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White House, Federal Agencies Invest in Pay for Success Initiatives

A recent blog post from the White House describes some of the ways that the Administration and other federal agencies are beginning to invest in so-called Pay for Success initiatives. Under the Pay for Success model, governments partner with philanthropic and private investors who fund innovative projects with up-front capital that the government later reimburses if predetermined measurable outcomes are met. With this model, government funding is not invested in programming that does not achieve results; but rather in organizations that do achieve successful, measurable outcomes reducing families’ and individuals’ need for future services.
 
Among the examples of Pay for Success initiatives taking root in the federal government are: HUD’s recently announced $5 billion in Hurricane Sandy infrastructure rebuilding, the Department of Labor’s $25 million grant program to improve employability and reduce recidivism among ex-offender populations in New York and Massachusetts, and the Treasury Department’s recently issued Request for Information (RFI) to design a $300 million Incentive Fund to expand Pay for Success initiatives.  Some of these initiatives are part of the proposed $500 million investment in Pay for Success included in the President’s FY2014 budget.
 
If you want to learn more about the federal government’s impending investments in Pay for Success, check out the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, part of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Civic Engagement Fellowship Program Now Accepting Applications

The Alliance for Children and Families is now accepting applications for its fourth cohort of New Voices Civic Engagement Fellows to be selected in January, 2014. The fellowship is designed to recognize and fuel the leadership of individuals who are involved in civic engagement work at the local and regional level. Selected fellowship projects are designed to embolden staff and community leaders, while simultaneously building the civic engagement capacity of the human service sector.
 
Successful applicants will receive $8,000 to implement a civic engagement project at their sponsoring organization. The 2014 New Voices Civic Engagement Fellows will implement a self-designed action plan for boosting community advocacy, convene with the cohort four times during the year, participate in a two-and-a-half-day cohort gathering, and organize and host one civic engagement training opportunity for Alliance members.
 
Applications are accepted now through December 13, 2013, and are open to individuals connected to Alliance for Children and Families and United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA) member organizations. Individuals can be staff, volunteers, partners, or have some other connection. If you or someone you know is a budding civic engagement leader, consider this opportunity to increase engagement and advocacy in your community. Apply now!

Early Learning Bills Introduced in the House and the Senate

The following post was written by Monica Bandy, education policy analyst for the Alliance for Children and Families Public Policy Office. She is a graduate student and a former Head Start teacher, who has been closely monitoring proposed early childhood education reform.
 
On Wednesday November 13th Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Representatives Miller (D-CA) and Hanna (R-NY) introduced companion early learning bills in the Senate and House, respectively. The bills propose exciting new investments in early childhood education. A summary of the contents of the bills is available online. The Alliance for Children and Families’ Early Childhood Education Leadership Board is especially excited about this new development.
 
Now is a crucial time to raise our voices in support of early learning investments! Below are some ways we can help:
 
1. On November 19th a letter urging members of the Budget Conference committee to prioritize early learning investments will be circulated. If you have any state legislators who are interested in supporting the bill please email Monica Bandy by Monday November 18th.
 
2. Show your organization's support for the bills by entering your organization name to this sign-on letter.
 
3. You can also ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor the bill.
 
We want to give a special thanks to our Early Childhood Education Leadership Board for all of their advocacy efforts over the past few months!

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HUD Releases “An Early Look at Choice Neighborhoods”

Collaborative, place-based planning for neighborhood revitalization in areas of concentrated poverty is certainly a common-sense idea with a lot of intuitive appeal. But what do the data say? The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is trying to examine just that with an ongoing, systemic evaluation of the Choice Neighborhoods program. Piloted in 2010, Choice Neighborhoods is HUD’s piece of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a federal effort to implement integrative, cross-agency, place-based policy solutions for communities blighted by long-term concentrated poverty.
 
A new interim report, entitled An Early Look at Choice Neighborhoods, takes a qualitative and quantitative approach to monitoring the impacts of Choice Neighborhoods on five of the original implementation sites. The report includes a baseline measurement of community characteristics such as housing stock, demographics, poverty, unemployment, and violent crime in the five neighborhoods. This helpful baseline will be used to assess the impacts of Choice Neighborhoods.
 
The quality and thoroughness of the report is a promising sign for just how seriously HUD is taking the budding Choice Neighborhoods initiative. Ongoing monitoring will help to identify any problems at an early and hopefully minor stage. It also signals the interest in sustaining the impacts of the program long beyond the grant terms. Hopefully, the seriousness with which HUD and the Choice Neighborhood teams are treating the demonstration of impact is a sign of a sea change in community development policy; moving away from a quick-fix mentality informed by the latest ideology and toward holistic, long-term commitments better informed by the unique needs of neighborhoods.

Upcoming Webinar on Increasing Resident Engagement

Increasing resident engagement is key to improving the impact and sustainability of community development programming. Social Solutions, a company committed to helping non-profits measure the outcomes of their efforts, is sponsoring a FREE webinar taking place on Thursday, November 7. The webinar will include a panel of public and non-profit human service providers discussing programs launched in their communities that have leveraged increased resident engagement to create better community development outcomes.
 
Panelists will include UNCA member agency INPEACE’s CEO, Kanoe Naone, and Alliance for Children and Families’ Director of Evaluation and Research, Laura Pinsoneault. Also represented on the panel will be staff from Social Solutions and Congreso de Latinos Unidos. Registration is FREE and open to all. Sign up now to learn about the value of resident engagement in improving outcomes!

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by Dr. Radut