March 2016

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Soulcycle event! Thank you to Patrick Chauvin, Myles King and Steve Whisnant for co-hosting.

Message from the Executive Director

Beating the "Nonprofit Starvation Cycle"

 Recently, Maggie Riden, Executive Director of DC Alliance of Youth  Advocates (DCAYA) and I had the pleasure of discussing the  challenges  and opportunities of working with funders with  12 of Fair Chance partner and alumni Executive Directors.  We used a 2009 Stanford  Innovation  Review article entitled  “The Nonprofit Starvation  Cycle,” as a  thought-  piece. The article is built on the premise that most funders prefer to fund programs rather than overhead. In fact, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, most funders report less than 10% of total grant dollars as general operating support.  As a result, most nonprofits misrepresent their true costs in order to compete successfully, resulting in inadequate infrastructure to support operations or fuel future growth.  It also has the effect of reinforcing unrealistic foundation expectations and understanding of true costs. 

Fair Chance partners identified this as part of their everyday reality.  In particular, they are frustrated that foundations and government agencies are increasingly requiring impact measures and data collection, but are unwilling to fund the additional costs of these activities. Other challenges shared included a lack of multi-year grant funding; changing funder priorities from year to year; and aversion to risk, which stunts nonprofit innovation.  Partners, however, were able to identify the following opportunities to explore together: educating funders about the true costs of doing business; collaborating on joint funding requests; exploring new funding strategies and alternative business models, and finding common indicators that tell a common story across issue areas or geography.  Partners also emphasized that executive directors must embrace advocacy as a necessary skill in order to be effective.

Several participating leaders agreed to meet again to work on several of the above identified opportunities. I look forward to bringing their ideas to you in future publications.

Yours in service,

Gretchen Van der Veer, PhD

What's New With Fair Chance

SoulCyclers for Fair Chance!

On March 13th, Fair Chance sponsored the second annual Ride for Fair Chance at Soul Cycle’s West End Studio. All tiers of bikes were filled as Fair Chance supporters and friends packed the studio. Top instructors Natalia and Garrett led everyone through the energetic 45-minute spin class. The event raised over $14,000 to support Fair Chance’s work to put more children and youth on a pathway out of poverty. Many thanks  to all who participated with special appreciation to Patrick Chauvin , Myles King, and Steve Whisnant for co-hosting this great event.

Shopping for a Cause at Core72
Join the Abrams Finnell Group for evening of wine, appetizers and private shopping at Core72. A percentage of proceeds from the evening will go to Fair Chance!
Date: Tuesday, April 5
Time: 6-8PM
Address: Core 72, 5502 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20015

Mark Your Calendar

April 1
DC Alliance of Youth
DCAYA Quarterly Breakfast

April 11
Fair Chance Graduation and Celebration
Studio Theatre
1501 14th St, NW

April 11
Young Playwrights' Theater
2016 New Play Festival

April 13
One World Education
One World Celebration

April 18
Young Playwrights' Theater
2016 New Play Festival

April 25
Young Playwrights' Theater
2016 New Play Festival

April 27
Annual Celebration

April 27
Free Minds Book Club
We Can Be the Change: Voices of Incarcerated Youth

April 28
City Kids Wilderness Project
20th Anniversary DC Fundraiser

May 7
Teens Run DC
TRDC Mentoring Matters 5K

May 21
DC Diaper Bank
No Child Wet Behind Family Fun Run

Partner Highlights

The Fishing School students and parents at all four of its partner schools participated in Math and Science Night.  Volunteers from the Metropolitan Police Department helped to run tabling activities that exposed parents to strategies they could use at home to nurture kids' love for science and boost math skills. Math and Science Night gave their students, families, and staff a chance to reflect on the roots of the The Fishing School (TFS was founded by a former MPD officer) and celebrate its success and growth over the past 26 years.

Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop hosted prominent Civil Rights leader Congressman John Lewis at their Book Club in the DC Jail to speak about his new book, March: Book One. All of the teenagers were incredibly moved by Congressman Lewis’ words of hope--in fact, Book Club member DeAngelo described the visit as “life-changing.” You can read more about Congressman Lewis’ visit in the Washington Post and Yahoo News, and watch a clip of the powerful words he shared on WJLA ABC 7

The Literacy Lab is hiring 200 full-time literacy tutors across the DC metro area, the Richmond, VA metro area, Baltimore, MD, and Kansas City, MO. Their rigorously trained, full-time tutors work at high-need schools to provide daily, evidence-based interventions to students age 3 – grade 3. Interested candidates should contact Jordan Smith, or apply here
For Black History Month, One Common Unity organized four inspirational events with over 1000 people in attendance. More than 200 new students were impacted during these events. Because of their community engagement outreach on this project, OCU gained 15 new organizational partners including PG County Circuit Court and Zipcar. Below are a few photos from one of OCU's signature events in partnership with George Washington University called, "Blacktivism."

Young Ladies of Tomorrow was invited to attend the BET Honors 2016 Awards at the Warner Theater. Game changers like Former Attorney General Eric Holder, Patti LaBelle, L.A. Reid, Lee Daniels, and many others were present. The star-studded night honored five distinguished African Americans performing at exceptional levels in the areas of art, music, theater, technology and business. This was a great honor and privilege for the youth of YLOT. The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves and felt very special to be in the presence of so many prestigious and well know artists.
Young Playwrights' Theater's 2016 Giving Voice Award Gala was a smashing success! The gala celebrated young voices and honored Shakespeare Theatre Company's Artistic Director Michael Kahn with YPT's annual Giving Voice Award. This "elegant and eclectic" event attracted such DC theater luminaries as Victor Shargai and Amy Austin, and raised over $34,000 for YPT's free arts education programming! For photos and more, click here

What We're Reading

The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle By Ann Goggins Gregory & Don Howard Fall 2009, Stanford Social Innovation Review.

A vicious cycle is leaving nonprofits so hungry for decent infrastructure that they can barely function as organizations—let alone serve their beneficiaries. The cycle starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much running a nonprofit costs, and results in nonprofits’ misrepresenting their costs while skimping on vital systems—acts that feed funders’ skewed beliefs. To break the nonprofit starvation cycle, funders must take the lead.

Thank You! 

Soul Cycle Ride for Fair Chance was a blast! Thank you to SoulCycle West End; Patrick Chauvin, Myles King and Steve Whisnant for co-hosting; and Glen’s Garden Market, and Core 72 for donating items for our swag bags!

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