Social capital refers to connections, networks, or relationships among people and the value that arises from them. It can be accessed or mobilized to help individuals succeed in life. It produces information, emotional or financial support, and/or other resources. Examples of ways to build social capital include being part of faith-based networks, mentoring, having peer support, and positive parenting. Social capital gives people information, emotional and financial support, and other resources. It also allows people to develop trust as they connect with other people. This increased level of trust makes it easier for people to work together to achieve shared goals.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, RTI International, and the ncIMPACT Initiative at the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, partnered together on the project “Strengthening Services through Social Capital.”
The ncIMPACT Initiative, along with our partners, set out to answer the following question:
How do organizations, including faith-based, non-profit, and public agencies, in low-income communities currently build and leverage social capital to reduce poverty, increase employment, and improve child and family well-being?
The project used interviews, surveys, and focus groups with a national panel of practitioner and academic experts, a comprehensive national scan of programs using social capital building methods, and site visits to and case studies of recognized successful programs across the country, to better understand how human services organizations help participants build and leverage social capital to improve economic opportunity. See below for excerpts from a selection of the resulting research products prepared by ncIMPACT staff, often in collaboration with other personnel from the School of Government, UNC, and other organizations.
- FREE WEBINAR SERIES: Leveraging the Secret Sauce of Relationships to Improve Reentry Outcomes – The Value of Social Capital
- FREE PODCAST SERIES: Networks that Work, a podcast about the networks and relationships that make up social capital
- FREE PODCAST: CURS Viewpoints on Resilient & Equitable Responses to the Pandemic: Anita Brown-Graham on Social Capital
- FREE WEBINAR: Measuring How Social Relationships Contribute to the Outcomes of Program Participants
- HANDBOOK: The Value of Relationships – Improving Human Services Participant Outcomes Through Social Capital
- Emerging Social Capital Principles and Practices
- Strengthening Human Services through Social Capital
- A Note to Human Service Programs: Four More Practices for Building Social Capital During COVID-19
- Five Insights into How Community Development Corporations in North Carolina View Social Capital Bonds, Bridges and Links
- Strengthening the Social Capital of Incarcerated and Reentering Individuals: Six Considerations