Social Return on Investment & Economic Impact Study 2019

Family Services NY is a non-profit human services agency initially founded in 1879 as the Charity Organization Society. In 1994, Family Services bought the old Poughkeepsie High School on North Hamilton Street to create the Family Partnership Center (FPC). The Center was founded in order to help families and individuals in need obtain crucial services such as health care, education, community events, recreation, family planning, food security, and housing aid. Having all of these services under one roof allows families in Poughkeepsie to enrich their lives holistically. The purpose of this social return on investment (SROI) and Economic Investment (EI) study is to assess the value of the FPC to the surrounding community. Based on this study:
  • FPC contributes $6.7 million in overall economic activity and 68 jobs in Dutchess County annually.
  • FPC contributes $15.5 million and 146 jobs in NYS annually inclusive of Dutchess County.
  • For every dollar spent by an FPC program, their short-term social return on investment averages at $72 per individual contact.
  • An estimated 45,000 individuals are served annually with a minimum of 110,000 service interactions.



The Impacts of the Adoption of the Homestead/Non Homestead Property Tax System in Ossining
This Study explores the homestead/non-homestead property tax tax option for mitigation of demonstrable property tax burden inequities in the Westchester County town of Ossining, where there are extensive number of condominiums. It includes a thorough review of the creation of this option in state law, including  its purpose and its actual impact in Ossining and other lower Hudson communities, including unintended consequences. It concludes that the impact of change would be so draconian on a significant minority of town taxpayers that this change in local policy should not be adopted without the passage of state legislation that would diminish the tax shock attendant to achieving tax fairness.  Suggestions for changes in state law are included.





Social Return on Investment & Economic Impact Study 2018
Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) is a unique resource in Westchester County impacting the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, vulnerable children, and families by providing direct medical, dental, clinical, and social services; conducting innovative research to inform best practices in the field; and training current and future professionals. The purpose of this social return on investment (SROI) and Economic Investment (EI) study is to assess the economic value of WIHD through its programs, staff, and expenditures.
This study specifically focuses on the value of the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD). Surveys were distributed to the programs involved requiring information about their mission, services provided, vendors, and employees. SROI studies can be applied across various types of organizations. The ratio calculated depicts a wealth of information on which to base decisions. It justifies the value-for-money of educational and public health interventions. SROI analyses tell a story of change and social impact, one that is often used to make larger decisions about improvements that can be made to better society.





Newburgh Armory Unity Center Literacy Education Advocacy Partnership: Efficacy of an Innovative Community-Based Collaborative
Newburgh Armory Unity Center Literacy Education Advocacy Partnership: Efficacy of an Innovative Community-Based Collaborative Program analyzes the effect of literacy programs delivered at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and operated by Mount Saint Mary College and SUNY New Paltz. The Newburgh Armory Unity Center is a community-based organization that offers educational, health, and sports programming to Newburgh youth and adults in state-of-the-art instructional and athletic spaces and meeting rooms seven days a week all year long. The report documents the success of these literacy programs in enhancing the literacy skills of participating Newburgh youth, as well as the effect of the programs on the teachers who instruct these children. As such, these programs can serve as a model for others who seek to enhance literacy in their communities.







Time on Test
Recent debates and policy choices about placing limits on testing time in schools are missing a key point: the proper measurement of time devoted to state-administered standardized assessment must include both the time spent on the actual tests and the added “fixed costs” to deliver these tests. These “fixed costs” include, for example, the time used to set up the classroom, ensure the certain students get their accommodations, count and distribute the tests, read directions, and then reorient students back to instruction after the conclusion of the test. Using this common-sense standard, authors Robin Jacobowitz and KT Tobin show that New York State 3-8 testing consumes approximately 2 percent of the minimum required annual instructional hours for these grades. This is double the 1 percent limit that the NYS legislature placed on State assessments during its 2014 legislative session. And it amounts to lost instructional time for students, and lost teaching time for teachers. Time on Test: The Fixed Costs of 3-8 Standardized Testing in New York State, a report of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, is based upon evidence provided from teachers across New York State. Findings also show that&nbspthe testing process forces a reallocation of resources for all students, regardless of whether or not they are in a testing grade. This is a displacement of resources from their intended and appropriate target in order to accommodate NYS 3-8 assessments.
Time on Test - Appendices


An Inventory of Mid-Hudson Local Governments’ Website and Social Media Usage
An Inventory of Mid-Hudson Local Governments, a new report from The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, explores how municipalities in our region are utilizing technology to inform and engage residents.
eGovernment has become a principle means of communication and interaction with citizens in contemporary America. The report, authored by KT Tobin, associate director of The Benjamin Center, with assistance from New Paltz student and Cetrino Scholar Emily Vanderpool ’16 (Economics), compares current practices to those of five years ago to document the progress that cities, towns and villages in our Mid-Hudson area (Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties) have made in the use of technology in governance. The Benjamin Center repeated the research methods of its initial 2010 study, deploying a team of six undergraduate data collectors to track whether or not local governments had websites, and if so, what types of information were being posted on them and their ease of navigation. This year the Center also looked at whether municipalities had a social media presence.
Full report with more detail and our works cited list



Mid Hudson Arts and Culture: the Economic Impact
The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz has released a groundbreaking regional report on "Mid-Hudson Arts & Culture: The Economic Impact." The study, based upon data gathered from or descriptive of 517 arts & culture organizations in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties, confirms that arts/culture is of fundamental importance not only to our regional quality of life but also to our regional pocketbook.
Supported by a grant from the New York Community Trust Arts & Culture Research Fund, the Benjamin Center measured the aggregate economic impact of arts and cultural organizations in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
The Benjamin Center Director Gerald Benjamin said of the study, "We hoped and believed that if we could demonstrate a substantial economic impact by arts and cultural institutions in the region, one that paralleled their already widely appreciated social and cultural impact, greater support for them would flow, and the region would benefit in multiple ways. As you will see, we were not disappointed in our findings."
The key findings:
Almost half a billion dollars in economic activity is generated by this sector, anddirectly or indirectly arts and culture provides employment for almost 5,000 Mid-Hudson Valley residents.
Additionally, audience spending on lodging, food, recreation, retail and transportation injected $498 million directly into the region's economy; the value of volunteer labor added an additional $28.7 million.
The report finds that the culture sector in Dutchess County has a total economic impact of $28.5 million and creates 1,015 jobs; Orange County's sector generates $33.1 million and 485 jobs; Putnam County's sector generates $11.5 million impact and 159 jobs; Rockland County's sector generates $26.4 million and 320 jobs; Sullivan County's sector generates $32.6 million and 344 jobs; Ulster County's sector generates $23.5 million and 372 jobs; and Westchester's sector generates $300 million and 1,103 jobs.
Download the Report

CRREO Plays a Role in Redistricting
Every 10 years in the United States a census is taken.  In New York census is used to redraw legislative district lines to reflect changes in population, and ideally demographics, in the state.
The Benjamin Center has been playing an active role in the redistricting process by creating alternatives to the plans proposed (and accepted) by the legislators themselves, as well as analyzing and commenting on the process and outcomes of redistricting throughout the state. Some of our work has been published in newspapers throughout New York State.
Click Here to see CRREO's Work on Redistricting in New York State

Regional Well-Being
The Benjamin Center has released the first annual Regional Well-Being Report. The Regional Well-Being Project was launched by the Benjamin Center in 2008 to identify agreed-upon values and goals and to develop ways of measuring the Mid-Hudson Valley communities' broadly-accepted social, economic and environmental character, and allow the tracking of change through time. The research team and community advisory group assembled for this endeavor includes members of the Benjamin Center staff, New Paltz faculty and students, and a diverse group of community leaders.
The first report on measuring Regional Well-Being, which includes a Regional Well-Being Index, was released on June 2, 2010. Regularly appearing follow-up reports will be central to the continuing work of the Benjamin Center. Through these efforts we seek to inform decision making in the region, focus its efforts, identify opportunities, highlight successes and bring attention where improvement is needed.
The project is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education, obtained with the assistance of New York's United States Senator Charles Schumer.
Download the Report in PDF


Intergovernmental Collaboration in Ulster County Study
This study is funded by Ulster County, and is the largest of its type in New York State. It seeks to identify areas where cost savings and efficiencies can be achieved through collaboration amongst municipalities in Ulster County.  It focuses on three major areas: transportation, economic development and the justice courts.


Download the Report as a PDF
For the full report, including our partner's portions, please visit the Ulster County website.  The various parts of the report are in the section "Shared Services".


A Collaborative Approach to County Jailing in the Hudson Valley
Under the leadership of Orange County, with the collaboration of Ulster and Sullivan Counties, and with financial support of the Local Government Efficiency Program of the New York State Department of State, this research was undertaken to determine the degree to which counties in the Hudson Valley, by working together, might reduce the costs their jails.
We consider here not only the potential through collaboration to avoid newly incurred capital costs for jails in Hudson Valley, but also possibilities for controlling or diminish operating costs by this means, while continuing to fully assure public safety and the professional operation of jail facilities.
To assure that we could achieve a full regional perspective, we sought to include the five Hudson Valley counties in the region that were not sponsoring this study: Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Greene and Columbia. Representatives of the three sponsoring counties and each of these were invited to serve on an advisory panel of regional jail administrators; all but Greene chose to participate.
Pattern for Progress was engaged as a project partner to focus in particular on how the jail situation in Sullivan County had reached the critical point where, months later, a portion of the facility had to be closed by the state Commission on Correction.
The Full Report can be Downloaded Here


The Sullivan County Jail: What does the History of the State’s Oldest Jail Suggest for its Future?
This research was initiated under the leadership of Orange County, with the collaboration of Ulster and Sullivan Counties, and with financial support of the Local Government Efficiency Program of the New York State Department of State, to determine the degree to which counties in the Hudson Valley, by working together, might reduce the costs of their jails.
Research included discussions with the Sullivan County manager and the chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature, the current and former jail administrators, current and former employees,and state organizations such as NYSAC (New York State Association of Counties), supported by a thorough media reviewand examination of historical documents.FOIL requests to the State Commission of Correction (SCOC) and Sullivan County for additional documents were also utilized.