LISC publishes analysis of successful scaling

Date Published: 12/18/2012

How do you replicate a successful program from one community to more places to help more people? This report examines how LISC developed an innovative program to help low-income families improve their financial condition in one place (Chicago) and replicated it in 22 cities. Called Financial Opportunity Centers, this program has helped thousands of people find jobs, save money and build a stronger financial future.

Expanding Financial Opportunity: LISC's Experience With Scaling Up Financial Opportunity

Authors: Chris Walker & Dana Huff, LISC Research and Assessment


There is strong interest nationally in scaling up social innovations that are known to work, but which have not been widely adopted because of a lack of capital, technical and institutional support or sufficient political backing. One such program that has overcome these obstacles is the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC), which advise low-income people on their finances and help them to get the public benefits they are entitled to, build their access to credit and obtain and keep jobs.

LISC's experience adds to a growing body of knowledge about how best to scale up projects, from research and development to full rollout. The early phase in Chicago saw the adoption of the core FOC program approach, the evolution of organizational responses to implementation challenges and the development of a broader network able to provide the needed external supports. Building on that experience, LISC developed the national framework needed to roll out the FOC program in other cities, confirming the lessons from Chicago and further developing strategies for building up local support.

The FOC rollout also demonstrated how critical it is to have an infrastructure in place to support the scaling up of social innovations, one that is able to set standards for service delivery, measure performance, provide technical assistance and training and develop new ideas in support of continuing operations. Continued[+]...

> Download the full study (PDF, 392 KB)

> Learn more about LISC's Financial Opportunity Centers

Type: Case study / model practice, Research paper