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Can Ukraine Transform Post-Crisis Property Compensation and Reconstruction? Recommendations for the Diia Platform and eRecovery Program

February 7, 2024

The potential for Ukraine's eRecovery program to help transform post-crisis property compensation and restitution globally is hard to overstate. The program allows Ukrainians whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by Russian aggression to apply for and receive compensation through the Ukrainian government's Diia e-government platform. This innovation marks the first-ever example of a compensation process for damaged or destroyed property that is implemented digitally, at scale, while hostilities are ongoing. If managed effectively, it could significantly decrease the time and costs of getting displaced persons back into their homes, while increasing the transparency and security of the property return process. The program faces significant but addressable challenges, including legal ambiguities, technical limitations, and practical issues in implementation. The eRecovery program is a dynamic case study of government innovation that highlights the complexities and opportunities in digital governance for crisis recovery. It also suggests a need for active refinement to ensure effectiveness and inclusivity in addressing widespread displacement and property damage.The efficiency and fairness with which a country can restore property rights to victims of conflict plays a decisive role in that country's post-crisis recovery and trajectory toward stability. The success and potential replication of Ukraine's approach could highlight the transformative power of digital public infrastructure to strengthen crisis management and recovery efforts while limiting the potential for corruption. The current moment presents a significant and time-sensitive opportunity to help shape the eRecovery program to better serve the needs of all Ukrainians. Included in this report are recommendations designed for Ukrainian government administrators and international partners supporting humanitarian and recovery efforts. Recommendations fall broadly into two categories: some are specific to interoperability and the Diia platform, and others encompass recommendations to foster an effective, fair, and trusted recovery program.

True Cost of Food: Food is Medicine Case Study

September 26, 2023

This report, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, features two national case studies evaluating the health equity and economic benefits of medically tailored meals (MTMs) and produce prescription programs. This provides the first "true cost" analysis of implementing Food is Medicine programs across the country. The report's top-line findings show that national implementation of MTMs in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance for patients with both a diet-related condition and limited ability to perform activities of daily living could avert approximately 1.6 million hospitalizations and result in an estimated net savings of $13.6 billion in health care costs in the first year alone. Further, national implementation of produce prescription programs for patients with both diabetes and food insecurity could avert 292,000 cardiovascular events and add 260,000 quality-adjusted life years—a measure of how well a treatment lengthens or improves patients' lives—while being highly cost-effective from a health care perspective and cost-saving from a societal perspective.

Energy Equity: US Opportunities for Data Science, Machine Learning & AI Policy Impact

April 18, 2023

Globally, energy access is driven by infrastructure, or lack thereof, but energy equity issues in the US are driven by household income, with few options for most households to use less expensive and more sustainable energy sources. This landscape analysis digs into equity issues in US energy access, with options for data science to improve research provide better data to regulators.

Data Science for Water Justice: Climate Change and Drought in the Colorado River Basin

April 18, 2023

Climate change threatens the hydrological cycle the globe over, increasing the likelihood of extreme events and dramatically altered ecosystems. The impacts of these events are most felt by those least able to adapt or move away from them. This paper uses a global framework to identify key data science engagement points, and illustrates these points in the case of the Colorado River Basin (CRB), a social-ecological system that provides a case study emblematic of many climate change accelerated water justice challenges.

Harnessing the Power of Data: Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge Impact Report

March 23, 2023

With generous support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Rockefeller Foundation, issued an open call in May 2020 for breakthrough ideas that harness the power of data to help people and communities rebound and remain resilient in the wake of COVID-19 and its economic impact.Through the Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge, sought to address a systemic issue: the majority of social initiatives don't have the budget, staff, capacity, or partnerships to take full advantage of our current data revolution. But with support, mission-driven organizations can use data, tools, and methods to make their work go further and faster, helping more people.After thorough review, we awarded $10 million in funding and technical assistance across eight exemplary awardees from a pool of over 1,200 applications, and the Paul Ramsay Foundation funded a ninth project. These awardees show the range of opportunities that exist to use data to drive social impact for workers, entrepreneurs, and communities. 

Financing Digital Public Infrastructure Approaches to Sustain Digital Transformation

December 8, 2022

Digital public infrastructure (DPI) can support better people-centered outcomes, but for the emerging field to live up to its promise, there must be a clear path to sustainable financing. Mounting evidence shows that DPI systems can transform the delivery of services across the public and private sectors by enabling identity verification, digital payments, data sharing, and other essential, society-wide functions. Global leaders across many sectors are assessing how to pursue DPI collaboratively, safely, and effectively, given the long-term implications for the health and vibrancy of societies. This report maps existing DPI funding models and examines the challenges underlying sustainable financing approaches. It concludes with recommendations for improved collaboration across the ecosystem to develop and scale open DPI. Most importantly, financing architecture that aligns the resources and incentives of key governmental, private-sector, philanthropic, and multilateral organizations can be a driving force for inclusive digital transformation.

Evaluation of the Baltimore Health Corps Pilot: An Economic and Public Health Response to the Coronavirus

September 30, 2022

The Baltimore Health Corps was a city-run pilot launched in June 2020 and concluding in December, 2021. The pilot simultaneously addressed two issues: the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting employment crisis faced by Baltimore residents.The Baltimore City Health Department and the Mayor's Office of Employment Development led the Baltimore Health Corps, drawing on their experiences with equitable recruitment and hiring practices, workforce-supporting activities and public health worker training. Together, they led a team of public and private partners that included the Baltimore Civic Fund, Baltimore Corps, HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM), Jhpiego and the Mayor's Office of Performance and Innovation.The initiative tracked those who contracted the virus at the height of the pandemic and connected COVID-19-positive individuals with testing, resources and other assistance. In doing so, the Baltimore Health Corps also placed unemployed workers on a path to high-quality, lasting careers via temporary positions as community health workers with the Baltimore City Health Department and HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM). The program hired from a pool of Baltimore residents who reflected the city's racial and ethnic demographics and were unemployed, underemployed or furloughed because of the pandemic. By September 2021, 336 health workers had received training and took on roles within either the Health Corps' contact tracing and outreach program or the care coordination and access program.While these health worker positions were intended to last just eight months, as the pandemic persisted, the jobs were extended thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. As of May 2022, 126 Baltimore Health Corps workers remain employed with either the health department or HCAM, while 119 former staff members have since moved on to other employment opportunities.This is the Final Report to follow the Early Lessons Report for the Baltimore Health Corps Pilot Study. Readers are encouraged to review the Early Lessons Report for a detailed description of the formation of the Pilot Study, the role of each partner, as well as findings from the first year of the Pilot Study.

Urban Resilience: From Global Vision to Local Practice - Final Outcome Evaluation of the 100 Resilient Cities Program

September 15, 2022

Summer hailstorms in Mexico City, weeks-long heat waves in India, hurricane-force winds off the Great Lakes—extreme weather events are becoming commonplace, testing the resilience of local and regional governments across the world. But urban resilience extends beyond weathering climate shocks. It also entails maintaining and improving infrastructure, ecology, economy, and community at the city level.For six years, from 2013 to 2019, the 100 Resilient Cities program sought to boost the capacity of local governments across all facets of urban resilience. Although the program ended earlier than anticipated, its unprecedented breadth of participating cities and scope of intervention provided potential lessons for cities across the world as they prepare for and face an increasingly uncertain future.KEY TAKEAWAYSThe 100 Resilient Cities program included three cohorts of cities from across the globe, each of which experienced three interventions to improve city governance operational and planning capacity for resilience: the creation and selection of a Chief Resilience Officer, the development and publication of a resilience strategy, and the implementation of that strategy, with technical support provided by the program. The Urban Institute monitored and evaluated the core features of the 100 Resilient Cities program for almost seven years, with this final report focusing on the outcomes for city planning and operations attributable to interventions across a 21-city sample. From this program, we believe the following lessons learned can help cities improve their resilience moving forward.Cities must focus on chronic social vulnerability in addition to unexpected shocks. Although cities must be prepared for extreme weather events and civil unrest, both of which can cause extreme devastation, they must also address ongoing issues, such as failing infrastructure and health care accessibility.Chief Resilience Officers and robust networks can facilitate city-to-city learning. As with any program, collaboration and sharing of knowledge can benefit all parties involved. The network of Chief Resilience Officers could advocate for successful resilience strategies from other cities, which could lead to more collaboration in local governments and across regions.Resilient governance requires more voices to be involved in planning and development. Foregrounding inclusion and equity is crucial for building resilience, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to many underlying systemic inequities in countries across the world.Resilience building takes a long time. Despite the necessary urgency of building resilience, solutions take a long time to implement and need consistent funding and support to fulfill their potential. When the 100 Resilient Cities program ended early, many cities had developed plans and strategies but lost the support that would have helped them enact those solutions. Ongoing political and funder support is critical for long-term resilience.

Gaps and Opportunities: Supporting Boston’s BIPOC Small Businesses

July 20, 2022

Small businesses play a central role in cities: they foster growth and innovation in local economies, provide critical jobs for residents, contribute to the vibrancy of urban corridors, and help to anchor neighborhoods. However, over the last two years, the pandemic has devastated the small business community, forcing many to shutter their doors. Nationally, the number of active business owners fell by 22 percent from February to April 2020. Black-owned businesses closed at almost twice the rate of other businesses, experiencing a 41 percent drop during that time.Against this more recent backdrop, the racial wealth gap continues to persist, as systemic bias contributes to white households both earning more and having more — and more valuable — assets on average than households of color. These gaps not only manifest in personal and household wealth, but in small business creation and operation as well. Boston has the potential to be a model for other cities by moving aggressively and intentionally to close these gaps, including by addressing biases that limit the opportunities of small business owners and entrepreneurs of color.Based on in-depth, structured, qualitative interviews with leaders across 30 nonprofits, community-based organizations, city agencies, and others, this report seeks to:reveal the strengths and weaknesses of Boston's ecosystem of small business advocates, funders, and technical assistance providerscapture their views on the challenges confronting our region's BIPOC small business owners and entrepreneurs, andcollect their ideas for changes in the future. It endeavors to provide new intelligence and insights, not just for Boston but for other cities.

Tackling the Dual Economic and Public Health Crises Caused by Covid-19 in Baltimore: Early Lessons from the Baltimore Health Corps Pilot

April 13, 2022

On March 12, 2020, the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in Baltimore City. Its infection rate increased rapidly through March and into April and May, proving to be 4 times higher among Latino residents and 1.5 times higher among Black residents than the city's White population. At the same time, the city's unemployment rate surged from 4.9 percent in March to a peak of 11.6 percent in April 2020. In June, The Rockefeller Foundation supported the Baltimore City government in launching the Baltimore Health Corps (BHC), a pilot program to recruit, train, and employ 275 new community health workers who were unemployed, furloughed, or underemployed, living in neighborhoods hardest hit by the health crisis and especially those residents unemployed as a result of Covid-19. BHC used equitable recruitment and hiring practices to employ contact tracers, care coordinators, and support staff, with a focus on good jobs, fair pay, training, skill-building, and support to improve career trajectories. This report, compiling data and interviews midway through the project, is a look at some of the early successes and the challenges ahead.

EITC Pooled Fund: A Decade of Advancing Tax Fairness and Opportunity

April 11, 2022

A 10-year summary of the EITC Pooled Fund, detailing The Fund's history, structure, impact, lessons learned, and the work that lies ahead.

The Path Forward: A Post-Omicron Strategy for the Global COVID-19 Response

March 28, 2022

At this pivotal moment, the world's response to the pandemic must shift from emergency crisis management to a sustainable control strategy. This strategy should help to build resilient health systems with capabilities to address potential future COVID-19 outbreaks and other public health threats. Driving the urgent need for an updated strategy are important recent developments related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the impact of current vaccines, and the world's response to the pandemic.