January 2012

Data and Measurement - Volume 24, Issue 1

This issue of Community Investments focuses on the topic of data and measurement and its implications for community development. The articles provide an introduction to the basic concepts and challenges related to impact measurement in the field, and also explore more in-depth issues, such as the impact tensions that arise in place-based initiatives and the use of a logic model for CDFIs to conceptualize their impact. We also examine Social Impact Bonds, a new investment vehicle that reflects an important movement in the impact investing sector toward robust measurement of social progress. Our “Eye on Community Development” section features articles on new research findings from the Supplemental Poverty Measure and a new REO EQ2 lending program that meets the needs of nonprofits utilizing NSP funds for local neighborhood stabilization.

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or the Federal Reserve System. Material herein may be reprinted or abstracted provided Community Investments is credited. Please provide our Community Development Department with a copy of any publication in which material is reprinted.

Read the full issue (pdf, 1.76 mb)

Table of Contents

CI Notebook

Peter Drucker, the famous management expert, is often quoted as saying, “What gets measured gets done.” Over the years, this adage has taken on different forms, including “What gets measured gets managed,” and “What gets measured gets funded.”

Doing the Math: The Challenges and Opportunities of Measuring Results in Community Development

Measuring the changes that flow from various community development interventions is challenging, but critical to improving our understanding of what works in the field.

Advancing Social Impact Measurement to Build an Asset Class: The Appeal of Social Impact Bonds

Social Impact Bonds represent a new investment vehicle that can advance social impact measurement and attract new sources of funding for critical community development services.

Tensions and Opportunities in Evaluating Place-based Interventions

A review of some of the tensions that arise from comprehensive community initiatives and the opportunities they present for strengthening evaluative practices.

CDFIs as Catalysts for Improving Social Outcomes

This article discusses how CDFIs can use a logic model to effectively communicate their role as catalysts for improving social outcomes in underserved communities.

Community Perspectives: Designing Responsive Community Development Investments

Learn about the REO EQ2, which provides long-term, low-cost capital to non-profits who received NSP contracts to leverage their REO rehab work.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure

The Census Bureau recently released findings on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, an alternative approach for estimating the prevalence of poverty in the United States.

Data Snapshot: Poverty

In November of 2011, the Census Bureau released new research findings on the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), an alternative approach for estimating the prevalence of poverty in the United States.

Doctor CRA

I couldn’t make it out to Seattle this year for the National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference, but my fellow CRA officers told me there were some great CRA training sessions. I want to make sure our CRA activities are top-notch this year. Can you share some of the key highlights from the conference and let me know how can I get caught up on what I missed?

Research Briefs

Research briefs on income inequality and the academic achievement gap and immigrants and the U.S. safety net.