Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Community-based programs have been effective over the years in stabilizing the lives of vulnerable individuals and families. These organizations increasingly recognize the importance of programs targeting asset building as part of a longer-term approach to addressing poverty. Engaging in development of pilot programs and evaluations of program effectiveness aid in the development of innovative new approaches to asset building.
Through evaluation, applied research, and technical assistance, the Institute promotes the capacities, resources, and leadership of community-based programs and nonprofit partnerships that seek to advance asset formation services. IASP's efforts assist programs in scaling up these efforts across communities, states, and regions. The Institute's recent partners include:
- Compass Working Capital
- Paul & Phyllis Fireman Foundation
- Massachusetts Association for Community Action, Inc. (MASSCAP)
- Partnership for College Completion
Compass Working Capital, a small innovative CBO, was selected for funding by Strategic Grant Partners of Boston, MA, to implement an experimental asset-building approach to the HUD Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program for recipients of housing vouchers in Lynn, MA. IASP is developing and implementing the process and outcome evaluations and the preliminary cost/benefit analysis for this pilot FSS program. The multi-year evaluation focuses on how families use this opportunity to move toward economic stability, positive impacts sustained after program graduation, and the cost-effectiveness of taking the program to scale.
Compass Financial Stability and Savings Program Pilot Evaluation, Year 1, November 2011
Compass Financial Stability and Savings Program Pilot Evaluation, Year 2, April 2013
IASP was selected to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Secure Jobs Initiative, focusing on the implementation of this pilot and short-term participant outcomes. Data sources include stakeholder interviews; program observations; program-related documents (training curricula, assessment forms, etc.); monthly survey data on program implementation; and quantitative data on the entire participant population including both demographics and detailed income and employment information. IASP's report, "Secure Jobs, Secure Homes, Secure Families Process Evaluation of the Massachusetts Secure Jobs Pilot" focuses on the findings related to program implementation during the first nine months of the pilot. A second report will be released that will focus on participant housing and employment outcomes during the first year of the Initiative.
IASP has teamed up with MASSCAP to expand asset formation opportunities for low-income families across Massachusetts. The MASSCAP Asset Formation Initiative’s strategy is to expand free tax preparation assistance, financial literacy education, and other asset formation services for low-income people through its statewide network of community action agencies and other partners. The Institute has provided training for agency staff and is designing and implementing assessment processes at ten pilot sites that will provide ongoing feedback in the implementation phase and be used to report outcomes as the project progresses. Lessons learned from these assessments will aid MASSCAP in scaling up and replicating successful asset formation practices in the 24 community action agencies across the state. (See the most recent report, VITA – More than Tax Prep, July 2010.)
IASP and the Heller School’s Center for Youth and Communities are conducting a process evaluation and providing recommendations for a long-term evaluation of the Partnership for College Completion Pilot Initiative, an effort to increase college attendance and graduation rates among low-income and minority youth. Jointly sponsored by United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), and KIPP Charter Schools, the pilot initiative combines college awareness and financial literacy education with establishment of college savings accounts and access to scholarships for middle and high school students in KIPP schools in four cities.