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PR- 337-07
September 21, 2007


Success of More Than 30 Anti-Poverty Programs to be Measured and Evaluated to Determine Additional Funding

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the selection of Westat, Inc., a nationally-recognized independent evaluator hired to assess the impact of new and innovative anti-poverty programs in New York City. Westat was selected by the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) through an RFP process to lead the evaluation efforts for more than 30 new pilot and promising programs that address poverty among three strategically selected populations in New York City:   young adults ages 16-24, the working poor, and families with children under age 5.  The Center for Economic Opportunity was established in 2006 by the Mayor in response to the work of the Commission for Economic Opportunity which he appointed to develop new strategies to tackle poverty. 

"We are investing in innovative anti-poverty programs with the intent of reducing poverty among New York City's poorest families. But we don't know that they will work without understanding the long-term impact that these programs may have," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Westat's work will help us to measure and understand the outcomes, will tell us how well they are working, and whether we should continue or end them."

"The external evaluations will help ensure high-quality program implementation and measure the economic impacts for low-income participants and communities," said Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs.  "Westat will help us determine how successful our efforts are at reducing poverty and increasing self-sufficiency among New Yorkers."

The RFP was released in July, and Westat was preliminarily selected in September through a competitive procurement process based on the strength and quality of its proposal, experience, capacity, and staff.  Westat will team up with Metis Associates to measure program success and determine whether programs should be continued.  Both Westat and Metis Associates have extensive experience working with New York City agencies and on poverty-related issues nationwide. 

"Westat and its subcontractor, Metis Associates, look forward to helping New York City better understand the effectiveness of its anti-poverty programs. Reducing poverty is vital to New York and the nation and we are enthusiastic about being able to help," said Westat Senior Vice President Dr. Alexander Ratnofsky.

The Center for Economic Opportunity has assembled an internal team led by the Director of Evaluation Kristin Morse, who has managed evaluation efforts at the Urban Institute and leading nonprofit organizations in New York City and abroad. The team will work with City agencies to coordinate the implementation of the Mayor's anti-poverty agenda and measure program performance.  "CEO's programs are results-driven and we are committed to their success.  We want to understand what works, and the evaluators will use rigorous methodologies to help inform our decisions going forward," said CEO Executive Director Veronica White. 

Center for Economic Opportunity

The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established by Mayor Bloomberg to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City. The CEO works with City agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives aimed at poverty reduction.  The CEO oversees a $150 million annual Innovation Fund and works with approximately 20 city agencies to implement over 30 programs aimed at reducing poverty among young adults ages 16-24, the working poor, and families with children under age 5.  The programs are based on the recommendations of the Mayor's Commission for Economic Opportunity and carry the Commission's charge to hold them accountable to high standards. 

Westat, Inc.

Westat is an employee-owned research firm known for the quality of its professional staff in a broad range of research areas, including statistical design, survey research, and program evaluation. Since 1961, Westat has grown steadily by serving Federal and local government agencies, private businesses, and other clients.  Current New York City clients include the Administration for Children's Services.

Metis Associates

Metis Associates will join Westat as a subcontractor and local partner in evaluating the anti-poverty initiatives launched by the CEO. Metis, a national social services research and evaluation consulting organization, has a thirty-year history of providing successful program evaluation services to clients serving the economically disadvantaged. Among their New York City agency clients are the Department of Education, the Administration for Children's Services, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Economic Development Corporation.



Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

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