Children's Medical Center, Dallas' oldest and most recognized children's hospital, engaged the Institute to provide research, facilitation, and interpretation for its annual Beyond ABC report on the quality of life for area children. We assisted in the design and development of Beyond ABC's first ever five-county report covering Collin, Denton, Cooke, Fannin, and Grayson counties. The Institute's research services for Children's now include regular updates to more than 50 indicators of childhood well-being for six North Texas counties, including Dallas County.
As their research partner, the Institute provides evaluation of progress toward the community-wide goals in the areas of education, income, and health. We also work closely with the Community Impact staff to provide enhancements to the grant making process through facilitation and program design services that help the United Way realize their goals. We provide data assistance from a local perspective to the Dallas County Home Visiting Project, funded through Texas HHSC in partnership with the UCLA Center for Healthier Children. We have assisted the United Way in the establishment of a regional workforce partnership through policy briefs and survey design and implementation.
The Institute was approached by the North Texas Food Bank to assist them in framing their next strategic planning wave, which focused on the "last mile," a term in the food industry for the hyper-local experience of putting food in the hands of those who need it. Working with a team from the Food Bank, the Institute created a North Texas Food Security Index that was designed to five a neighborhood-by-neighborhood estimate of hunger that would help the Food Bank better target their services.
Working with a variety of data sources, the Institute developed a visual and quantitative report that analyzed potential expansion neighborhoods for KERA's Healthy Families Initiative, which KERA presented to its project funder. The Institute has provided facilitation, analysis and evaluation of the American Graduate Initiative, which focuses on ways to keep kids on the path to graduation. The Institute brought together a variety of different organizations, experts, stakeholders, and community members to brainstorm strategies that would boost high school graduation rates and support the creation of future programming for the American Graduate Initiative. KERA has engaged the Institute to collect information about the attitudes, opinions, and reactions of individuals who will be attending or watching the upcoming gubernatorial debate.
In 2008 the Institute began a long partnership with what would soon become known as the Promising Youth Alliance. Promising Youth Alliance is a collaboration among Phoenix House, Boys and Girls clubs, and Big Brothers Big Sisters that provides a continuum of services for children in need at locations across the city of Dallas. The Institute provided consultation assistance during the organization formation and launch, and now currently the Institute provides evaluation of PYA's after school programming. The Institute has expanded the evaluation effort as the program has expanded, including the addition of a quasi-experimental design that will allow for a more robust evaluation.
The Dallas Morning News engaged the Institute as their data, analysis, and visualization partner for their North-South Gap initiative, which sought to illuminate disparities between Dallas' northern and southern sectors. Working with dozens of disparate data sources, the Institute developed a virtual data system with hundreds of indicators for each of the News’ identified neighborhoods. The Institute engaged in cutting edge qualitative research to capture the look and feel of the neighborhood conditions, and developed visualizations that conveyed the baseline information for the News' work. Much of the research data, combined with the editorial work of the News, was showcased in a 2010 eight page section of the Sunday paper, for which members of the editorial team were awarded the coveted Pulitzer Prize.
The Citi Community Leadership Initiative, funded by Citi Foundation in 2011 was a planning grant to explore how universities can support the sustainability and viability of nonprofit organizations that work specifically with low- to moderate income families. Our work on this project included convening a steering committee of non-profits from the Southern sector of Dallas, piloting four experiences to marry university infrastructure, faculty, staff, and students with nonprofits, and creating a toolkit. Through work with the Institute, the steering committee identified seven programmatic areas that are critical to the sustainability of nonprofits: leadership development, fundraising, public relations, research assistance, budgeting for specific outcomes, organizational auditing, and corporate record keeping.