Letter from Our CEO
For nearly six decades, across the U.S. and in more than 50 countries, we have tackled the world’s most pressing issues. We’ve always worked differently. From our founding to today, Abt has pioneered what it means to be a social impact organization, inside and out. We care as much about how we work as the difference we make through our work. It’s in our DNA, and it’s what makes Abt effective and resilient.
Our founder, Clark Abt, led by operating and measuring Abt by the social benefits it generates. Today, we continue that legacy through a robust mission impact management program that systematically evaluates the change we generate and what it means for those who experience it.
Abt recognizes that the health and well-being of individuals and communities are shaped by historical inequities and structural, systemic factors. Simply put, we cannot build a healthier, fairer world without tackling the injustices that undermine peoples’ potential. That’s why equity is the cornerstone of our strategy, and why we are actively defining every day what equity means for our employees, our work, and our clients.
As a company, we welcomed Roslyn Brock as Abt’s first-ever Chief Global Equity Officer to advance equity through our work and across our company. We co-founded the Evidence and Equity Collaborative to support diversity and strengthen inclusive practices in domestic policy research. And we put our expertise and our profits back into the community to advance equitable outcomes for those most in need.
With our clients, we tackled inequities in health, housing policy, education, and workforce and economic development—in the United States and around the world. We published important research on structural racism in medicine and America’s healthcare system, and expanded services that prevent families from entering the U.S. child welfare system. We worked with Latin American governments to integrate migrants into existing health systems—protecting, and planning for, refugees’ right to health care.
We delivered on these and so many other commitments in a disrupted world. COVID-19 exacerbated inequities everywhere. It has also created opportunities and fundamentally changed how we operate and serve our clients. We’re equipping the CDC with critical COVID-19 data and analyses to guide decision-makers and the American public, while never letting up on other project goals—like successfully reaching 35 million people with life-saving malaria services. We also seized opportunities for meaningful, systemic change. In Timor-Leste, for example, we used Abt’s approach for distributing pandemic funds as a model to reform other social assistance programs.
The greatest challenge we all face, threatening decades of social progress, is climate change. We’ve set and exceeded ambitious goals for cutting Abt’s carbon footprint and we aim to decarbonize fully by 2050. We’re integrating climate mitigation and adaptation strategies into our programs around the world, too. This year, we protected Tribal lands and livelihoods in North America, catalyzed nearly $8 billion in clean energy investment in the Mekong Delta, helped Massachusetts reform industrial emissions-permitting, and we were selected to modernize Mongolia’s electricity sector.
Abt’s mission has never been more important, the issues we face as a society more urgent. We are deeply proud of our work and impact. We are equally proud of how we got here and the organization we strive to be, inside and out.
Our Mission Impact Measurement and Management Approach
We are a mission-driven organization focused on improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people worldwide. Key to advancing this mission, is the ability to systematically measure the broad impacts we generate across our diverse portfolio.
We define Abt Mission Impact as changes for people, organizations, systems, and the planet that promote equitable progress towards our Mission.
We recognize that impact is complex. The pathways leading to Mission Impact are interconnected, dynamic, and embedded within local and global contexts. At Abt Associates, we adopt a systems perspective to capture these dynamics and to better understand when, how, and under what circumstances we generate mission impact. We also acknowledge that the degree to which impact is meaningful can vary and we aim to create impact that is important for those who experience it. This involves a commitment to cultural humility in how we engage in our communities and conduct our work.
Our definition includes several dimensions that prioritize impacts that are purposive, meaningful, equitable, and sustainable. These dimensions leverage and expand upon impact management norms and best practices generated through extensive global stakeholder consultations, such as those led by Impact Management Project’s Community of Practice.
We advance our mission and create impact through Our Work—the products and services we offer our clients; Our People and Operations—how we operate our company; and Our Communities—the way we engage with communities in which we operate.
Across each, we operationalize our mission through five mission impact goals to measurably distill our impact around the world: Good Health, Economic Security, Effective Governance, Equity and Inclusion, and Thriving Environment.
In addition to reporting on our own mission impact goals, we adhere to international frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and deeply committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A note on reporting time frames: This report spans multiple time frames depending on the topic in focus. This includes the 2021 calendar year, Abt’s 2022 fiscal year (April 2021 to March 2022), and our clients’ fiscal year designations. All relevant timeframes are noted throughout the report.
MISSION IMPACT REPORT 2022: Explore
OUR COMMUNITIES: Overview