shelters or cycled out of shelters) and considered at risk of becoming homeless by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in 2009 and 2010. The program offered case management, housing assistance, and a menu of services that families might need to stabilize in housing including therapeutic services, employment services, and asset building. The theory of change was that addressing a family's primary housing and employment needs would positively impact the educational stability and achievement of students, while at the same time benefiting the family overall. This report, prepared by the Social IMPACT Research Center, presents a final evaluation of the initiative.

Education; Housing & Homelessness

Every Child, Every School: Lessons from Chicago's Partnership for Instructional Leadership

October 1, 2011

Too many students in Chicago Public Schools are performing below -- often far below -- grade level. Ideally, all students should be increasing their subject matter knowledge and critical thinking skills over time. In September 2008 a three-year initiative, the Partnership for Instructional Leadership, was created to help a group of neighborhood elementary schools in Chicago Public Schools Area 4, on the city's Northwest Side, build the internal capacity to improve school achievement for all students at all grade levels, including Pre-K and English Language Learners.**Over the course of three years, the Partnership was implemented in 11 elementary schools -- six for the full three years with five more schools joining in the third year. This report summarized significant outcomes and learnings from the Partnership experience.

Education

Illinois Youth - Ready for Life? Illinois Youth Share their Perspective on Challenges and Opportunities as They Make the Transition from Childhood to Adulthood

July 30, 2007

Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders and decision makers. They are the future teachers, business owners, parents, and community members of our state. As youth make the important and often difficult transition from childhood to adulthood, families, communities, and the state provide critical opportunities and supports. Investments made in youth today through programs, services, and other opportunities are a wise contribution to Illinois' collective future. In order to ensure that all young people in Illinois are ready for life, Illinois policymakers, parents, and other adult leaders must work intentionally and collaboratively to devise a comprehensive youth development strategy.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Employment; Poverty

Showing 10 of 10 results

arrow_upward