Primavera Foundation provides a range of comprehensive community development programs including housing, health and human services, and community building and engagement to the residents of Pima County. The organization has long relied on data and evaluation across its programs and, since 2008, has focused on measuring community impact in the City of South Tucson, a predominantly Latina community where many families have experienced high rates of unemployment and extremely low incomes. In 2013, as Primavera worked to obtain funding to develop a number of single-family homes in South Tucson, it encountered reluctance among funders to support neighborhood revitalization strategies in an Arizona community that had been hard hit by the foreclosure crisis. They needed to demonstrate to potential funders that there was a real demand for housing and homeownership programs in the community. Participating in a broader effort by NeighborWorks America to help its network members measure the impact of their efforts in the communities they serve, Primavera took advantage of the opportunity to help document this need.
Approach & Solutions
Primavera administered a resident satisfaction survey that would capture residents’ perceptions about quality of life and conducted property observations that would look at change in physical conditions of those homes over time in the neighborhood. Additionally, Primavera added an element to the evaluation that would help to further strengthen assets in the community by engaging and training neighborhood youth to carry out the data collection.
Evaluation findings revealed that people wanted to live in the community, renters wanted to purchase homes, and longer term residents were committed to participating in community building and engagement strategies designed to improve health and wellbeing. This important data, at the height of the housing crisis in Arizona, showed that the area was worthy of public and private investment and leveraged a $270,000 grant for down payment assistance from a Federal Home Loan Bank program.
Primavera also systematically tracks outcomes of its financial capability programs and has used that data with bank funders to leverage small grants to strengthen the organization’s financial coaching programs.
Primavera has gone through an ever-evolving process of developing a culture of evaluation to inform its programs, resulting in tangible benefits for the organization. Having partnered with Success Measures in their evaluation efforts since 2008, Primavera reports that data and evaluation have become core components of the organization’s DNA. This, in turn, has enabled Primavera to attract funders, as well as build greater confidence in the organization among partners and community stakeholders.
The Primavera Foundation, begun in the early 1980’s as a response to the growing numbers of residents experiencing homelessness in Tucson, provides pathways out of poverty through safe, affordable housing, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization. Each year, Primavera’s programs – which include emergency services, housing, employment, financial empowerment, neighborhood revitalization, and community building and engagement strategies – impact more than 7,000 individuals and families living in southern Arizona.