MBA Capstone Shows Nonprofit’s Impact

Posted on May 08, 2014

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The work of Family Service of the Piedmont — promoting financial stability, providing mental health services, stemming domestic violence and preventing child abuse — has an undeniable positive social impact.

The work of a pair of MBA students from the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics proves those missions have a significant economic impact as well.

For their MBA Capstone Project, students Ashley Ferrell and Will Kapakos conducted an economic impact analysis looking at the agency’s four main service areas. Their research found Family Service of the Piedmont has a significant impact in Guilford County.

“They gave us something we’ve been trying to quantify for a while,” said Tom Campbell, the organization’s president. “We know we do good work, but funders and donors want to know more than that. We’ve been struggling to show the true economic impact that we have. These students did a lot of research to find data and studies that we could apply to our services.”

Consider a housing foreclosure. The capstone research found that one repossession results in a $2,000 decrease in property values for homes within a 500-foot radius. The $603,000 the agency spent on programs to help 365 families keep their homes in 2012 had an overall value of more than $18 million. For every $1 spent on the program, the organization returned up to $31 dollars in property value savings.

The analysis proved other services also have a high economic return on investment. The agency’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program, which has a 92 percent success rate, cost $82,000 but had an economic impact of $1.7 million. Every dollar spent saved the county $20.50 in inmate, court, probation and law enforcement costs.

The MBA Capstone Program is designed to give students hands-on, real-world experience in strategic management. UNCG’s MBA program is ranked No. 13 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek for evening programs. Since 2006, the capstone program has matched MBA students with not-for-profit and for-profit businesses throughout the Triad, including multiple projects with multinational corporations such as Volvo Group, VF Corporation, Red Hat and TE Connectivity.

“It’s the opportunity to take what the students have learned about strategy and business in the classroom and apply it in a real-world business situation,” said Bryan School Professor of Practice Richard Browne, who teaches the capstone course. “All of the projects are based on real business needs and are completed with the objective of providing immediately implementable recommendations.”

Kapakos said he gained insight that would be applicable to a variety of organizations. “This particular company is a nonprofit, but I think creating awareness of impact is a challenge to any company,” he said. “Nonprofits don’t always have the resources and revenue to work on these kinds of issues. Helping them monetize their value was very rewarding.”

Campbell said the students’ work helped solve a key problem for Family Service of the Piedmont. “This helps us talk about our impact in Guilford County,” Campbell said. “The more we can talk locally, the better.”

“The students really listened to what we needed,” he added, saying the findings could be used immediately. “There are lots of pieces that we’ll be using in a variety of ways. I’m very, very impressed.”


Reposted from UNCG News & Features

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