2008–09 Projects for Nonprofit Boards
Neha Gupta ’09 worked with SEP Advisory Board member Joyce Roche ’72, who is President of Girls Inc., a national nonprofit youth organization providing educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas. Gupta worked on a project which focuses on how Girls Inc. can harness the power of social networking for marketing and fundraising. She interviewed board members for their insights, and conducted research to analyze whether other nonprofits or for-profits similar to Girls Inc. are leveraging social networking sites, and if so what they are doing.
Joanne Greenstein ’09 helped the greening initiatives of Manhattan’s Jewish Community Center (JCC). The initiative has several components and Greenstein focused on ways to engage the staff and community in more environmentally friendly behaviors. She researched best practices in offices and gyms to see which of those practices could be implemented at the JCC. She then worked with marketing to see how these changes could be adopted. Joanne also researched practices that young families can adopt to be more environmentally conscientious while at the JCC and outside in their daily lives.
Rochelle Dalton ’09 worked with Diana Taylor ’80, who is on the board of The After School Corporation (TASC). Taylor is also a member of the Columbia Business School Board of Overseers, and the SEP Advisory Board. Over the past 10 years, TASC has been instrumental in promoting policy initiatives that support the development of after school and out of school programs in New York City and nationwide. In this capacity, they have provided a number of intermediary functions (e.g. funding, training, higher education) to the community based organizations with which they partner. Dalton worked on developing a financial model that would enable TASC to quantify the impact and value it has added to the after school/ OST space through its role as a funding intermediary. In particular, she analyzed historical funding data to identify the cost savings that TASC has realized for its partners in the public and/or private sector.
Lindsey Dratch ’09 worked with Mary Jane Brock, a board member of the Big Apple Circus. Dratch worked with the Circus to draft a business plan for their new Circus archive website- circopedia.org. The website is intended to help the public better understand and appreciate circus as an artistic, cultural and uniquely global phenomenon. Lindsey investigated operational issues such as options for how the site should be managed going forward and what revenue will be needed to maintain its development.
Daniel Petroff ’09 worked with Tess Mateo ’97, on a project to help the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), an organization where Tess is a board member. ACO performs at Carnegie Hall, and is celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year. Petroff worked on a project exploring and evaluating new potential sources of revenue for the organization, specifically in the public sector. Once individuals and groups were identified, he worked to develop an outreach strategy.
Guarav Podar ’09 worked with Shari Levine ’86, a member of the board of Literacy Inc. (LINC), an organization providing reading resources through Community Literacy Networks (CLNs) in high need neighborhoods in the five New York City boroughs. These networks support reading partner programs and literacy events at community sites across the year, providing valuable hours of out-of-classroom reading time to thousands of young children. Podar’s project focused on analyzing and evaluating CLNs, according to specific metrics. Podar also drafted a case study focusing on the necessary steps to set up a successful CLN, by working closely with and interviewing responsible staff members.
Lisa King ’09 worked with Stan Buchesky ’02, who is on the board of Equality Charter School, which upon opening in fall 2009, needs additional philanthropic funds for the start-up and ongoing operations to supplement funding it receives for being a public school. King developed a fundraising strategic plan for the board. This fundraising strategic plan included research and analysis of fundraising best practices among other charter schools; a segmentation analysis of potential donors (from large institutions to Bronx-area businesses to individuals); and recommendations for Equality Charter School fundraising, including: targets, timeline, marketing suggestions, ideas for fundraising events, etc.
Natasha Oppenheim ’09 worked with alumna Deborah Jackson ’80 who is on the board of Legal Momentum, the nation's oldest legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women and girls. Oppenheim researched the structure and composition of boards in similar organizations.
Gavin Weiss ’09 worked with SEP Advisory Board member Cecily Carson, also on the board of The Doe Fund. Weiss conducted research on approaching donors regarding estate planning and planned giving. Her deliverable was a report on best practices in this area.
Mason Beard ’09 worked with SEP Advisory Board Chairman, Bill Lambert ’72, who is also on the board of the NY Civil Liberties Union. Beard worked with the Investment Committee of the Board to provide performance analysis for one of NYCLU’s investment funds. The committee is also focusing on bear market investment ideas for money they plan to invest this year. Beard also worked with NYCLU staff on a database marketing project.
Bryant Dieffenbacher ’10 worked with Columbia Business School Board of Overseer member Mike Overlock ’73, who is on the board of Urban Education Exchange. Dieffenbacher worked on various projects for this small nonprofit including: assisting with an accounting project; helping to streamline their books and finances; and helping with the design and implementation of their new online platform for delivery of their curriculum. Dieffenbacher also gave feedback regarding the organization’s business plan, which is being modified.
Gabrielle Breslow ’10 worked with the Child Center of NY, by examining the current state of board involvement in the organization. She met with and interviewed board members, and prepared a report to summarize levels of engagement. Breslow also worked with their Director of Development to conduct a benchmarking study of creative fundraising techniques that can be applied to the Child Center.
Emily Essner ’09 worked with Marcia Santoni ’87, a board member for Pathways to Housing. Essner is conducting a board assessment and recommendation. The objective of this project is to survey and analyze each board member’s views on the desired strategic priorities for Pathways to Housing. She used a strategic plan as a basis for many of the assessment questions and focused on development, as this is a demonstrated area of need and interest for both the board and the organization. Based on board member interviews, she made recommendations to incorporate this feedback into specific plans for Pathways to Housing.
Michael Heuberger ’09 worked with Gia Machlin ’91, who is on the board of The Blue Card, an organization that provides direct financial assistance to needy Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution and their families in the US. Hueberger was involved in the "Long-Term Strategic Planning Project" that the board has initiated. He interviewed all board members regarding their perspective as to where the organization should head. The final deliverable was a summary of the key takeaways from these interviews provided for the Executive Director and the Long-Term Strategic Planning Sub-Committee.
Amanda Cahn ’10 worked with William Goodloe ’00, who leads Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), an organization that prepares young people of color to lead by example in their families, communities and careers through mentorship opportunities. Cahn worked with one of SEO’s main initiatives, the Scholars Program, which aspires to get high school students of color into top colleges through assistance with school work, college and financial aid research and college applications. Cahn’s project involved researching the math achievement gap among minorities and what strategies might be used in closing this gap.
Kathleen Fregeau ’09 and Jeff Turkanis ’10 worked with Creative Arts Workshop for Kids (CAW), an endeavor that utilizes the visual and performing arts to teach life skills to children and teens while enriching their communities. The organization runs after-school, Saturday and Summer programs that aim to empower youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their leadership and public speaking skills, build self-confidence and deepen the relationship between art and community. Fregeau and Turkanis created a business plan to identify local businesses and organizations that could benefit from the artwork of CAW or the services of its participants. Likewise, CAW could benefit from such entities through the creation of potential internships for CAW participants, funding for CAW, or other business-specific discounts/benefits.
Anna Thoman ’09 worked with Zev Greenfield ’04 and Orpheus Orchestra on a project addressing the following questions: What factors should Orpheus consider in structuring its future relationship with Carnegie Hall?