Peter Heegaard is a former executive for a financial firm, and he's well-known in Minnesota public policy circles as a leader with a strong social conscience, a great combination of heart and passion for progressive change and hard-headed analytical sense on dollars and cents. His new book, "More Bang for Your Buck,'' should be required reading for policy wonks in Minnesota who want to be on the cutting edge of what works in human services, and more important, how to tell. Two subtitles on the cover summarize the contents: "Good News for Taxpayers, Public Officials, Philanthropists & Non-profit Managers,'' and "How Cost/Benefit Analysis Can More Effectively Promote the Public Good."
The book brings state-of-the-art thinking and many actual case-by-case calculations to the emerging efforts to show the return from public and nonprofit invesments in human capital, primarily education, workforce preparation and other human services. Heegaard's book explains with lively detail how leading Minnesota nonprofit groups, such as Admission Possible and Twin Cities Rise, and others, many of which benefit from taxpayer support, have been able to document with cost-benefit analysis that their work with human capital is in fact returning an investment to the economy and to society.
I like this passage in the introduction: "Enough examples of high payoff civic investments now exist to make a very strong case that the art of giving or philanthropic investing, including government budget decision-making, can create new solutions to age-old problems, while at the same time improving the returns on our taxable income.'' The book is available at Nodin Press.