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State Street Foundation

Customized Capacity Building and Technical Assistance for State Street Foundation Grantees

Partner

State Street Foundation

Project

Customized Capacity Building and Technical Assistance for State Street Foundation Grantees

Question

How can we help a foundation’s nonprofit grantees adapt during a pandemic while strengthening program quality and organizational capacity for the future?

Summary

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, nonprofits, like all other organizations, had to make immediate changes and pivot their programming to a virtual model in order to continue serving people throughout the pandemic. Recognizing the complexity and difficulty of such rapid adaptations, the State Street Foundation partnered with Root Cause to develop a customized technical assistance program for their grantees. 

The following Boston-based nonprofits participated in the 2020 Program.

  1. Artists for Humanity 
  2. Bottom Line
  3. English for New Bostonians
  4. Freedom House
  5. InnerCity Weightlifting
  6. Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) Boston 
  1. New England Culinary Arts Training (NECAT)
  2. Sociedad Latina
  3. Summer Search 
  4. Youth Options Unlimited (YOU) Boston

Beginning in June  2020, Root Cause designed and provided virtual workshops, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, tools/resources, and 1-on-1 coaching to help participants adapt their nonprofits in the areas below. These topics were identified by participating nonprofits as the topics in which they needed the most help. 

  • Virtual Service Adaptation and Performance Measurement
  • Financial Sustainability and Targeted Funder Messaging
  • Organization Wellness, Staff Support, and Mental Health
  • Leading Teams: Communications, Culture, and Morale

Virtual workshops were 90 minutes of topic-specific content, including best practices, case studies, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Experts from Root Cause, the State Street Foundation, and other guest speakers presented on each topic and facilitated discussions. 

Each nonprofit organization also received four hours of one-on-one coaching, which they could use for up to two different topics. Participating nonprofits were able to share their challenges and receive individualized feedback and coaching from Root Cause or the State Street Foundation.  

After receiving positive results and feedback from the 2020 program, Root Cause and the State Street Foundation have partnered to  design  a second program for a new group of grantees in 2021. This Phase 2 will provide eight months of one-on-one capacity building coaching for nonprofits to strengthen their services and impact.

“Thank you! I got a lot out of the coaching and workshops, and I would recommend it to anyone I know in the non-profit space.” - program participant
“The technical assistance component was extremely helpful for us because we were coached based on our needs. I think that is extremely important in this process.” - program participant
“The format of these sessions was very effective, a good mixture of speakers and breakout sessions.” - program participant

Goals & Results

2020 Program Results: June 2020 – January 2021

  • A majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the workshops and coaching provided had been effective.
  • Additionally, nonprofits gained a greater understanding of their networks and strengthened and grew their peer networks as a result of their participation. 
  • 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed with “I received valuable input from my peers to address challenges we are facing as a result of this series.” Many said their engagement with other programs was an invaluable part of the experience and appreciated the opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. 
  • 9 out of 10 participating nonprofits took advantage of one-on-one coaching. 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed with “coaching helped me to focus on a pressing organizational challenge.” They praised coaches for providing actionable feedback and providing helpful tools and resources to address their challenges. 
  • Coaching helpfulness was rated on average 4.4 out of 5.0. 

 

2021 Program: April 2021 – December 2021

Root Cause is currently designing a second program for a new group of grantees in 2021. Based on learnings, participant feedback, and discussions with the State Street Foundation, we are designing Phase 2 to focus on 1) improving program quality, 2) increasing peer learning, and 3) building capacity through continuous quality improvement (CQI) cycles  deepening coaching through continuous quality improvement cycles.

About the Partner

State Street Foundation

State Street Foundation, State Street’s charitable arm, makes grants to nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations in 26 countries. The Foundation’s primary strategic focus is education and workforce development.

State Street Foundation believes the most effective way to improve the overall well-being of its communities is to help disadvantaged individuals earn and make a living. By keeping a sharp focus on education and work, State Street Foundation brings lasting economic benefits to the communities where we live and work.

Since 2010, the Foundation’s Impact Framework has guided its investing in high-performing nonprofits that are providing measurable results in the following categories:

  • Education
  • Job-readiness
  • College success
  • Credentials
  • Work experience
  • Employment

The Foundation’s funding strategy serves disadvantaged populations and aligns with State Street’s talent and diversity goals.

Read more at statestreet.com/values.html.

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