Notable Achievements – 1998 to 2018
BCAPI’s first project was the commissioning of a major Poverty Study for Saint John. The Study’s findings and recommendations were embraced by the broader community as Saint John’s first roadmap to ‘reducing poverty’. BCAPI then partnered with others to develop new programs that could successfully break the ‘cycle of poverty, for children and families.
The celebrated PALS program, Partners Assisting Local School, initiated in one school by J.K. Irving (a BCAPI Leader) in 2000, has grown to 23 schools and 150 business and community partners.
Adding to the success of PALS, BCAPI Leaders have helped to establish other ‘best practice’ programs that are closing the education achievement gap for children and youth who live in poverty. Examples include: First Steps, Teen Resource Centre, the SJ Early Learning Centre, P.R.O.Kids, Brilliant Labs, Early Literacy Friends (ELF), Bee me Kidz, Sistema, UNB’s Promise Partnership, PALS En Route to Success, Pathways to Education, Books Books Books, Achieve Literacy Together, WorkLinks.
As a result of these innovations that enrich children’s learning environments, many more children from low-income families are ready for kindergarten and are achieving early literacy success, and the high school graduation rate for children, who live in neighbourhoods burdened with concentrated poverty, has increased from less than 50% to 78%.
BCAPI has insisted on solid research to guide priorities and rigorous evaluation to track progress. All programs must aim to strengthen children’s health, education and social foundations to help them realize economic self-sufficiency by adulthood. Measuring return on investment has also been introduced by BCAPI and demonstrated by two of the programs. The ROI for First Steps is 6:1 and the ROI for the WorkLinks is 5:1. The results on all fronts are clearly demonstrating that ‘education achievement’ is the strongest pathway out of poverty and brings highest return on investment.
BCAPI has helped to build and evolve Saint John’s Poverty Reduction Strategy that focuses on the improving health, education and employment outcomes for families in low-income neighbourhoods and expanding investments in this work from all sectors. Saint John’s progress in ending generational poverty has influenced the development of New Brunswick’s Poverty Reduction Plan and recently caused the NB Government to announce a $10 million dollar social innovation fund for Saint John. Our city is being recognized as a poverty reduction leader among cities, from coast to coast in Canada and was named one of 6 model cities by the Gov’t of Canada.
Most importantly, Saint John’s overall poverty rate is in decline and the number of households on social assistance has decreased. Many more children who live in poverty are succeeding in school and this sets the stage for them to break out of the poverty cycle. When children succeed, poverty ends. The lasting benefits for children and the economic impact on our city, our businesses and our province are well worth the investment.
The work of BCAPI has been recognized by the following awards:
2017, Cities Reducing Poverty/Tamarack Institute – Business Champion Award
2015, YMCA Red Triangle Award
2007, Saint John Board of Trade, Outstanding Business Awards, Chair’s Award
2004, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation VIBRANT COMMUNITIES CANADA “Trail Builder” Status
2003, Canada’s IMAGINE “Spirit of Community Partnership”Award
2002, New Brunswick’s First Business Crime Prevention Excellence Award
2001, The National Peter F. Drucker Award for Innovation in Canadian Non-Profit Organizations