Community Foundation Awards Grants to Measure Poverty Program Effectiveness

October 4, 2017- The Central New York Community Foundation recently awarded $169,999 in grants to help charities serving residents living in poverty with measuring, evaluating and communicating their effectiveness towards change.

In 2016, the poverty rate in Syracuse increased from 31 to 32.1 percent. At the same time, 47 percent of city children under the age of 18 were living below the poverty line. Local community groups are therefore finding themselves faced with an increasing demand for their services as they work to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in an effective and efficient manner.

The Community Foundation’s Performance Management grants are geared toward data measuring, which includes such things as database management and statistical analysis, to help nonprofits track their efforts and look for trends. This in turn assists the organizations in identifying what is working and what’s not, leading to the development of more effective programming and funding competitiveness.

“Performance Management helps organizations with continuous improvement—this translates into first class services for those who live in our communities,” said Frank Ridzi, vice president, community investment at the Community Foundation. “Data can have a profound effect on a nonprofit organization’s ability to share the story of its impact on the community.”

Each organization to receive a Performance Management grant this year will utilize funding to measure how effectively they are accomplishing their missions, which include stabilizing refugee housing, reducing incarceration rates, providing counseling and, ultimately, reducing poverty rates.

One grant recipient, The Good Life Youth Foundation, provides life coaching, financial literacy and entrepreneurial training to at-risk youth. Its goal is to reduce youth incarceration and build financial and business skills that can interrupt the cycle of poverty.  It will be using a $20,000 grant to better utilize metrics in its day-to-day activities so that the organization can scale up for larger contracts.

“This opportunity will help us to track our youth development, interaction and performance to more efficiently reduce recidivism among children and teens living in poverty,” said Hasan Stephens, executive director of Good Life.

All grant recipients are now members of a new learning community that will meet monthly over the course of the next year to hone their data management skills and share their successes and challenges with one another.

The following organizations will be using their Performance Management grants to measure their efforts in reducing poverty:

Center for Community Alternatives received $20,000 to strengthen its programming that aims to reduce incarceration by gathering data for planning, quality assurance and improvement

InterFaith Works of Central New York received $19,956 to identify triggers that contribute to homelessness and work towards stabilizing senior citizen and refugee housing

Syracuse Northeast Community Center received $19,887 to evaluate how its database and crisis matrix tools can effectively measure paths toward client self-sufficiency

The North Side Learning Center received $12,212 to develop a data collection system to analyze how its programming is addressing neighborhood needs

Women’s Opportunity Center received $20,000 to develop a data collection system to evaluate its programming that leads low income women out of poverty by providing them individualized career counseling

YWCA of Syracuse & Onondaga Country received $18,624 to better measure success of its Women’s Residence and Youth Leadership Development programs, which provide women with support to improve their quality of life

Additional grantees include:

Learning Disabilities Association of CNY received $20,000 to measure and evaluate the reading levels of children after participating in its Summer Adventures in Learning program

WCNY TV/24 – Public Broadcasting Council of CNY Syracuse received $19,320 to increase organizational capacity and the ability to demonstrate program outcomes and impact

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $226 million. It awarded $14 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, it has invested nearly $170 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of more than 700 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges.

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