DEFINING AND MEASURING JUST OUTCOMES IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Urbane Development is a certified minority-owned business enterprise that develops and deploys customized wealth building and equitable community development interventions in underserved communities by cultivating “anchor” institutions and investing in entrepreneurial activities within the communities it serves. In the absence of a standard mechanism for comparing justice outputs across projects or identifying junctures at which justice might be advanced, the organization engaged a team to help develop and apply meaningful key indicators of justice to its work. The team examined different definitions and manifestations of justice, empirically validated methodologies for measuring justice within the community development sector, and performed an intensive literature review. The team synthesized its findings to develop a justice rubric consisting of evaluative questions for Urbane Development’s staff, and created a customizable dashboard for calculating quantifiable justice “scores.”
EXPANDING DEMOCRACY ACCESS IN TEXAS
Mi Familia Vota (My Family Votes) is a leading Latinx civic engagement organization whose mission is to build Latinx political power by expanding the electorate, strengthening local infrastructure, and engaging voters year-round. In Texas, a long state history of voter suppression has led to low voter registration and participation. Mi Familia Vota’s Texas division engaged a team to help expand its capacity to advance a proactive voting rights agenda. The team researched and analyzed electoral access policies, designed a survey to gauge community members’ voter access experience, tracked and evaluated new legislation introduced in Texas, and created a power map of key legislators and committees in the Texas House of Representatives to identify potential allies and opponents. With this information, the team produced a legislative action plan to guide Mi Familia Vota’s mobilization around affirmative and restrictive voting access proposals.
MEASURING CLIMATE RESILIENCE DISPARITIES AMONG VULNERABLE POPULATIONS IN BELIZE CITY
The Belize Association of Planners (BAP) is a nonprofit professional planning organization committed to promoting social justice and sustainability in the natural and built environments. BAP enlisted a team to identify intersectional vulnerabilities between climate change and gender in urban Belize, including aspects of social identity that contribute to heightened climate impacts on women and other marginalized groups. The team created public-facing materials—including policy briefs, short-term pandemic recovery guidance, and an interactive story map highlighting the team’s major research findings—to promote awareness of climate change and the importance of equitable urban planning. The team also created a framework for participatory action research projects for BAP to use to directly engage affected communities.
DEVELOPING AN INCLUSIVE POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
The New York City Civic Engagement Commission (NYC CEC) was established by the 2018 Charter Revision Commission to enhance civic participation in order to strengthen civic trust and democracy in NYC. With the help of the Capstone team, NYC CEC sought to create an inclusive, diverse, and culturally sensitive policy framework for civic life in NYC. The team conducted background research on the state of civic engagement in NYC, analyzed past and present government civic engagement policies and initiatives, and collected information on existing civic engagement policy frameworks. The team determined engagement categories for a quantitative civic engagement index and recommended key indicators of civic engagement, strategies for data collection, and best practices for future outreach.
Liliana Sanchez Montenegro
Affordable Housing Models for the Justice-involved Population
Enterprise Community Partners is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending housing insecurity by investing in affordable housing solutions through public and private partnerships, and scaling these solutions through political advocacy. Nationwide, justice-involved people struggle to find stable, affordable housing and access to the supportive services necessary to successful societal reentry after incarceration. As part of Enterprise’s focus on vulnerable populations, the organization engaged the Capstone team to identify affordable housing models and services that best meet the needs of justice-involved people, and to provide recommendations for housing developers seeking to build for this population. The team interviewed social service providers, mission-oriented housing developers, and justice-involved individuals to identify the greatest challenges to reentry and affordable housing development. Ultimately, the team produced a full literature review and a final report that outlines findings, recommendations, and three sample housing models to help Enterprise and its partners expand affordable housing development for justice-involved people.