Community Indicators and the Collective Goods Criterion for Impact
Common wisdom holds that communities can accomplish more when people find ways to work together. However, such nuanced sensibilities can be difficult to measure. This is true in the field of community indicators as well as its allied fields of social movements, collective impact, catalytic philanthropy and community coalitions. Due to the elusiveness of evaluation techniques some in the social movements field have argued for a definition of success based on the collective goods criterion (CGC). In this chapter we explore the case of Syracuse, New York on the occasion of its achievement of seven years of positive change in its key community indicator of the four year graduation rate. Though it would be difficult to claim that Syracuse’s community indicators project, CNY.vitals, caused this change, we explore how a CGC approach can be used to examine how the measurement mentality that accompanied the community indicators project is associated with collective benefits that have accrued to members of the community in terms of cultural capital, philanthropic investment and governmental policy change.
KeywordsSyracuse CNY vitals Collective goods Literacy rate Catalytic philanthropy Collective impact Philanthropy
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