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The Finance Project

  is a specialized non-profit research, consulting, technical assistance and training firm for public and private sector leaders nationwide.  We help leaders make smart investment decisions, develop sound financing strategies, and build solid partnerships that benefit children, families and communities.

Selected Highlights of 2014:

  • Completed a study of the cost of an adequate education for pre-K through 12 students in the District of Columbia, at the request of the Deputy Mayor of Education.
  • Provided technical assistance to eight exemplar states, on behalf of the ARCH National Lifespan Respite Network and Resource Center, to prepare sustainability plans for their lifespan respite care networks. As a result, all eight were successful in winning federal Administration on Aging funding for FY 2015-2018.
  • Conducted a comprehensive study of the costs and financing of charter schools in New Orleans.
  • Assisted the Montgomery County, MD Collaboration Council in developing a strategic financing plan to sustain and grow the Excel Beyond the Bell afterschool initiative.
We wish all our friends and colleagues a happy holiday season, and we look forward to working with you in 2015.

Measuring Social Return on Investment

In the current constrained fiscal environment, it is more important than ever to ensure that reliable information is available for informed decision making and investment. Independent grant-making foundations, individual donors and public officials are the primary sources of growth capital to sustain and scale up promising social programs and education reform initiatives. But they need more information about the effectiveness and return on investment of various approaches to support sound growth planning. They want to know the value of social outcomes attributable to social programs and education reform initiatives and be able to express that value in monetary terms, which are easy to understand and communicate.

With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and in partnership with the Children’s Aid Society of New York, The Finance Project staff conducted a path-breaking analysis of the economic value of social outcomes attributable to community schools. This study produced two significant publications that are available in hardcopy by contacting us at info@financeproject.org or for download at financeproject.org.

Thumbnail of publication coverMeasuring Social Return on Investment for Community Schools: A Practical Guide. Social return on investment (SROI) analysis offers a practical and innovative approach for measuring and communicating the value of outcomes achieved by programs that provide social, health, and educational services to children and their families. This guide highlights the key steps in conducting SROI research, issues in data-gathering and analysis, as well as lessons learned from a case study of two New York City community schools. The guide also helps educators and community leaders understand how to develop, present and use SROI findings to make a strong case for investments to sustain and scale up these promising education reform initiatives..

Thumbnail of publication coverMeasuring Social Return on Investment for Community Schools: A Case Study. This case study documents the process of applying social return on investment (SROI) analysis to measure the economic value of two community schools operated by The Children's Aid Society, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, "one of the city's poorest neighborhoods" - PS 5 and Salomé Urena. The case study details each step of the data-gathering and measurement process and provides convincing evidence of the value of outcomes for students, families, and school communities.

DC Education Adequacy Study

The Finance Project (TFP), At the request of the Deputy Mayor for Education, the District of Columbia Government contracted with The Finance Project (TFP) to undertake a rigorous study of the costs of providing an "adequate" pre-K through 12 education to all students in DC's traditional public schools and public charter schools. Over a 12-month period, The Finance Project staff, in partnership with Augenblick, Palaich and Associates (APA), a Denver-based education research firm, achieved the following outcomes:

1. Developed a data-driven estimate of the cost of an "adequate" pre-K through 12 education in the District of Columbia;

2. Recommended changes to the structure and level of foundation funding in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF), as well as the weightings for students with special learning needs that require services which entail additional costs;

3. Recommended changes to the way in which capital investments, maintenance, utilities and custodial services for school buildings and facilities are financed and managed; and

4. Developed guidance for updating the study's basic elements on a continuing periodic basis.

Using a blend of Professional Judgment Panel and Successful Schools Study methods for analyzing the costs of an adequate education, the TFP/APA study team will examine the cost of resources required for public schools and public charter schools to meet DC academic standards, including the Common Core State Standards, once they are implemented.

Thumbnail of publication coverSharing Risks and Returns: Social Impact Investment to Scale Up Effective Programs. This brief aims to help policymakers, community leaders, private investors, and other stakeholders understand what is known about the opportunities and conditions for success in designing and implementing incentive-based financing strategies to take innovative evidence-based social solutions to scale. It describes the design and implementation of three broad types of innovative financing strategies that make funding contingent on specific benchmarks for success. The brief also includes examples of how state and local leaders are designing and implementing these financing strategies to respond to demands for improved outcomes. It offers considerations for stakeholders to address when determining whether, and how, these strategies could work for a community or state seeking to link funding to achievable outcomes.

Sustainability Planning Workbook
This workbook is the foundation for our training and technical assistance services and helps users clarify their vision, identify key issues in sustaining their work, and develop strategies to achieve their long-term financing goals.


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