Massachusetts Housing Program is Finalist for $100,000 Prize

The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance’s “Pay for Success” program is one of the top 10 finalists for the $100,000 Drucker Prize award.

The Drucker Institute recognizes non-profit organizations at a national level. Peter Drucker helped create philosophical and practical base for contemporary business and established the institute that has awarded the prize over the last 27 years.

“It feels great to be a finalist,” said Joe Finn, President & Executive Director of MHSA. “Everyone was very excited about it.”

MHSA’s Pay for Success Initiative is the first program of its kind in Massachusetts. The program uses a mix of philanthropic and private investments to provides permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals. Permanent supportive housing gives these individuals stable homes and the resources they need to maintain housing and address medical needs. They’re also less reliant on public resources like emergency shelters.

Pay for Success is based on MHSA’s Home and Healthy for Good program which has helped over 1,000 chronically homeless people find permanent housing. Pay for Success continues this work and, according to MHSA September Fact Sheet, the program has housed 729 tenants.

“This prize will broaden the program’s scope significantly,” said Finn. “Increasing the opportunity of low-threshold housing to chronically homeless adults across Massachusetts and supporting our partners in this effort.”

Between 200 and 800 organizations apply for the Drucker Prize every year, starting in February. In 2018, 509 applications were submitted. The first round of applications are vetted by a team of judges made up of Ph.D. students from Clermont University. The top 50 semi-finalists are then chosen to go through a second round where their executive directors or CEO complete the next part of the application.

“We take them through a series of very short learning modules and we ask them, ‘What’s an idea that you just learned about that you might like to try to implement? What kind of results do you think you might get for your organization?’”said Laura Roach, Director of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Engagement at Drucker Institute. “We are teaching easily actionable tools for effectiveness to the people who are actually poised to be able to make those changes within their organizations,”

From the pool of 50 semi-finalists, Drucker Institute’s staff narrows it down to the final 10. The final 10 went through a panel of external judges in early September who will select the winner of the cash prize. Once the winner has been chose, the Drucker house will host a celebratory gathering of about 30 people to present the check and celebrate the organization’s success.

If MHSA is awarded the $100,000 cash prize, they plan to develop new ideas and innovations while developing measures and more efficient approaches to end homelessness.

“It’s not small when you make it to the finalist stage,” said Roach. “[MHSA] is a high performing organization and what’s really powerful about the promise of their innovation is that they really could end homelessness in Massachusetts. It’s really possible based on what they revealed to us. MHSA definitely deserves to be here.”

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