UWATX is committed to measuring impact. In addition to using data to inform our investments and community needs, we participate in a local Evaluation and Learning Collaborative with other area funders.
Collectively we strive to increase data access, capacity and culture for local service providers. UWATX is also leading the way in local Pay for Success initiatives.
Pay for Success
Pay for Success is an innovative funding mechanism where private and philanthropic capital funds are used to launch or scale evidence-based programs that are reimbursed after outcomes are certified by an independent evaluator.
In 2014, UWATX and Mission Capital launched the Central Texas Pay for Success Task Force. This task force meets quarterly with engagement from the City of Austin (HHS and the Mayor’s Office), Travis County, Central Health, ECHO, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, Seton and the Dell Medical School (among others).
In 2015, Austin applied for a federal grant through the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) to study teen pregnancy prevention and permanent and supportive housing. Austin was one of only two communities nationwide that received two different awards. Our city-county collaboration was also noted as remarkably innovative. Since 2015, Austin/Travis County has launched the following PFS initiatives:
Nurse Family Partnership
United Way commissioned Social Finance to conduct an analysis of nurse family partnerships (NFP) in Austin/Travis County in 2016. This feasibility study found 1) a significant need: 2,700 first-time, low income mothers are eligible for home visitation programs annually; of which approximately 2,200 cannot be served with the current home visiting capacity in Travis County and 2) a significant value: the public sector would generate $4.2 in value for every $1 invested in NFP. Serving 600 additional families in Travis County would generate total public sector value of $40.0 million.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, United Way, Travis County, Central Health and Mission Capital were selected by Third Sector Capital Partners for a federal SIF grant to explore reductions in teen births, postponement of subsequent births, and high school completion and attendance for Hispanic youth aged 13-19 in Austin/Travis County. This feasibility study was completed in May of 2016.
Permanent and Supportive Housing
In 2015, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) received a SIF grant through the Corporation for Supportive Housing to study homeless populations that are frequent users of the health care and justice systems. They found that investing in Permanent Supportive Housing will result in significant cost avoidance across healthcare, criminal justice and social services. In July of 2016, ECHO was awarded over $1.1M in federal funding to advance Housing First Permanent Supportive Housing for 250 homeless men & women in Austin.
In May of 2016, Workforce Solutions Capital Area was awarded a SIF grant to study opportunity youth (ages 16-24, neither enrolled in school nor employed). Workforce Solutions will work with Third Sector to create an outcomes-based contracting blueprint. An important aspect of this feasibility study is that legislation under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) allows for PFS financing.
Contact Leah Meunier, Vice President of Mission Advancement at United Way for Greater Austin, with questions or to learn more about Pay for Success in Austin/Travis County.