A weekly roundup of articles and information that you won’t want to miss!

Our staff are constantly learning. They scan the field for thought-provoking articles and information on issues affecting the communities we serve. This week, check out the big ideas from the CI Summit in Tornonto, learn about the troubling lending gap between minority and white entrepreneurs and much more. Happy Reading!

Collective Impact

Collective Impact 3.0: Big Ideas from CI Summit in Toronto - By Tom Klaus

Tom Klaus reflects on the October Collective Impact Summit in Toronto and provides five big takeaways. One of his insights includes distinguishing between “context experts” and “content experts.” Context experts are the residents involved with collective impact initiative with lived experiences, and content experts are professionals with tools and resources.

Recommended by Jeff Raderstrong, Program Associate, The Integration Initiative

Racial Equity and Inclusion

We Need to Give More Small Business Loans to Minority Entrepreneurs - By Alexis Stephens, Next City

Jose Garcia and George Soule of the Surdna Foundation talk to Next City about why the lending gap between minority entrepreneurs and white entrepreneurs is so wide and persistent, and what CDFI’s (community development financial institutions) can do to negate that disparity: “Some of the issues have to do with institutional discrimination,” says Garcia, who runs Surdna’s Strong Local Economies program and recently led a discussion about how CDFIs can connect with minority-owned businesses at the Opportunity Finance Network’s annual conference. “[There’s also] a lack of wealth in minority communities — and wealth signifies collateral for lending. But what do these things mean to a CDFI network whose mission is to serve the underserved?”

Recommended by Juan Sebastian Arias, Program Associate, Collective Impact and Nadia Owusu, Assistant Director, Strategic Communications and Storytelling

Capital Innovation

Choosing Social Impact Bonds: A Practitioner’s Guide

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Bridges Ventures issued a new report this week on Social Impact Bonds, called Choosing Social Impact Bonds: A Practitioner’s Guide. This report stands out among the myriad of other Social Impact Bond (SIB) and Pay for Success (PFS) white papers because the authors look globally across all 26 Social Impact Bonds that have closed to date. They looked for shared themes and lessons, and provide real world examples from the actual SIBs to illustrate. The lessons are nicely organized by the intended benefit of the SIB: (1) Focus resources on outcomes, (2) Invest in intervention and preventative services, (3) Stimulate innovation/Have scope to innovative, (4) Grow services, (5) Link financial returns to social outcomes, (6) Catalyze entrepreneurial solutions.

The final section of the report provides checklists for government and donors, service providers, and investors to help them extract full value from the Social Impact Bond. Well worth a quick read but likely to become a regular resources for anyone involved in a SIB.

Recommended by Eileen Neely, Director of Capital Innovation

Employment & Workforce

Urban Onshoring: The Movement to Bring Tech Jobs Back to America - By Issie Lapowsky, Wired

Where I think we often stumble in workforce is trying to prescribe a single scalable solution to a largely diffuse system. The most promising innovations in workforce development training are typically four things: small in scale, industry specific, targeted to the needs of a specific group of job seekers, and highly collaborative ventures between public and private stakeholders. This article from Wired provides a snapshot of efforts in the South Bronx aimed at providing a pathway to employment through highly specialized Quality Assurance technology testing, an in-demand 21st century service that has been traditionally outsourced to offshore markets. The article provides a look into the ingenuity and experimental mindset required if we are serious about exploring new ways of creating jobs that 1) make sense for employers and 2) are accessible to low-income people and/or individuals with entry level skills.

Recommended by Tiffany Ferguson, Program Assistant, Public Sector Innovation


Can Data Officially Link Housing for Ex-Prisoners and Public Safety? - By Christopher Moraff, Next City

The New York Housing Authority has launched a pilot program to better understand how reforming their policies, which currently ban previously incarcerated people from access to public housing for years after release, could support decreased violence. New housing policies could do a great deal of social good since there are proven links between a person’s ability to find stable housing and their risk of returning to prison. This is an exciting move toward reform that could encourage other cities to do the same.

Recommended by Brittany Ramos, Collective Impact Field Builder

Open-Sourcing Social Change

Strength in Storytelling - By Brennen Jensen, The Chronicle of Philanthropy

This article examines how nonprofits are turning to the ancient art of storytelling to drive the wealth of data now at our fingertips to engage, inspire, and motivate our networks into action. States nonprofit consultant and videographer Chris Davenport, “We have been focused on technology because it’s the shiny new object, but now everybody has these tools and they are not so shiny and it comes down to engaging content.”

Recommended by Nadia Owusu, Assistant Director, Strategic Communications and Storytelling