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Family Independence Initiative - Boston

 3353 Washington Street
 Boston, MA 02130
[P] (617) 515-8633
[F] (510) 452-9379
www.fii.org
[email protected]
Jesus Gerena
Facebook Twitter
INCORPORATED: 2001
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 02-0784790

LAST UPDATED: 08/11/2016
Organization DBA FII-Boston
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

FII’s mission is to:

· Create an opportunity-rich environment that invests resources in low-income communities based on the strengths and initiative they demonstrate towards improving their lives and others' lives in their communities; and

· Test and advocate for a new set of policies and practices that support community initiative while still protecting the current needs-based system for those in crisis.

FII-Boston (1) promotes family-led transformation of low-income communities in Boston and (2) provides a model for FII’s national systems change agenda. FII-Boston partners with families in Boston’s low-income neighborhoods, who take action to improve their lives and their communities, producing compelling evidence that low-income families can flourish when they are in environments that support self-determination and mutual support, and where access to resources is determined by strengths, not deficits. The resulting data informs key influencers about how systems can support, rather than hinder, families’ success

Mission Statement

FII’s mission is to:

· Create an opportunity-rich environment that invests resources in low-income communities based on the strengths and initiative they demonstrate towards improving their lives and others' lives in their communities; and

· Test and advocate for a new set of policies and practices that support community initiative while still protecting the current needs-based system for those in crisis.

FII-Boston (1) promotes family-led transformation of low-income communities in Boston and (2) provides a model for FII’s national systems change agenda. FII-Boston partners with families in Boston’s low-income neighborhoods, who take action to improve their lives and their communities, producing compelling evidence that low-income families can flourish when they are in environments that support self-determination and mutual support, and where access to resources is determined by strengths, not deficits. The resulting data informs key influencers about how systems can support, rather than hinder, families’ success


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2013 to Dec 31, 2013
Projected Income $1,495,000.00
Projected Expense $1,686,470.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • FII Demonstrations

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

FII’s mission is to:

· Create an opportunity-rich environment that invests resources in low-income communities based on the strengths and initiative they demonstrate towards improving their lives and others' lives in their communities; and

· Test and advocate for a new set of policies and practices that support community initiative while still protecting the current needs-based system for those in crisis.

FII-Boston (1) promotes family-led transformation of low-income communities in Boston and (2) provides a model for FII’s national systems change agenda. FII-Boston partners with families in Boston’s low-income neighborhoods, who take action to improve their lives and their communities, producing compelling evidence that low-income families can flourish when they are in environments that support self-determination and mutual support, and where access to resources is determined by strengths, not deficits. The resulting data informs key influencers about how systems can support, rather than hinder, families’ success


Background Statement

The Family Independence Initiative (FII) is a family-led, strength-based approaches that restore economic and social mobility for low-income families in the US. Founded in 2001 by Maurice Lim Miller, who won a 2012 MacArthur Genius Award for his work. For more than a decade FII has demonstrated a path out of poverty for low-income families, unleashing their resourcefulness, drive, and generosity as they work together to make progress toward better lives.

 

FII–Boston’s approach upends the paradigm of “helping the poor.” Rather than providing social workers, services, and top-down direction, FII creates an environment where families can come together and improve their lives in their own way.

Impact Statement

We began FII-Boston in 2010 with an initial 35 families (150 adults and children). In the last 4 years those families have referred others in their networks and grown our enrollment to nearly 600 families (2,160 adults and children) participating currently.

In 2013 FII-Boston’s focus on families’ self-driven change yielded impressive results:

· Average household earned income increased 21%

· Savings rose an average of 210%

· Household debt decreased an average of 37%

· 97% took steps to improve their health

· 73% of children in school improved grades

· Families started 25 businesses for a total of new 50 jobs, and 5 new homes were purchased.

In 2012, a third-party evaluation recorded similar outcomes:

· Within two years of joining FII-Boston, approximately 1 out of every 2 families living below the federal poverty line at the outset moved above the poverty line

· Families on average increased their savings by 120%, and earnings by 24%

· Over 30% of the families started or expanded a small business

· Over 80% of children reported an improvement in grades

· Over 75% of families reported taking initiatives to improve their health

· 75% of families shared their expertise by leading workshops and support groups

· 80% helped each other by doing things like watching one another’s kids and sharing job references

· At the outset, only 27% of respondents reported having “a lot of people I can count on.” After two years, 91% of families felt they could count on others for help and support if needed, and considered other group members as “family.”

Other outcomes include: strengthened community connections, families dropping government subsidies, and increased civic engagement.


Needs Statement

We have three main need areas:
 
1. Growth, we hope to reach 1100 families total in the next 3 years. The main area of support is dollars to enroll more families.
 
2. Partners who are willing to learn about FII's approach and mission and are willing to connect directly with families.
 
3. Advisors,  we are in the mist of rapid growth and need strategic partners and advisors to guide the growth of the organization and offer support.
 
 

CEO Statement

After working in social services for more than 20 years, Maurice Lim Miller was challenged by then-Mayor of Oakland Jerry Brown to create something new: something that instead of assuring jobs and stability to social workers and government bureaucrats would assure jobs and security for the low-income families these professionals seek to help.

After reflecting on his own family’s story of climbing out of poverty he researched the histories of immigrant, migrant, and indigenous communities in the United States who managed to move from intense poverty to a more stable middle-class standing. The common thread was that people turned to family and friends, pooled resources, and followed the example of those they knew who began to succeed. The Family Independence Initiative (FII) is based on this premise: mutuality and self-determination are key in achieving self-sufficiency.

Board Chair Statement

--

Geographic Area Served

Throughout the United States
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)

San Francisco Bay Area
Boston
National

Organization Categories

  1. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Economic Development
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

FII Demonstrations

Inspired by historical and modern examples of communities working together, FII’s Demonstrations bring together groups of working poor families who choose to work together to improve their lives. By focusing on the strengths of the families instead of their needs FII’s Demonstrations support the initiative and resourcefulness of families.

The data and stories FII gathers from its demonstrations clearly show the tremendous capacity of low-income families to lead their own change. FII takes what it learns from families and shares it with funders, legislators, and policy makers to help them improve their work. We help craft policy and practice recommendations that support people’s self-determination and initiative.

Budget  $1,500,000.00
Category  None of the above
Population Served Families Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Minorities
Program Short-Term Success  Based on our experience thus far in Boston and FII–National’s previous Demonstrations, we anticipate the following two-year gains for FII–Boston’s participants:
  • Average increase in household income:                       15%
  • Average increase in family savings:                             60%
  • Average decrease in household debt:                           30%
  • Percent of children who will improve their grades:     40%
Program Long-Term Success 

In three years we will increase our reach by 200% growing from 200 to 600 families. We project the following growth:

 

  • 2013:  340 households and 1564 individuals
  • 2014:  500 households and 2300 individuals
  • 2015:   600 households and 2760 individuals
Program Success Monitored By 

Each enrolled family gets a computer to access FII’s online data-tracking system. Here they input data and information on a monthly basis about their household’s income and savings, health, education and skills, housing, resourcefulness and leadership, and networking and helping others. FII staff meets with families to verify the data submitted with every three months. Families must demonstrate proof on all data submitted (bank statements, report cards, etc.).

 


Examples of Program Success 

Since launching in 2010, FII–Boston has grown from 152 adults/children in 35 households to over 800 adults/children in 200 households. This growth was led by those first 35 families who have referred their friends, neighbors, and colleagues into the project.

The two-year results (2010-2012) from the 35 Boston families are:

  • Average family monthly earnings increased over 26%
  • Average family savings increased 187%
  • 25% of the 70 children in these families improved their grades in school
  • The number of small business owned by families doubled from six to 12
  • The average monthly revenue from those small businesses increased 75%
The demographics of these families are: 55% Latino, 30% African-American, 13% Cape Verdean, and 2%  “other.” The median income of the families is $25,200 and there are, on average, 4.4 individuals per family.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The expansion of funding in Boston has shown some challenges as many of the foundations in the City rely on traditional approaches in supporting social and economic mobility work. Many times our strength-based approach proves to be a challenge for them to fully understand and/or we do not fit into their traditional giving areas.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Jesus Gerena
CEO Term Start Jan 2010
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience --
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Chrismaldi Vasquez Associate Director --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 3
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 4
Number of Contract Staff 6
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 0
Hispanic/Latino: 5
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 2
Other (if specified): Cape Verde
Gender Female: 6
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? No
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Tony Mayer
Board Chair Company Affiliation No Affiliation
Board Chair Term Feb 2013 - Feb 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Dan Boggan Alameda Health Systems Voting
Robert Friedman Corporation for Enterprise Development Voting
Chris Herron New Profit Voting
Michael Jolin America Achieves --
Melinda Marble Barr Foundation Voting
John Mayer No Affiliation Voting
Clara Miller Heron Foundation --
Maurice Lim Miller Family Independence Initiative NonVoting
Diana Smith New Profit, Inc Voting
Paula Sneed Phelps Prescott Group LLC Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 79%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2013 to Dec 31, 2013
Projected Income $1,495,000.00
Projected Expense $1,686,470.00
Form 990s

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

Audit Documents

2015 Audit

2014 Audit

2013 Audit

2012 Audit

2011 Audit

2010 Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $1,624,873 $1,843,409 $1,373,000
Total Expenses $1,734,789 $1,850,706 $1,216,272

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$1,492,262 $1,711,977 $1,363,000
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $21,477 $21,432 $10,000
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $81,334 $110,000 --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $29,800 -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $1,520,662 $1,428,293 $835,232
Administration Expense $136,796 $255,860 $331,040
Fundraising Expense $77,331 $166,553 $50,000
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.94 1.00 1.13
Program Expense/Total Expenses 88% 77% 69%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 5% 10% 4%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets -- -- --
Current Assets -- -- --
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- --
Current Liabilities -- -- --
Total Net Assets -- -- --

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 3.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

The financial data provided in the charts and graphs above for the previous three years reflects this organization's local, Boston office operations, and were provided by the organization. The posted audits and 990s reflect the organization's national operations. 
 
Assets and liabilities are not available on a local level, please contact the nonprofit for additional details.

 

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

FII was founded on research on communities that rose from intense poverty to middle-class standing. From the immigrants who built Chinatowns to the African Americans who built vibrant townships before and after emancipation, it was communities working together that made well-being and prosperity possible. FII’s early research provided revelations that are simple, yet extraordinary: Pathways to success are created by collective efforts. People turn to family and friends for support and resources, and follow examples of successful peers around them.

Inspired by this research, FII has innovated and tested new approaches to mobility that demonstrate that ordinary low-income families have the initiative and capacity to move themselves and their communities forward when they have access to connections, choices, and capital. FII partners with low-income families to create an environment where families can come together and improve their lives in their own way. FII analyzes participant-collected data to develop resources that fuel families’ initiative. As a result, the families start businesses and create jobs, build assets, invest in their children’s educations, and improve their health.

Boston’s prominence, relatively small size, diversity, and history make it the ideal model for FII’s approach to family-driven change. FII-Boston engages families in the Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury, and East Boston communities -- Boston’s poorest neighborhoods with some of the country’s oldest public housing projects, where residents include both recent immigrants and generations of established low-income families. The African American, Caribbean, Cape Verdean, and Latin American families in these low-income communities reflect the diversity of Boston and enable us to demonstrate that our approach is effective for and applicable to a wide variety of families and communities throughout Boston and beyond. FII-Boston launched in 2010 with 35 families; today Boston is the largest FII site, with nearly 600 families (2,160 adults and children) participating currently.

Over the next five years, FII-Boston will continue to expand and invest in the initiative of participating families. Over the next year alone, FII will grow to reach 800 families (nearly 3,000 adults and children), utilizing FII’s proven model to catalyze economic and social mobility in the city of Boston. FII will partner with low-income families, track data on their progress and provide resources, directly and through partners, in support of their efforts. FII’s data-tracking platform enables families to monitor their own progress while FII and its partners utilize the data to create a marketplace of resources for families. Funding would support access to the FII Resource Bank (e.g. interest-free loans, scholarships, lending circles, matched savings) by Boston families, thus providing a means for the families to access capital and take initiative to spur their progress. FII’s social networking platform enables families to support and inspire one another through sharing stories and videos and direct connections.

FII’s work in Boston serves as a beacon to the country of what is possible with a family-driven approach. FII uses the power of long-term data and compelling stories to build a podium of influence -- locally and nationally -- epitomized by our President and Founder Mauricio Lim Miller receiving the MacArthur “Genius Award” in 2012. FII uses documentation of family initiative and success to advocate for a local, state, and national platform of policy change to broaden opportunities for low-income residents and promote their social and economic mobility. Our advocacy work will also continue to expand over the next five years. FII’s goal is to change the way that funding is invested in low-income communities in Boston and beyond, ultimately re-starting social and economic mobility for families across the nation.


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

FII-Boston invites families to form cohorts with their friends and support one another while working on self-determined paths to well-being. Groups of families who partner with FII start small businesses and create jobs, pool financial and social capital, invest in their children’s educations, get involved in civic life, and improve their health and family life. We make capital and resources available to them in response to their initiative. FII data shows that this kind of investment supports the exponential growth of their efforts, which then ripples throughout communities.

The data we capture from families about their journeys toward greater well-being is one of FII’s strongest assets. FII families are responsible for inputting their data into the system, and receive a computer and monthly stipend for doing so. We put the power of information in the hands of low-income families, allowing them to evaluate, set, and achieve their goals. When families quantify their habits on a regular basis, they gain a view into their progress and achievements, or lack thereof. That creates a feedback loop -- one that can be leveraged by the families to ensure they move forward. By tracking their progress, initiative, and well-being through data and stories about their lives, families take control of their own success.

FII in turn uses this data to design and make financial resources available to families in response to their initiative, and to inform key influencers about how systems can support and accelerate families’ success.

Enrolled families become part of FII’s UpTogether online community-building platform, a peer-to-peer network where families connect with one another around affinities they define. They attend family group meetings where they share info and resources, and hold each other accountable, providing further motivation from peers with similar challenges and dreams. They also attend regular meetings with FII Family Liaisons, who audit the data and record participants’ stories.

After six months of enrolling, families in good standing (reporting regularly, etc.) can access the FII Resource Bank, which includes consumer-driven products and cash matches. New resources are developed and tested based on analysis of family data.

FII’s Resource Bank features:

Matched Savings: Families can have their funds matched 2:1, up to $4,000. Funds can be used for home purchase/improvement, education or business.

· Direct FII Loan in Partnership with Mission Asset Funds: FII is piloting an underwriting approach that accounts for a borrower’s character, initiative, social capital and “good standing” in FII. These zero-fee, zero-interest credit-building loans can be used for any purpose.

· Partnership with Kiva Zip: FII is a Trustee in Kiva Zip’s crowd-funding platform. These are zero-interest loans of up to $5,000.

· Formal Lending Circles: Zero-fee, zero-interest credit-building loans. FII Families get together to form a group loan fund.

· Social Clubs: Families organize an ongoing activity that is important for them. FII provides up to $1,200 to the club to cover expenses.

· Scholarship Fund: FII participants may apply for a scholarship of up to $2,000 to help cover education expenses.

The Resource Bank is a model for the development of investments for families that will impact other institutions in Boston and nationally.

FII recognizes that safety-net programs helping people in crisis are necessary -- however, that’s not what FII’s model is about. FII’s model fills the gap between safety net systems for those in crisis and the systems that provide advantages to wealthy people. Our goals are to catalyze the kinds of progress we have witnessed at FII-Boston, including family-level mobility, community movement-building through FII Fellowships, and forging new partnerships with community organizations and institutions to adopt FII’s approach. This change will also help to drive the broader, national change in the way resources are allocated.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

FII has been partnering with families to demonstrate a new way to spur mobility since 2001. Thirteen years of experience on the ground, along with our work with influential individuals in nonprofit, governmental, business, media, and academic sectors, provide a solid basis to reach our goal of changing systems to work for families. FII’s data shows that partnering with families to fuel their efforts and initiative has a ripple effect throughout communities. It’s a model that has been proven to work.

At FII-Boston we have three full-time and five half-time staff members in place that serve in administrative roles or as Family Liaisons. The FII model is extremely cost effective because the majority of the resources flow directly to the families rather than to personnel costs. FII is able to work with hundreds of families with few staff because the families themselves lead the work on the ground, from sharing data and running meetings to organizing events.

FII-Boston has a broad base of support from institutions that are excited by FII’s vision, including: the Boston Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Greenlight Foundation, the EOS Foundation, New Profit, the Oak Foundation and the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation. We have developed an aggressive fundraising plan targeting foundation, corporate, and individual funders.

FII-Boston also partners with like-minded organizations such as Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), and shares lessons learned, and discusses issues and policy concerns in common, with DSNI and other organizations such as: Hyde Street Task Force, Rosie’s Place, Boston Parent Organizing Network, One Family, Friends of the Children, and others. We continue to explore and identify partners with complementary focus on policy or practice with whom to exchange information. We also continue to identify ways in which forging new collaborations and partnerships can better serve our community.

In addition, FII’s five-year business plan outlines the development of a solid earned-income stream driven by advances in our data-tracking technology. Launching a new marketplace of partnerships to broaden access to our data system will enable continued scaling of FII to engage thousands more families and individuals across the country, as well as growing our earned income. We also have strong relationships with a number of thought partners who volunteer their knowledge and expertise to support our work. Exploring partnerships with organizations and leaders working toward systems change are key parts of our strategy to respond to the initiative of families and increase access to connections, choice, and capital.

Our research and data show that FII’s winning combination of peer networks and progress tracking empowers families and inspires their efforts toward financial stability and well-being -- The FII model has the capacity to re-start social and economic mobility in Boston and across the country.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

FII leverages the power of information to illuminate and accelerate the initiative low-income families are taking to improve their lives. Evidence from our work in Boston shows the power of this approach. Our extensive data platform provides a continuous feedback loop that drives our work forward in response to community initiative and results. FII’s barometers of success are the number of families participating in FII, the progress these families are making, and the influence FII’s approach has on systems serving families. We track the following outcomes for this project, and overall in our work:

· Expansion of FII-Boston: Expanding the number of families touched by FII will amplify the voices of families in local and national conversations about policies and practices that affect them. To move systems toward more family-led policies and practices, families’ conclusions about what is and isn’t effective surfaces through their own stories, their financial and behavioral data, and their leadership. The families participating in FII are a vital constituency for FII’s systems change efforts.

· Family Progress: FII tracks participating families’ progress by collecting data. Families enrolled in FII share information about their income and expenses, assets and liabilities, and a range of other variables related to well-being (e.g. how they exercise or children’s grades).

· Family-Led Policies/Practices: FII seeks a wide array of partners -- including foundations and governments that are providing resources to families -- to help them change their practices and policies to become role models for change in their sectors. We measure our progress toward more family-led policies and practices by tracking and documenting the concrete changes that these organizations make.



5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

FII utilizes a participant-led process; thus we do not identify specific outcomes for participants. However, after a decade of working with families we are confident that we will continue to see outcomes similar to those we’ve seen previously. In 2013 FII-Boston’s focus on families’ self-driven change yielded impressive results:

· Average household earned income increased 21%

· Savings rose an average of 210%

· Household debt decreased an average of 37%

· 97% took steps to improve their health

· 73% of children in school improved grades

· Families started 25 businesses for a total of new 50 jobs, and 5 new homes were purchased.

In 2012, a third-party evaluation recorded similar outcomes:

· Within two years of joining FII-Boston, approximately 1 out of every 2 families living below the federal poverty line at the outset moved above the poverty line

· Families on average increased their savings by 120%, and earnings by 24%

· Over 30% of the families started or expanded a small business

· Over 80% of children reported an improvement in grades

· Over 75% of families reported taking initiatives to improve their health

· 75% of families shared their expertise by leading workshops and support groups

· 80% helped each other by doing things like watching one another’s kids and sharing job references

· At the outset, only 27% of respondents reported having “a lot of people I can count on.” After two years, 91% of families felt they could count on others for help and support if needed, and considered other group members as “family.”

Other outcomes include: strengthened community connections, families dropping government subsidies, and increased civic engagement.

FII’s research and data drives our family-led focus. Using data, stories, and consumer feedback provided by our partnering families, we compile and analyze detailed information about their progress to help expand families’ choices as they work to get ahead in life. FII uses this arsenal of information to advocate for a local, state, and national “platform” of public and private practices and policies that broaden the opportunities of low-income residents and promote their social and economic mobility.