A new way of thinking-- measuring outcomes to build and finance healthy communities

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Nonprofit Finance Fund have just launched their new book, “What Matters: Investing in Results to Build Strong, Vibrant Communities.” With a foreword by former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, this pathbreaking book is a compilation of essays that explores what it takes to reorient social programs and funding to achieve desired outcomes. The traditional focus for funding has been on activities and outputs, but, the authors argue, this model no longer works. Measuring and accounting for the benefits of investment will yield far better results in building healthy communities and satisfying investors and other stakeholders. Achieving this shift in focus is not easy and requires collaboration among the social, business and public sectors. But that shift clearly is gaining momentum across sectors and across the country.

Maggie Super Church, CLF Ventures, has a chapter in this book: Investing in Health From the Ground Up – Building a Market for Healthy Neighborhoods, in which she states that, “In this growing and dynamic market, there is clearly enormous opportunity to drive investment toward interventions that improve population health.” She poses the question: “why it is so difficult to finance the development of healthy communities when the benefits to people, communities, and the economy are so profound?" Read her chapter and find out why.

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