Center for the Study of Social Policy - 40 Years of Innovation
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Neighborhood Investment

For more than a decade, CSSP has helped communities make the decisions and investments needed to improve the lives and opportunities of children and families living in some of the country’s toughest neighborhoods. These neighborhoods often face significant challenges, such as high poverty rates, low employment, housing instability and low-performing schools. That’s why CSSP’s technical assistance strategy emphasizes both a rigorous pursuit of clearly-defined results and building community infrastructure and capacity to sustain those results at a meaningful scale long-term.  

CSSP’s results-based technical assistance helps people and organizations work together to change policies, programs and investments.  It provides partners at the local and state level access to the ideas, people, skills and tools they need to create opportunities for all families.  It also allows groups to work smarter and faster and with more partners and helps people learn while doing. Effective strategies, additional resources and more informed and thoughtful work result from this kind of technical assistance. 

Highlights of CSSP’s technical assistance work include:

  • Making Connections Technical Assistance.  From 1999 to 2009, CSSP worked with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to develop and manage the technical assistance strategy for Making Connections -- a decade-long initiative to improve outcomes for vulnerable children in tough communities by connecting families to economic opportunity, positive social networks and effective services. CSSP’s technical assistance helped local and state partners in places like Providence, Rhode Island and Oakland, California to  build capacity to advance a two-generation attack on poverty – assuring that children are healthy and prepared to read proficiently by third grade, and helping parents work, earn and save to achieve economic self-sufficiency.  The work with Making Connections helped CSSP refine and advance its results-oriented approach to technical assistance.
  • “Lessons Learned.” To inform the next generation of federal, state, local and philanthropic investments, CSSP is developing a series of “Lessons Learned” products and tools from our Making Connections work. This effort is designed to help state and federal policymakers seeking proven community-based strategies that maximize scarce resources.
  • Financing Community Change. CSSP helps communities and local leaders understand, access and secure the array of public, private and nonprofit sector resources needed to achieve better long-term outcomes for vulnerable children and families. This includes sharp assessment of new and current federal funding streams that can help communities expand and sustain effective work.
  • Supporting Promise Neighborhoods.  CSSP is working to ensure that the federal Promise Neighborhood Initiative is informed by the lessons of Making Connections on what it takes to create real change for families and communities. Through the Promise Neighborhoods Institute, CSSP, in partnership with PolicyLink and the Harlem Children’s Zone, is helping to build a community of practice and resource center for policymakers, funders and practitioners in the community change field.
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