Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011


social capital, community


The essence of social capital is that trust, diverse social networks, and associated norms of reciprocity are important to a strong, well-functioning community. On an individual level, social capital has been linked to better physical and emotional health. At the social level, it has been linked to lower levels of crime and better functioning schools. The Community Foundation of Tompkins County (CFTC) has developed an interest in measuring social capital in response to a series of focusing events in the community that were centered around race and socioeconomic status. These events led to CFTC to investigate ways to measure social capital and pursue efforts to improve it. By measuring social capital systematically, the CFTC hopes to learn more about how much Tompkins County residents trust each other, engage their community, and give back. In doing this, the CFTC hopes to create benchmarks for improving the community's social capital where there are deficits and sustain it where it has strengths.