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

• # 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 Buildingt

• % 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.
Opportunity Index = Economy + Education + Community

Community Economic Development

Total $ contributed to West Side economy
Total new $ contributed to West Side economy
Economic impact of these investments (Factor = TBD)
Overall % of job growth to West Side
Cumulative wage contribution of all participants to West Side economy
Economic impact of these investments (Factor = TBD)
Average wage implications for lifetime earnings
Total $ contributed to West Side economy
Total new $ contributed to West Side economy
Economic impact of these investments (Factor = TBD)
Overall % of job growth to West Side
Cumulative asset building of participants
Economic impact of these investments (Factor = TBD)
Overall capital absorption capacity score
Overall quality of life score for West Side (TBD)


Change in target school standardized test scores
Change in target school attendance
% of target school performing at or above grade level in K-3
Change in classroom discipline rate in grades K-3

Senior Housing

Average length of stay
Annual cumulative cost to Medicaid (tax payers)
Quality of Life indicator (TBD)

Utilizing the Quality of Life and Opportunity Index scores, we can gain a better understanding of the changing communities in which we invest.

Success Stories

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  • Dee Caswell

    Owner – Sweat It Off Fitness
    Client – Illinois Small Business Development Center at
    Bethel New Life

    I wasn’t sure what the proper steps were to open my own business, so Bethel’s instructors were like angels to me. They took their time and helped me research and understand so many things about business that I never thought I could comprehend, like managing my finances or taking care of legal matters. They also introduced me to people and partners that were very helpful to me. Working with the SBDC has made me a smarter business owner and I would not have gotten off the ground without them.
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  • Felicia Gills

    Owner – Lifestream Transportation, Inc
    Participant – Entrepreneurship Training Program

    I have worked with other business training programs before and many were discouraging to me. However, Bethel helped me see that there was a way to make my business work and made the entire process smoother than if I had tried to do it on my own.
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  • Miki Riley

    Owner – Accessory Me
    Participant – New Business Incubation &
    The Entrepreneurship Training Program

    The New Business Incubation program has given me access to very affordable storefront space that has allowed us to invest a much larger portion of our income into growth, rather than fi xed lease costs. this has been a tremendous financial boost for my company in the early stages of our growth.
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  • Megan Cauley

    Participant – Construction Jobs
    Education Pilot Program (C-JEPP)

    I never thought I would find myself working in the construction or electrical field, but participating in the C-JEPP program opened my eyes to career possibilities that I didn’t know were available and with C-JEPPs assistance and networking introductions, I got placed into a great new job ataldridge electric.
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  • Investing in Small Business

    Adolfo Vizcaino began his career working on air conditioning and heating systems, and quickly grew to love the work.

    As his skills continued to increase, the longtime West Side resident knew he wanted to go even further with his career – he wanted his own company.

    “My dream was to be able to wake up in the morning and work for my own business,” he says
    Today, Vizcaino is the Owner and President of Thermal Electric, Inc., an air conditioning and heating company located in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood. The business has seven additional employees who reside in the community and a client base large enough to keep them all busy. As he has grown Thermal Electric, Inc., Bethel has been at his side, first with capacity-building support from our small business counselors, and second with a New Market Tax Credit loan. Unable to obtain traditional financing, Vizcaino used the loan to build a new landscaped parking lot for the business. This created much-needed storage space for vehicles and equipment, and helped the company operate more efficiently to increase profits. In addition, the landscaped lot transformed the physical appearance of the street corner where it is located.

    However, Vizcaino, who is passionate about the air conditioning and heating service fields, says the primary goal of his business is helping people.

    “This isn’t about the money. This is about being able to help my clients when they are too hot or too cold, just because their home equipment is not functioning. Seeing my customers smile when we fix their equipment is why I do what I do.”

    For years, Bethel has helped local businesses grow and create new jobs, even in a recession, thanks to its New Market Tax Credits. Through leveraging its investments, New Life Community Investments has made $9.9 M of investments on the West Side of Chicago since 2005.

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  • Investing in Parents

    After growing up in foster care, Darlene Williams says she had no blueprint for how to be a good parent when she gave birth to her daughter Kayla.

    “If you never had love, how do you know how to show love?” says the home health care worker who is working on her Associates degree. Driven by her desire to be a good parent, Williams became involved at Bethel’s Right Start for Families program, where she gained not only encouragement, but parenting skills that gave her confidence. Throughout her participation at Bethel, she has gained skill in personal finance management, day-to-day home management, food preparation, and a variety of educational activities to do with her daughter.”Now, I do things like take Kayla to the zoo and museums whenever I can, and I cook,” says Williams. “I even have the confidence that one day I will be a homeowner.”However, she says the most important thing she learned at Bethel is the intangible art of parenting, and the importance of showing love to her daughter.”Being a parent is about loving and nurturing your child, not just about buying things,” she says.
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  • From homeless to employed

    Alisa Richmond came to Bethel for the life skills she needed to learn. Her interviewing and resume skills landed her a landscape management job.

    When Alisa Richmond came to Bethel New Life looking for housing, she did not know that she would find a stable place to live, a job, and a group of people who still continue to support her.Bethel introduced Ms. Richmond to the Career Pipeline/Job Place Program where she learned interviewing skills, appropriate business dress, and how to write a resume. She then joined the Neighborhood Clean-Up program in December of 2009, which is a program that helps former offenders find and retain
    That led Ms. Richmond to a job as a supervisor at a landscaping company.Ms. Richmond says that Bethel has provided motivation and encouragement. “They were always there to guide me.” She says that even though she has completed the program, she knows Bethel is still there for her, even if she just wants to talk.The guidance Ms. Richmond has received from Bethel has made a big difference in her life. “They made me feel more positive about myself,” she said. “It has made me a better person today.”
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  • Success in the landscaping business

    As a formerly incarcerated person, Earnest Roberts, Jr. knew that finding a job after serving time wouldn’t be easy.

    That’s why he decided to work for himself. He enrolled in Bethel’s program for entrepreneurs to pursue a dream of owning his own landscaping business.Mr. Roberts participated in Bethel’s financial education classes to prepare himself for the financial responsibility of managing his own business. He spent two years in landscape training at Chicago Christian Industrial League (CCIL). He also saved money to start his business.
    Soon, Mr. Roberts founded Roberts Landscape and Snow Removal. He bought equipment and advertisement for the new business and is currently in the process of getting his minority license with the City of Chicago. He is also working on some local contracts in the Austin neighborhood.”Bethel’s program gave me hope,” Mr. Roberts said. “I want to give thanks to the people who took the time to help me and inspire me to help others.”
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  • Living independently

    Rosie Turner has lived in a beautifully furnished apartment at Beth-Anne Residences since 2005 and has been an active member of the Bethel community for even longer.

    “I don’t know any place I would rather be.”Ms. Turner came to Bethel in 1985 when she got a job providing in-home care to seniors. Later, she was later promoted to supervisor. Now that she is retired, she volunteers with energy wherever she is
    “I enjoy being around people and being useful,” she said. Ms. Turner certainly is useful; she volunteers at her church, coordinates trips for seniors, and spends time with the seniors in Adult Day Health Care. She enjoys living in a beautiful apartment with friendly neighbors and staff.”I’ve never had a time of loneliness or sadness,” she said. “Living here is great.”
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  • Avoiding Foreclosure

    The thought of going into foreclosure can scare any homeowner. Griselda and Johnnie Jordan, a mother and daughter, bought a nice two-flat with a huge backyard four years ago.

    But after Griselda’s hours were cut at her job with Chicago Public Schools and her youngest daughter went to college, the Jordans were in danger of losing their home. Luckily, Bethel was able to step in and secure a permanent modification.Ms. Johnnie Jordan said that Bethel’s staff person who helped her avoid foreclosure “was very informative. She was like a little angel.”Johnnie said that she would recommend anybody work with Bethel to prevent foreclosure of their home.“It was a great experience,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful program.”