Institute for Social Capital

Welcome to the Institute for Social Capital, an innovative program created to foster university social and human capital research and to increase the community’s capacity for data-based planning and evaluation. Through collaboration with nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and other relevant organizations in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, the ISC has combined key sources of data into one community database.

About the program

The Institute for Social Capital, Inc. founded in 2004, merged with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in March 2012.  Its mission is to support university research and increase the community’s capacity for data informed decision-making.

At its core is a comprehensive set of administrative data gathered from governmental and nonprofit agencies in the region.  By combining key data into one community database, ISC provides a valuable resource for understanding the outcomes for the most vulnerable members of our communities from a multi-agency context. 

Through its affiliation with UNC Charlotte and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, ISC also offers valuable analytical support to assist organizations in their research and data analyses efforts. 

One of the most significant struggles facing researchers and social service organizations is the diffusion of human and social data.  Reliable data gathered from significant social service and nonprofit agencies are needed to understand the effects of relevant initiatives on planning services, program evaluations and public policy. However, such information is rarely shared across sources, limiting an organization’s ability to effectively measure outcomes.

By combining key sources of data into one community database, ISC provides a valuable resource to assess the impact of specific interventions across agency lines and to better understand the social and environmental variables that affect the community, particularly with regard to outcomes for children and families.

The ISC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to maintaining the confidentiality of these crucial data.


Articles about ISC

Bill Anderson of MeckEd  with ISC director Amy Hawn Nelson and Fincher Nelson at community event. Photo: Addie Balenger

Keep up with the Institute for Social Capital: July newsletter

News and updates from the Institute for Social Capital including notes about staff, data, research, grant opportunities and community partners. (Photo: Addie Balenger)
Neighbors from Coventry Woods in east Charlotte wore matching green T-shirts. Photo: Mary Newsom

A day for neighborhoods to explore their future

If Charlotte is a city of neighborhoods, what happens when almost 20 of those neighborhoods spend a half-day at a retreat to encourage goal-setting? (Photo: Mary Newsom)

ISC Newsletter February 2014

Stay up-to-date with all the ISC news. Check out our February 2014 newsletter.

Angst over Common Core test scores misses the point

Much of the publicity about the Common Core has focused on test results. It should be on the changes these new standards bring to curriculum and instruction. We had set the bar too low, and we needed to broaden the teaching methods and concepts offered to students. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)

Institute for Social Capital newsletter, October 2013

The Institute for Social Capital's mission is to provide social resources that advance university research and increase the community’s capacity for data-based planning and evaluation. Find out about the ISC's recent activities, new staff and learn about the organization and structure of the institute in this quarterly newsletter.(Photo Wade Bruton)

Do we remember whose shoulders we stand upon?

Last Thursday the community memorialized Julius Chambers. Speakers described him as brilliant. Committed. Humble. Courageous. Unrelenting. A drum major for justice. A fighter for America. A giant among men, though quiet and short in stature. A man who changed the lives of millions of people. (Photo: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library)

With data, numbers can’t speak for themselves

In 2007, Shamrock Gardens Elementary in east Charlotte was showing big improvements, and after years of being listed as a school that could be taken over by the state for low performance, it was close to coming off that list. Then suddenly test scores plummeted. What happened? (Photo: Nancy Pierce)

Rethinking high-stakes testing

In today’s educational climate, testing scandals are commonplace. But does that mean that testing is wrong? Is it even possible to use quantitative test data yet avoid the pitfalls we're finding in high-stakes testing? (Photo: Nancy Pierce)

Harness the power of data: Charlotte Data Day

On March 26 the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will host a forum in uptown Charlotte designed to tell the public about powerful sources of data and how to use them.

Institute for Social Capital names new director

Amy Hawn Nelson, a Mecklenburg County educator with a strong record in improving the academic outcomes for at-risk students, has been named director of UNC Charlotte’s Institute for Social Capital.