Our Organization

Bethel New Life is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois. Formed by a small
Lutheran church on the West Side of Chicago in response to the devastation and disinvestment that followed the civil rights riots of the late 1960s, Bethel New Life has been in the business of creating social impact and community change for more than three decades.

Bethel New Life operates as a new breed of community investment organization on Chicago’s West Side which includes Chicago’s Austin, West and East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and North Lawndale communities. We are focused on creating opportunities to bring individuals and families out of poverty and bringing about system and policy changes necessary to lift an entire community out of poverty. We invest in people who are ready to invest in themselves and we impact the systems and policies that dampen the human spirit and prevent communities from thriving.

Mission

To realize God’s vision of a restored society by creating opportunities for individuals and families to invest in themselvesand by promoting policies and systems that help communities thrive.

Vision

“If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon. 11 And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry. 12 Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses.” Isaiah 58:9-12

History

The riots of the late 1960s and early 1970s left the West Garfield Park community in shambles. Homeowners, landlords, banks, businesses and investors fled this West Side Chicago neighborhood. In their wake came poverty, uneployment, and despair.

But a small neighborhood church chose to make an impact in their community. Bethel Lutheran Church members, spurred by their faith, decided to fight the poverty and hopelessness. In 1979, they invested their few dollars to buy and rehab a three-flat apartment building. In doing so, they gave birth to Bethel New Life.

Over the years, Bethel New Life has led the way in the community development movement. Our initial efforts focused on real estate development and affordable housing. Like many community development corporations, we also began social programs in areas of community need through leveraging community assets. In our first three decades,Bethel built 1,200 affordable homes, advocated for social reforms, provided in-home care to the elderly, welcomed people home from prison to find legal employment, provided programs for neighborhood youth, were instrumental in the development of community investment vehicles such as the New Market Tax Credit program and led efforts at the local and national level in community development and transformation.

Today, Bethel is focused on connecting the economy of the West Side to the larger region, improving the capacity of the West Side to benefit from investment, and creating opportunities to bring individuals and families out of poverty through a focus on education and jobs creation.

Since 1979, Bethel has earned a national reputation for cutting edge initiatives and pioneering approaches that build on the people, physical assets, and faith base of the community.

Board of Directors

Officers

Chair: Nat Piggee, HP3 Law
Vice Chair: Geoffrey Koss, The Private Bank
Treasurer: Bruce Martin, JP Morgan Chase
Secretary: Jill Schumann, Leading Age Maryland

Directors

Dr. Cynthia Barnes-Boyd, UIC Neighborhoods Initiative
Dale & Jackie Bruckner, Peregrine, Stime, Newman, Ritzman, & Bruckner, Ltd
Steven Cole, Urban Initiatives
Andrew Curtis, Anthem Marketing
Rev. Dr. Sherman Hicks, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Annie Mae Liddell, Community Member
KaanaeliMakundi, Community Member
Jewel Mandeville, Retired
Rev. Larry Martin, Hope Church Chicago
Paul Rimington, TheDiemasters
Valora Starr, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Jay Weaver, Walton Street Capital
Laurie Wilkinson, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Annual Reports/Financials

Bethel’s 2012 Annual Report tells the story of Bethel New Life’s investing in people and communities. Our investments strengthen the local economy, create opportunities for people to gain valuable job skills, provide needed supports to our seniors, and improve the education of our children.

Include links to
• Annual Report 2012
• Complete list of Bethel’s 2012 donors
• 990s

Working at Bethel

Thank you for your interest in joining our remarkable team!

Please mail or bring your resume to:

Bethel New Life
Attn: Human Resources
4950 W. Thomas St.
Chicago, IL 60651

Or, e-mail your resume to: careers@bethelnewlife.org

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Approach

Bethel New Life is a different kind of Investment Company, investing in people and communities to bring about community transformation. By making smart, strategic investments, Bethel and our community residents are transforming Chicago’s West Side into a place where people want to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Our work focuses primarily on the communities of Austin, East and West Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and the northern most areas of North Lawndale. These communities make up the largest neighborhood area in the Chicago region and are home to over 210,000 people, four city council wards, two state legislative districts and one congressional district.

Bethel’s core investments are in creating opportunities to bring individuals and families out of poverty, strengthening the West Side economy, and building the community’s capacity to benefit from investments through assuring that policies and systems exist that support healthy communities.

Research has indicated that there are three critical investments that can bring an end to multi-generational poverty:

1. Education
2. Living wage jobs
3. Waiting to have children until married and employed

Strengthening communities also requires the transformation of policies and systems from those that support concentrated poverty to those that support healthy communities and opportunity.To disrupt the cycle of poverty in our West Side communities, Bethel is making strategic investments in education and economic development and the policies and systems that drive and support them.

Data & Outcomes

Bethel New Life assesses our programs by measuring performance and outcomes. We apply this research in many ways—creating practical applications, identifying best practices, developing innovative pilot programs, and making recommendations for public policy change.

Bethel’s Research and Evaluation Team continually evaluates our work. By closely monitoring our programs and incorporating client feedback, we endeavor to develop replicable models, establish best practices, and share lessons learned in order to broaden the impact of our success.

These are the key metrics we regularly track to determine the return on our investments.

Education Key Metrics

Birth to Three

• # of hours of reading each day
• % of families with at least one parent employed
• % of families with stable housing
• % of families that have not moved in past year
• Age when family began reading to child
• % of families reading to child prior to age 1
• % of families reading to child > 1 hr/day
• Vocabulary at age level
• Average academic attainment
• % of parents with high school education or above
• % families under 18 at time of pregnancy
• % families with 6 or more children

Whole School Network

• Attendance rates
• ROI – Cost per 1% change in attendance rate
• Potential improvement in HS graduation rate

STEM Training

• # of students completing STEM Science Club
• % of students considering STEM career
• % of students enrolling in elective STEM courses

K-3 Public School Outcomes

• Average academic gains of students in the Brain Train
• Total cumulative academic gains by students
• Rate of learning (academic gains/time enrolled)
• Cost/student
• Gains made/dollar spent

Community Economic Development Key Metrics

Business Development

• # of businesses supported
• Annual revenues of supported businesses
• Annual revenue growth of supported businesses
• # of employees of supported businesses
• # of jobs added in past year
• # of new entrepreneurial businesses launched
• # of employees of new entrepreneurial businesses
• # of business loans made
• Amount of money lent

Workforce Development

• # of graduates of AMCP/Trades program
• % of participants graduating
• % of participants employed
• % of participants employed at 3 months
• Average wage of participants employed
• Average training cost/participant
• % of participants making academic gains
• Average academic gains made across participants
• # of workforce development participants employed
• % of workforce development participants employed
• % of workforce development participants employed at 3 months
• Average wage of workforce development participants

Asset Building

• % of participants improving credit scores
• Average gain in credit score
• % of participants purchasing new home
• % of participants with banking account

Senior Housing

Supportive Living

• # of falls
• % of residents receiving flu vaccine
• Hospitalization rate
• E/R utilization rate
• 30-day inpatient hospital readmission rate
• Occupancy rate
• Average length of stay (years)
• Length of vacancies

Independent Housing

• Occupancy rate
• Average length of vacancy (days)

External Assessments

In addition to our own assessments, Bethel New Life has been the focus of considerable research and writing over the years. Below, please find a summary of Dr. Daniel Cooper’s 2012 dissertation from Vanderbilt University that studied the non-financial impacts and implications of the foreclosure crisis for low-income minority communities. Among other questions, he sought to determine if the efforts of community-based organizations produced more stable low-income homeowners.

Dr. Cooper examined Bethel’s efforts to build affordable homes and stable homeowners on Chicago’s West Side. The study began with a database of 99 clients who purchased Bethel-built homes between 1996 and 2008. These clients also received some form of pre-purchase homeownership counseling. The history of each property was tracked to determine whether subprime loans were used, whether a leveraged refinance or subprime refinance occurred, whether a foreclosure filing occurred, and whether the homeowner was still in the home through 2011. Next, a random, matched sample of similar properties was created, and the history of each of these properties was tracked along the same variables. When comparing the two samples, it was found that:

• Bethel purchasers were significantly (1.7 times) less likely to use a subprime purchase loan
• Bethel purchasers were significantly (1.4 times) less likely to use a leveraged refinance
• Bethel purchasers were significantly (2.6 times) less likely to have a foreclosure filing
• Bethel purchasers were significantly (2 times) more likely to still be in their home through 2011

For a powerpoint summarizing his research, see this link. To contact Dr. Dan Cooper, email dan.g.cooper@gmail.com.

Evaluation of Community Impact

Evaluating community impact is challenging. For every measure of potential impact, there are a number of factors that could contribute — including the investments of Bethel New Life. We have determined to measure community impact by evaluating the quality of life of the community, as reflected in two standardized ratings:

1. Hardship Index: : click here
2. Opportunity Index Activity: Created by Opportunity Nation + Applied to Chicago’s West Side communities – click here

To the extent that we are able, we include direct contributions from Bethel’s investment efforts in our evaluation. The variability of these scores from quarter to quarter and year to year can provide some information as to the improving health of the West Side communities.

Community Economic Development

Total $ contributed to West Side economy
Total new $ contributed to West Side economy
Economic impact of these investments
Cumulative wage contribution of all participants to West Side economy
Economic impact of these investments
Cumulative asset building of participants
Economic impact of these investments

Education

Change in target school standardized test scores
Change in target school attendance
% of target school performing at or above grade level in K-3
Potential improvement in HS graduation rate

Senior Housing

Annual cumulative cost to Medicaid (tax payers)
Annual average HS$ saved by LOS at SLF (yrs) – $9,908,334
Cumulative annual savings to tax payer from SLF – $8,437,034