Center of Hope Family Services’ Social Return on Investment


Center of Hope Community Baptist Church was first established as a small, inner-city church in 1997, in Toledo, Ohio. At that time, many communities were strongly encouraging full-time employment of parents and adults. As an unintended consequence of this push, members of the congregation noticed that many inner-city children were starting to slip through the cracks. In an effort to address this, the church established its nonprofit arm, Center of Hope Family Services.

The nonprofit team began tutoring and mentoring young children, which in turn brought the families of those children to the church, along with each family’s unique needs. Center of Hope first responded to these needs by referring the families to local social services agencies. However, the families were already familiar with them, and in fact, had already exhausted the resources available to them through these agencies. They needed Center of Hope to fill a gap in services that these other agencies simply did not have the capacity or resources to fulfill. Today, Center of Hope Family Services (COHFS) provides extensive tutoring services and quality education enrichment to students attending three of the city’s elementary schools, offers employment services to adults, and assists juveniles and their families navigate the justice system, working with attorneys and law enforcement agencies to help give these kids another chance.  
Within a short period of time, the positive impact the nonprofit was having on the community became evident. The children the organization tutored began performing better in school, adults began finding full-time employment, and juveniles with troubled pasts began making better choices—course-correcting their lives. Community members began calling on the organization to go into the school systems and juvenile justice systems to help create even more change. 
“At that time, I felt that these systems weren’t necessarily equipped to realize the kind of change that was needed to make significant improvements,” said Tracee Perryman, PhD, CEO, Center of Hope Family Services. “I decided to pursue my PhD, so that I could use research to demonstrate why our services were working, and what policies needed to change to eliminate barriers that were holding these children and families back from experiencing better outcomes.” 
From its inception, COHFS has been a data-driven organization and has prioritized the collection of participant data, combined with its approach to delivering culturally relevant programming. Historically, the organization has focused on the outcomes of the individuals and families it served, and has regularly analyzed which combinations of services were producing the best results. 
“While this analysis has been critical to our success, I knew we needed to take things to the next level,” said Dr. Perryman. “We wanted to be able to demonstrate the community impact of our services, so that the community can prioritize what’s important to children and families.” 
COHFS partnered with Measurement Resources Company to capture the organization’s social return on investment (SROI). The report, Center of Hope’s Impact and Value: A Social Return on Investment Calculation, illuminates the significant accomplishments of the organization that benefit the individuals they serve, as well as the community as a whole.
  • 63% Program Success Rate—On average, 63% of COHFS participants achieved desired outcomes.
  • $2,373 Cost Per Success—It costs COHFS approximately $2,373 to get one client to a successful outcome.
  • $16,461 in Future Community Cost Savings—For every $2,373 donated to COHFS, the organization generates at least $16,461 in per person community savings, which amounts to a
  • 594% Social Return on Investment
“I appreciated Measurement Resources’ willingness to dig into the data and use that data to answer real questions,” said Dr. Perryman. “There are so many indicators of well-being and Measurement Resources selected the indicators that were most relevant to our clients. Their commitment to this important work helps empower communities to make better decisions. And because individuals aren’t always able to adequately advocate for themselves, having this community-level data available to better allocate funding and shape policy is truly life-changing.”
In the coming months, COHFS plans to ramp up advocacy efforts around the organization’s programming, so that even more local residents can take advantage of and engage in its services. Currently, COHFS works with 600 individuals annually, and the organization is making near-term plans to expand the number of elementary schools and students it serves.