Public/Private Ventures (P/PV)

Legacy Collection

Innovation. Research. Action.

After almost 35 years Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) has ceased operations. The organization leaves behind an incredible legacy of knowledge, including hundreds of research reports, case studies and evaluations about how best to improve programs and outcomes for children, youth and families. We are fortunate that P/PV has decided to archive its publications collection with the Foundation Center's IssueLab so that practitioners can benefit from this knowledge for years to come.

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The Least of These: Amachi and the Children of Prisoners

July 31, 2012

There is no rule book for creating, implementing and sustaining a successful social intervention. Hundreds, if not thousands, of now-defunct social programs attest to this reality. These programs may have succeeded in identifying a social need, a cogent and sometimes creative way of meeting that need, and some capacity (both financial and operational) to launch the effort.These are necessary elements -- but not sufficient ones. The social policy field does not consistently recognize or reward good ideas. Success is often as much a product of unusual circumstances -- confluence of the right time, the right idea and the right people -- as it is a result of inherent program quality and effectiveness.The Amachi program is a prime illustration of the unpredictable nature of success in the social policy arena. Its success resulted from a nearly unique blend of factors -- Public/Private Ventures (P/PV), which had been studying the issue of relationships as a way of helping young people for almost two decades; the Pew Charitable Trusts' interest in the potential of faith-based organizations to meet social needs; the well-known academic John DiIulio, who was looking for practical ways to put Pew's interest into action; a source of stabilizing program knowledge (Big Brothers Big Sisters of America); and finally a leader, W. Wilson Goode, Sr., whose combination of personal contacts, managerial knowledge and experience, and dedication to the idea of Amachi was decisive in making the program a success locally, and later nationally.Politics also played a role: the election of a president (in 2000) interested in faith-based initiatives; DiIulio's role in steering the president's attention to Amachi during its early days in Philadelphia; and the way that attention led to a sustained national focus (with federal program funding) on the target group Amachi was designed to serve: children of prisoners. The interplay of these factors -- along with good luck and good timing -- is in many ways the core of the Amachi story, which is detailed in the pages that follow.

Making the Most of Youth Mentoring: A Guide for Funders

July 1, 2012

How should funders decide what mentoring programs to support? The mentoring field has grown and diversified immensely in recent decades. There are now thousands of mentoring programs, as well as many multi-service initiatives that incorporate elements of mentoring, across the country. Some mentoring models have been rigorously evaluated, while others have yet to be tested at scale. There is, in fact, a rich research base to draw from to determine which types of mentoring make sense for which youth, and under which circumstances. But navigating that research is a challenge for even the most determined funder, policymaker or program leader.

Notes from a Wind-Down

July 1, 2012

Drawn from Public/Private Ventures' Notes from a Wind-Down blog, this brief shares some of the organization's closing reflections about evaluation and how it can be used to improve the effectiveness of social programs. In its final year, P/PV engaged in outreach and discussions with partners and experts, and mined its past projects and findings, to identify some of the most pressing questions in three of core areas -- mentoring, out-of-school time, and labor market transitions. This brief compiles the results, with a range of suggested directions for future research, including more work on understanding program costs and improving program practice, further examination of the relationship between program participation and outcomes (especially across programs and settings), and research on the potential of innovative workforce development strategies (like sector-focused training and alternative staffing) to improve the employment prospects of youth and young adults.The brief also presents P/PV's observations about trends in the evaluation of social programs, particularly the rise of "internal" evaluation and what it may mean for efforts to develop more social programs that make a real and lasting difference for young people.Finally, Notes from a Wind-Down shares a few of the most enduring lessons from P/PV's work, which have proved to be relevant for program managers, funders and policymakers alike.

Building Stronger Nonprofits Through Better Financial Management

June 6, 2012

The Wallace Foundation's four-year Strengthening Financial Management in Out-of-School Time initiative(SFM) was designed to improve the financial management systems of 26 well-respected Chicago nonprofits that provide out-of-school-time (OST) services. SFM grew out of the Foundation's longstanding commitment to improving the quality of services for youth during nonschool hours and the realization that even successful nonprofits face financial management challenges that have an impact on their ability to achieve their missions. To address these challenges, the initiative is working to reform public and private funding practices that strain OST organizations' financial management capacity and providing participating organizations with financial management training and peer networking opportunities (using one of two models that vary in intensity and in the balance of individual vs. group-based training and support).

Building Stronger Nonprofits Through Better Financial Management, Executive Summary

June 6, 2012

This executive summary presents a summary of early lessons from The Wallace Foundation's four-year Strengthening Financial Management in Out-of-School Time initiative (SFM). SFM was designed to improve the financial management systems of 26 well-respected Chicago nonprofits that provide out-of-school-time services.

Building Stronger Nonprofits Through Better Financial Management: Early Efforts in 26 Youth-Serving Organizations

June 1, 2012

Outlines the Financial Management in Out-of-School Time initiative to improve nonprofits' long-term financial management capacity and reform funding practices that weaken it, challenges participating nonprofits faced, progress to date, and early lessons.

Rising to the Challenge: The Strategies of Social Service Intermediaries

February 22, 2012

During the past decade, "intermediary organizations" have proliferated across the nonprofit sector. These organizations are typically positioned between funding entities (e.g., government agencies, foundations and corporations) and direct service providers. Intermediaries play an important roll in connecting organizations that share a common interest--and working to enhance the services these organizations provide, build larger service networks, promote quality standards, and monitor programs on behalf of funders.

Using Data in Multi-Agency Collaborations: Guiding Performance to Ensure Accountability and Improve Programs

February 22, 2012

A growing number of foundation- and government-funded initiatives are bringing together diverse partners within communities -- to create screening and referral systems, to coordinate and deliver services and to advocate for policy changes -- all in the interest of serving clients more effectively. Many of these efforts emphasize the use of evidence-based programs, and there is increasing recognition that to be successful, collaborating agencies must work together to collect relevant data and use it to inform and improve their programming.

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