Theory of Change

Action Horizon Institute

This post outlines the important sections in our Theory of Change:

  1. The Need
  2. Inputs
  3. Activities
  4. Outputs
  5. Outcomes
  6. Impact
  7. Theory of Change Table
  8. Next Steps

1. The Need — What social problem exists that I feel compelled to address?

The short answer, is that we participate each day in a system that perpetuates the existence of the same unsolved social problems which have plagued this great nation for centuries.

It has been 239 years since we said, “All men are created equal.” That was signed and declared by our founding fathers who owned black slaves. The slave labor was how the founding fathers made money.

Today, we suffer from the same unsolved social problems which have existed for centuries. In fact, here are 17 specific unsolved social problems according the United Nations:

Sustainable Development Goals Set by the United Nations

Do not be fooled by their fancy colors. We have a serious problem. Or, shall I say, we have at least 17 serious problems. Each requires creative solutions. Do you think we are educating people to become creative problem solvers?

We have been educated out of our ability to think creatively and problem-solve collaboratively.

Which demographics are negatively impacted by the problem?

  • Youth: 5.6 million Americans ages 16–24 are neither employed nor enrolled in school.
  • Taxpayers: $34 trillion dollars will be paid by taxpayers unless we reconnect this cohort with the ability to participate and contribute in the economy.
  • Employment: 5 million jobs are currently unfilled because of unskilled workforce

Clay Shirky, nationally distinguished author who attended Yale and is now a professor at NYU, writes about the social and economic effects of internet technologies. He says,

The number of high-school graduates underserved or unserved by higher education today dwarfs the number of people for whom that system works well. The reason to bet on the spread of large-scale low-cost education isn’t the increased supply of new technologies. It’s the massive demand for education, which our existing institutions are increasingly unable to handle. That demand will go somewhere.

Enter: Action Horizon Institute

2. Inputs — Financial and human resources needed to operate your program

  • Staff
  • Board
  • Mentors
  • Scholars (budget allocates for 20 scholars per trimester, or 60 per year)
  • Funding (Year One: $100,000)
  • Space (medium-sized room with at least four large tables for student groups to sit with their teams)
  • Technology (Kindle Fire, MacBook/iMac, Canon Vixia, Hard Drive)

3. Activities

  1. Empowering America’s youth with the confidence, resources, and agency to design a sustainable future
  2. Maintain web platforms, servers, and any asset containing program information
  3. Recruitment of future scholars
  4. Building the resource map by proactively meeting new people for the purpose of creating paths to new members of the community for the scholars
  5. Host weekly learning community (this could easily be taken over by mentor or trustworthy scholar)

4. Outputs

• # of scholars who obtain meaningful employment
• # of customers the scholar acquires for her business
• # of service projects a scholar completes
• # of apprenticeships a scholar completes
• # of retained scholars stays up

5. Outcomes

Some examples of potential outcomes are:

  • increased high school retention rates because the students are excited to attend this program, but they know they must graduate high school as a prerequisite
  • increased value in the labor market
  • increased emotional intelligence level

6. Impact

  • redesign the current system by bringing all the stakeholders to the table and provide them an equal voice in any discussion taking place having to do with the city at-large
  • improved cross-institutional collaboration
  • increased mission-driven business
  • increase number of socents launching socents in a given area

7. Theory of Change (table)

  • coming soon

8. Next Steps

  • develop strategy and plan
  • articulate to funders why they should invest
  • get board and staff excited about work and beyond