In the News / January 2020

A Sound Investment: Measuring the Impact of USCRI’s Matching Grant Program

The private sector often uses the metric “Return on Investment” (ROI) to show the success of a financial investment. This ratio compares the amount invested in the program to the profits. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) has begun to measure its “Social Return on Investment” (SROI), which compares the amount invested in a specific program to the tangible social and economic benefits received by both our clients and their communities. This type of evaluation allows us to ensure that our programs are creating the highest possible social impact per dollar we spend.

USCRI’s “Matching Grant” program helps refugees, asylees, and other eligible individuals become self-sufficient within six months of arrival. The program connects clients with employers and offers case management, job training, and employment counseling to help clients improve their job skills and increase earning potential. The USCRI Matching Grant network includes 31 partners nationally and over 3,000 slots for clients.

By combining USCRI’s internal data with open data and local, state, and federal tax rates, USCRI calculated the economic impact of the Matching Grant program at the seven USCRI field offices and nationwide. The chart below shows the amount of economic impact generated in these communities for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Economic impact included the average local, state, and federal taxes contributed in each of these cities, as well as the average projected local sales tax collected. The Economic ROI column shows the estimated dollar amount re-invested in the field office communities. The corresponding SROI ratios compare the dollar amount invested in the program to the dollar amount the program created. For example, the Fiscal Year 2018 ratio for Albany, NY would be read as: For every $2 invested in the Albany, NY Matching Grant program, $3 of tangible economic impact were created. 

Nationwide, the results show that for every $5 invested in the Matching Grant program, $9 of tangible economic impact were created.

Field Office Location FY 2018 Number of Clients Served FY 2018 SROI Ratio FY 2018 Economic ROI (USD) FY 2019 Number of Clients Served FY 2019 SROI Ratio FY 2019 Economic ROI (USD)
Albany, NY 26 2:3 $ 1,269,308 23 5:8 $ 1,181,164
Cleveland, OH 23 5:6 $ 945,374 41 1:2 $ 1,542,840
Colchester, VT 14 1:2 $ 577,914 29 1:2 $ 1,406,678
Des Moines, IA 49 2:5 $ 953,371 49 1:2 $ 1,507,127
Detroit, MI 23 1:2 $ 2,413,311 32 5:7 $ 2,821,835
Erie, PA 34 4:5 $ 1,395,910 23 7:8 $ 847,955
Raleigh, NC 54 1:2 $ 2,202,061 45 2:5 $ 2,112,497
National Total (All Sites Including Field Offices) 1,203 5:9 $ 54,505,887 1,263 5:9 $ 57,508,291

The above data shows that the Matching Grant programs at these seven sites consistently create a positive economic impact on the community and produce a significant return on investment. This data supports the numerous studies and statistics which show that refugees and immigrants actively contribute to their communities through taxes, job creation, and retail purchases.

Moving forward, USCRI intends to utilize this type of data analysis to evaluate its other programs. SROI will help to evaluate the true impact of these programs both on USCRI clients and on their communities.

For further information, please contact Leah Johnson at ljohnson@uscrimail.org

The Matching Grant program is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an office of the Administration for Children & Families.

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