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town meetingUrban Institute researchers evaluate federal, state, and local government programs and policies. Early on, we pioneered performance-management techniques government agencies still use to evaluate and improve public services, from economic development to garbage collection. And now we're adapting those strategies for the nonprofit sector—at home and abroad. Read more.

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Transforming Performance Measurement for the 21st Century (Research Report)
Harry P. Hatry

While substantial progress has been made in spreading performance measurement across the country and world, much of the information from performance measurement systems has been shallow. Modern technology and the considerable demand for information on progress in achieving the outcomes of public programs and policies are creating major opportunities for considerably improving the usefulness of performance information. This report provides a number of recommendations to help public and private service organizations take advantage of these opportunities, particularly for:(a) selecting appropriate performance indicators and data collection procedures; (b) analyzing and reporting the information; and (c) using the information to improve services.

Posted to Web: July 30, 2014Publication Date: July 30, 2014

Contracts and Grants between Human Service Nonprofits and Government: Comparative Analysis (Research Report)
Sarah L. Pettijohn, Elizabeth T. Boris

Government's reliance on human service nonprofits to provide services has been increasing, expanding the ability of nonprofits to achieve their missions and the ability of government to serve its constituents. This brief summarizes results from human service nonprofits in the second national study of government contracts and grants. We compare results of human service organizations in the 2013 national survey of nonprofits to the results of the survey conducted in 2010. We examine how human service organizations have managed since the recession ended and how their relationships with governments have changed.

Posted to Web: July 24, 2014Publication Date: July 24, 2014

Case Study: NNIP and Open Data in Detroit (Research Brief)
Eric Burnstein

Adopting open data principles is difficult in cities undergoing economic hardship, but the benefits of doing so are great. In Detroit, Data Driven Detroit (D3), a local National Neighborhood Indicators partner, has worked to provide local data to the community free of charge. Though they have encountered institutional and cultural barriers, D3 has advanced their cause through partnership with local organizations and government. With new funding opportunities and new movement on open data by the city, D3 is making data meaningful and accessible, as well as advocating for open data and data-driven decisionmaking by community organizations and government.

Posted to Web: July 22, 2014Publication Date: July 22, 2014

Lessons from the States: Responsible Prison Reform (Testimony)
Nancy G. La Vigne

In this testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, Urban's Director of the Justice Policy Center, Nancy La Vigne, highlights the lessons learned from responsible prison reform in the states and discusses the federal prison system, its challenges and opportunities for reform. She also discusses the importance of both front- and back-end changes to yield meaningful and lasting reforms.

Posted to Web: July 15, 2014Publication Date: July 15, 2014

Putting Open Data to Work for Communities (Research Report)
Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Leah Hendey, Brianna Losoya, G. Thomas Kingsley

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a network of local organizations that collect, organize, and use neighborhood data to tackle issues in their communities. As the movement for government transparency has spread at the local level, more NNIP partners are participating in the call for governments to release data and are using open data to provide information for decisionmaking and community engagement. Local NNIP partners and open data advocates have complementary strengths and should work together to more effectively advance open government data that benefits all residents.

Posted to Web: June 12, 2014Publication Date: June 12, 2014

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