Applied Research

Center on Social Innovation and Finance

Applied Research

The center has a range of exciting research projects that bolster social innovation in New England and nationally.  We believe teaching, research, and community outreach activities should mutually reinforce one another, so we select projects that have both academic and practical components in their design, implementation, and impact.

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Sample projects include:

  • The “Scale Project.”  Funded by the Ford Foundation, the Center on Social Innovation and Finance is working with ROC USA to develop an online platform to serve resident-owned manufactured housing communities through training, networking, and bulk purchasing.  This platform will help co-op business managers and homeowners to share resources, save money, and operate more effectively.
  • CDFI Capacity Building.  Through a combination of research, training, and technical assistance, the center is building the capacity of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to respond to the nation’s economic crisis. CDFIs are an essential economic engine of urban and rural communities. Funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and in collaboration with NeighborWorks, this work helps CDFIs to improve their capitalization and liquidity and to manage risks in their loan portfolios.
  • CDFI Impact Evaluation.  The center is evaluating the impact of CDFI lending and investment both on borrowers (and other users of CDFI services) and on the communities they serve.  Funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and in collaboration with Reznick Group and the Carsey evaluation team, this work will identify replicable best practices of the most impactful CDFIs and inform the Department of the Treasury’s investments into the CDFI sector.
  • Social Enterprise Strategy.  The center is working with New Hampshire Catholic Charities to develop a feasibility study of social enterprise opportunities that could generate double bottom line (social and economic) return.
  • Social Enterprise Impact Fund.  Funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the center provides technical assistance to new social enterprises or new approaches to addressing economic problems in New Hampshire’s communities.