Cash Value: Putting Money into the Pockets of Working Poor Families

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Cash Value: Putting Money into the Pockets of Working Poor Families

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By Mae Watson Grote and Nini Duh


The authors are grateful to the following colleagues who provided valuable suggestions and guidance: Thomas Adcock, Haidee Cabusora, Michael Collins, Marc Khouzami, Steve Lee, Becky Smith, Jennifer Tausig and Sean Wolters.


Practitioners engaged in the nascent field of financial development lack a shared system of tracking and analyzing customer progress toward financial security. Practice leaders—ranging from direct service organizations such as the Chicago-based LISC to NeighborWorks America of Washington, D.C.—define customer progress by their individual outcomes frameworks. But without uniform outcomes measures to assess our customers’ progress—and thus, our own performance—the field as a whole is handicapped. Many factors contribute to this problem, two being most prominent: organizations are grounded in distinct theories of change, are funded by a variety of sources with their own expectations, and lack of clarity about how to measure aspects of our work.

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