Institute for Social Capital, Inc. (ISC), Greater Charlotte Region, North Carolina

Description:  The Institute for Social Capital, Inc. (ISC) is located within the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Urban Institute. It houses the ISC Community Database, an integrated data system created to foster university research and to increase the community’s capacity for data-informed decision-making. Through collaboration with nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and other organizations in the Charlotte region, ISC serves as a resource to benefit the university and the greater community. By linking data across agencies, the ISC Community Database allows researchers and community agencies to better describe, understand, and serve vulnerable populations.

The ISC Codebook is a tool to help researchers better understand the data within the ISC Community Database.  With 20 data deposits, representing over 44 data sharing agreements, the codebook provides in-depth information on the process of utilizing the ISC Community Database as well as the data it holds.  Researchers can learn more about each data depositor, see which fields are available for request, review documentation about the complexities of each dataset, and learn how to request data for research projects.  The codebook is designed to be updated continuously and informed by depositors, researchers and subject matter experts using the data.  Please click here to access the ISC codebook.


IDS projects to Inform Policy

Service Utilization of Veterans Experiencing Homelessness, 2007-2012

A number of Mecklenburg initiatives have been launched to try to house veterans experiencing homelessness. How are the veterans who are experiencing homelessness in Mecklenburg County using services that can connect them to benefits and housing? What are the characteristics of these veterans? UNC Charlotte Urban Institute researchers used the Institute for Social Capital Community Database to describe veterans experiencing homelessness who accessed services from the Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Veterans Services Division (Veterans Services) and/or an agency that enters data into the local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

The results showed:

  • From 2010 to 2015, Mecklenburg County saw a 10 percent increase in homeless veterans.
  • From 2007 -2012, 57% of veterans that utilized services from the Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, Veterans Services Division were also connected to an HMIS agency, while only 6% of veterans that utilized an HMIS agency were also connected to Veterans Services.

Link to Project Reports: Service Utilization of Veterans Experiencing Homelessness


United Way Collective Impact, 2012-current

Summary:  In 2011, The United Way of the Central Carolinas commissioned the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute to track outcomes for their 10-year Collective Impact initiative to increase the graduation rate among the more than 13,000 children who receive services from United Way funded agencies each year. Using the ISC Community Database, researchers matched agency-level program lists to K-12 administrative data from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to track outcomes of students involved in United Way funded agencies. Year I provided a baseline look at students served by United Way funded agencies. Year II, released in Fall 2014, shows changes to students’ academic performance and absenteeism in the 2011-12 school year compared to the year before participants received agency services. Year III, released in Fall 2015, looks at Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County, and utilized 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 data with a comparison group.

The results showed:

  • Students served by United Way of the Central Carolinas funded agencies for three or more years averaged fewer days absent, experienced fewer suspensions and demonstrated higher proficiency that those students served for 1-2 years.
  • 85.1 percent of at-risk students served by United Way agencies for one to two years graduated. Students who were served for three to four years had an 89.2 percent graduation rate. Students served for five or more years had a 91.6 percent graduation rate.
  • The 2012-13 proficiency rate for chronically absent students in reading was 14 percent compared to 27 percent for those who were not chronically absent. The difference was stark in math, with a 9 percent proficiency rate for chronically absent students compared to a 25 percent proficiency rate for students who were not chronically absent.

Link to Project Reports: Collective Impact Baseline Report, Year I; Full Report, Year II; Executive Summary, Year II; Full Report III; Executive Summary, Year III


Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Program: Impact on School Attendance and Suspensions, 2013-2014

Summary:  Freedom School Partners (FSP) delivers Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® summer programs to children in grades K-8 in Charlotte, NC. FSP contracted with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute to determine impact on scholar’s attendance and suspensions after participating in Freedom School. Using the Institute for Social Capital Community Database, Freedom School Program Participation lists from the summer of 2011 and 2012 were linked with educational records from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Scholars were compared to a demographically similar comparison group.

The results showed:

  • Students with higher Freedom School attendance tended to have higher school attendance, less chronic absenteeism, and fewer out-of-school suspensions.
  • Freedom School scholars improved at a faster rate and worsened at a slower rate for increasing attendance and decreasing suspensions than the comparison group. This suggests that Freedom School served as a protective mechanism to positively impact children’s attendance and suspension data.
  • Scholars who attended Freedom School for two years had fewer school absences and fewer out-of-school suspensions than those who attended one summer. Freedom School scholars who attended two summers averaged almost a full day more in school than those who attended one summer.

Link to Project Reports: Not available


Program Evaluation: McClintock Partners In Education, 2007-2015

Summary:  McClintock Partners In Education (McPIE) contracted with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute to learn about the impact they have made since starting programming in 2007. The evaluation used both quantitative and qualitative methods. The primary quantitative data collection and analysis utilized the ISC Community Database.  The McPIE program list was matched to K-12 administrative records from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as well as the Department of Social Services (DSS). Two demographically similar comparison points were used in the analysis of school data.

The results showed:

  • Sixteen and a half percent of students served by McPIE had a reported case of abuse, neglect, or abuse and neglect sometime since the year 2000. Ten reports were substantiated and another 65 cases had services recommended.
  • McPIE served students averaged fewer days absent and a smaller percentage experiencing chronic absenteeism than the comparison points.
  • The group of McPIE served students who participated in 3 or more McPIE sponsored STEM activities had a higher percentage of students pass their math and science exams in middle and high school than the comparison points.

Link to Project Reports:  McClintock Partners in Education Program Evaluation, Full Report; McPIE Top Takeaways


Children’s Scholarship Fund, Supported Students’ High School Outcomes, 2014-2015

Summary: Children’s Scholarship Fund-Charlotte provides scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools in grades K-8. In order to learn more about the high school outcomes of their former scholarship students, CSF-C contracted with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. The research team used K-12 administrative records from the ISC Community Database and surveys with students who did not match in the database to explore how CSF-C supported students performed in high school on standardized assessments and their attendance and suspension outcomes compared to a demographically similar comparison group.

The results showed:

  • A higher percentage of students who received a CSF-C scholarship passed their end-of-course tests in English and math than their peers.
  • Students who received a CSF-C scholarship averaged fewer days absent and less experiencing chronic absenteeism (18+ days absent) than their peers.
  • Students who received a CSF-C scholarship averaged fewer days suspended and less experiencing any suspension than their peers.

Link to Project Reports: Children’s Scholarship Fund – Charlotte: Executive Summary


Mayor’s Youth Employment Program Evaluation, 2012-2013

Summary:  The Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP) is a summer internship program for 16 to 18 year olds in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) system. In addition to paid summer internships, the program offers occupational training and specialized career explorations. The program is part of the Community Engagement Department of the City of Charlotte and is run by two full-time staff members.

The City of Charlotte contracted the Institute for Social Capital (ISC) to assess the effectiveness of the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program. This program evaluation sought to better understand MYEP’s influence on its participants and the community. Qualitative interviews, document analysis, phone and email surveys, and individual-level school data from CMS administrative records were used to contextualize the program.

Link to Project Reports: This report is not publicly available at this time.