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

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


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