Jeremiah Cuts Ribbon in Austin, TX

 

Jeremiah Program and its partner, Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation (GNDC), welcomed families into newly constructed duplexes in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, September 19, 2013. Four young women from Jeremiah Program and their children will live in half of the duplexes, with GNDC residents occupying the other four. This is phase 1 of the project for Jeremiah Program. The duplexes are located in Guadalupe-Saldaña Net-Zero Subdivision, a former unregistered dumpsite and brownfield in East Austin.

The four young women moving into the duplexes have already begun Life Skills training with Jeremiah Program this past summer. Their children will be enrolled in high-quality early childhood education at Open Door Preschool. The young women will continue weekly Life Skills classes as well as complete personal empowerment training in early 2014. Jeremiah’s educational partner is Austin Community College, where young women are pursuing career-track post-secondary education.

Austin has one of the fastest-growing populations of homeless mothers in the nation, with 15,000 single-parent homes with more than 56,000 children living in poverty. “The numbers may seem staggering, but we know this: together it is indeed possible to change young women’s lives for their children’s futures,” says Shannon Moody, Jeremiah’s executive director in Austin. “It takes determination and collaboration. We are so grateful for the partners who have made this first phase possible.”

Construction of the main Jeremiah campus building, phase 2, will begin in late 2014, with families moving in toward the end of 2015. At 47,000 square feet, the Jeremiah Program campus building will include 35 two-bedroom apartments, ample communal space, support staff offices, and an accredited child development center designed to serve 55-60 children.

A Community Conversation About Expanding Model Nationally

The National Board of Directors of Jeremiah Program hosted a community conversation on September 12, to discuss the future of the organization’s two-generational model on a national level. More than 100 attendees gathered to participate in table discussions and to hear from a panel about the need for and successful outcomes of Jeremiah’s approach. KSTP-TV News anchor Leah McLean moderated the discussion, which kicked off with a compelling presentation from Angel Jennings, a 2010 Jeremiah Program graduate.

Angel began her talk with these words: “Jeremiah is not a nonprofit organization; it’s a community.” She told of her struggles prior to entering the program and of her determination to succeed. In particular, she said that when she learned — in a Jeremiah Life Skills class — about the pervasive achievement gap for children of color, she declared, “My children will not be a part of that!”

The dependability, focus and commitment Angel developed in her time at Jeremiah has paid off, said panelist Anne Krocak, Angel’s supervisor at AchieveMpls. “Angel is one of the most coachable, willing and accomplished employees we have,” Krocack said.

Phil Davis, president of Minneapolis Community & Technical College, one of Jeremiah’s long-time educational partners, talked about the increasing need to support non-traditional students like Angel, and Henry Wilde, co-founder of Acelero Learning and a Jeremiah Program national board member, emphasized the pressing need for holistic programs like Jeremiah.

Gloria Perez, President & CEO of Jeremiah Program, closed the event with a reminder that 18 million children in America are living in poverty with a single mother. Jeremiah receives calls weekly from communities across the country to talk about how to break the cycle of poverty for these young women. “As the organization prepares to open the first phase of a campus in Austin, TX, and to move forward with a campus in Fargo-Moorhead, we are grateful to Angel and the panelists for bringing to life the essence of our work,” Perez said. “As we share our two-generation strategy across the country, it is women like Angel who inspire us to make this program a reality in new communities.”

Alison Balan and Caroline Correia co-chaired the Community Conversation. Correia noted, “There are so many non-profits doing important work, but there are very, very few that have the measurable results that lead to a replicable national model. That is what is so exciting about Jeremiah Program.”

An independent return on investment analysis of Jeremiah Program, recently conducted by Wilder Research, is available here.

Wilder Research Calculates Jeremiah’s Return on Investment

Wilder Research has released a report analyzing the social return on investment (ROI) of Jeremiah Program, finding significant positive economic value for participants, private funders, taxpayers, and society as a whole. The ROI is the comparison of the economic value of the outcomes of the program to the actual investment in the program.

Researchers Jose Diaz and Gabriel Piña, who conducted the study, noted the groundbreaking nature of this ROI study as this type of research is rare among organizations with complex programming and services. Jeremiah Program commissioned Wilder to conduct the analysis; Target Foundation provided funding.

Key Findings

  • Every $1 invested in a Jeremiah family can return $4 to society, depending upon graduation rates. This compares favorably to supportive housing ROI studies in Minnesota showing a return of $1.32 per $1 invested.
  • With every 100 Jeremiah Program graduates, society receives net benefits of at least $16 million over the course of the graduates’ lifetimes.
  • Jeremiah’s approach registers benefits for both first and second generations:
    • First-generation benefits: Increased lifetime earnings as a result of additional post-secondary education; Increased taxes paid by participants; Savings to taxpayers due to reduced use of public assistance
    • Second-generation benefits: Savings from reduced use of special education; Increased lifetime earnings; Increased taxes paid; Savings from crime reduction
  • Private funders’ investment in Jeremiah families generates a return ranging from $4 to $6 for every $1 invested, depending upon graduation rates.
  • Additional benefits not included in the ROI calculation include reduced health care and emergency room costs; empowerment training provided to non-Jeremiah families; contributions both generations make as volunteers after leaving Jeremiah; continued development of children who remain in the child development centers after mothers leave the program; and reduced use of public assistance by the second generation.