William Wubbenhorst on Serve, West Dallas and FBO Evaluation
Date: March 1st, 2015

How effective are faith-based community organizations and alleviating poverty, crime, health problems, and other social ills?  William Wubbenhorst, co-founder of Social Capital Valuations LLC along with Andrew Gluck, talks about a unique collaborative effort to bring several faith-based organizations together in the community of West Dallas, Texas.  He also discusses how his firm specializes in evaluating programs such as this one for their overall effectiveness and community impact.

Our conversation begins with a discussion of the West Dallas neighborhood and the various social problems it has faced over the decades.  We then discuss the Serve, West Dallas program that consists of integrating the efforts of a variety of faith-based organizations that are sponsored by local and outlying suburban churches.  William provides us with the history of this effort, tracing it back to Arrvel Wilson who grew up in the neighborhood, left it for his military service, but was called back by God to help improve the community.  Mr. Wubbenhorst highlights a number of component parts to this program, including Service Optimizing Academic Reach (SOAR), Mercy Street Mentoring, Advocates for Community Transformation (ACT), and Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic.  He discusses some of the specific efforts undertaken by each of these individual organizations, including the importance of cupcakes (which immediately catches the attention of Tony).

We then spend some time talking about the collaborative efforts of Serve, which seeks to coordinate the activities of each of these organizations so that the causes and symptoms of poverty are addressed in a more holistic manner.  We discuss the funding of the program and whether there have been any tensions between the different faith-based organizations in vying for financial resources and territory.  Overall, William notes that the program has been successful in helping different organizations realize what other activities are going on in the community.

We then talk about William’s business and how he had a vision of providing evaluative services to faith-based organizations to help them determine whether the resources they were expending were working.  He chronicles his education and idea for creating the company, and the methodological tool that they use — the Expected Value Return on Investment model.  We discuss some of the methodological difficulties in measuring outcomes for many of these programs, including ones that have goals such as improving emotional and social learning.  He notes that his company works with these organizations to determine their definition of success and attempts to build the best metrics possible.

The final portion of our interview is spent examining the success of the different component parts of Serve.  The ACT program was the easiest to measure as crime statistics and property values were easily determined.  They found that this program, which aims to clean up abandoned houses and remove drug dens, had a huge impact, returning $5.79 to the community for each dollar spent.  Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic, which is targeted and health education and preventive care as well as monitoring diabetes, also had a very favorable return at $6.64 to $1 ratio.  We finish with William’s thoughts on the nature of this new collaborative model in the world of faith-based organizations and the importance of continual evaluation to see if resources are being used wisely.  Recorded: February 11, 2015.



William Wubbenhorst’s bio at Social Capital Valuations, LLC.

Community Transformation in West Dallas: Developing and Measuring Collective Impact Initiatives, by Byron Johnson, William Wubbenhorst, and Sung Joon Jang.  (A downloadable copy of that report is available at that link.)

Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion.


Torrey Olsen on Faith-Based Humanitarianism and World Vision.

John Rees on International Development and Faith-Based Organizations.

Jay Hein on the Faith-Based and Community Initiative.

Byron Johnson on Religion & Delinquency.

Byron Johnson on More God, Less Crime.

Sung Joon Jang on the Boy Scouts of America.

David Wills on Religious Charity and Taxes.

Dan Hungerman on Religious Charity and Crowding Out.

One Response to “William Wubbenhorst on Serve, West Dallas and FBO Evaluation”

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