One of the tools we are exploring and developing how to help communities think about the social capital impact of actions or policies proposed by governments, businesses or non-profit organizations. It goes without saying that this tool is probably most useful not for actions or policies expressly designed to increase local social capital but for policies that are being considered without an examination of their effect on social capital.

This is clearly a work in progress, but here are a handful of items that we hope will be of use.

1) Overview papers:

An overview paper by Abigail Williamson on the idea of Social Capital Impact Assessment. Click here for a PDF.

An overview paper by Thomas Sander prepared for our third Saguaro meeting. Click here for a PDF.

2) Written testimony that was presented in the proposed widening of Interstate 93 (in New Hampshire) on the social capital impact of that action. (The testimony was prepared by Abigail Williamson for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.) Click here for a PDF.

3) The sense of how best to do Social Capital Impact Assessment from a Saguaro Seminar sub-group (when it should be used, by whom, what types of questions asked, etc.). Click here for a PDF.

4) A social capital assessment project conducted by the town of Candia, New Hampshire.

5) Berlin Federal Prison: The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Androscoggin Valley Economic Recovery Corp. Prison Task Force agreed to partner on a “Social Capital Impact Assessment” for the Berlin, NH federal prison project. They have commissioned a 3-part series of articles by Lois Shea. (Part I discusses the importance of social capital and evidence of it in Berlin; Part II focuses on what the social capital impact of the prison project in Berlin might be; and Part III discusses how to maximize social capital in Berlin.)

The written testimony concerning the social capital impact of the Berlin federal prison, presented in May, 2006 is available here. (The testimony was prepared by Abigail Williamson for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.)

5) A summary document by Abigail Williamson and Lew Feldstein (2007) about takeaway lessons from the social capital impact assessment process thusfar, for community foundations or others.

If you have further questions or suggestions, you can also send an e-mail to Abigail Williamson, Lew Feldstein at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, or Tom Sander

The Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America - Harvard Kennedy School of Government
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