Projects for Nonprofit Boards
Each year, approximately 30 MBA students and alumni participate in this program. Students are selected through a rigorous application process and matched with an alumnus based on experience and interest. Project topics have included:
- Community Development: Develop a business plan to create new revenues relating to a business involving labor from assisted program participants.
- Education: Rebuild the organization’s financial model to reflect changes in the way they provide services to charter schools; conduct competitive mapping to determine primary competitors and how to measure success.
- Public Radio: Assist a brand development project and a customer experience comparison across five key markets to determine differentiating aspects and what works in each area.
- Young Women: Conduct thorough board of directors evaluation on effectiveness and underlying metrics used to judge success; Recommend more effective ways to communicate and simplify evaluation metrics.
- Healthcare: Conduct an ROI analysis of all fundraising activity including gala events, mailings, phone drives, etc; benchmark against comparable organizations.
2012–13 Projects for Nonprofit Boards
Rama Gabbita EMBA’14 worked with mentor Ayesha Vera-Yu ’03 at Advancement for Rural Kids. The project was to identify, create and communicate a "Dollars@Work" metric that accurately captured and translated ARK's operational successes in supporting communities in the developing world. The project identified the current use of resources – human capital, time and effort sinks – and streamlined operations to increase the ROI for each activity.
Nicole Abbott '13 worked with mentor and Social Enterprise Program Advisory Board Member Melissa Raso '96 and All Souls School, an early childhood school that welcomes children, aged 2 1/2-5 years old, of all racial, religion, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Nicole worked with the school to build financial models based on a literature review and peer school evaluation. Nicole also created a market map of the current landscape of peer schools. Based on the evaluation and board response, she developed a plan and timeline for implementation of a new financial system.
Susannah Stayter EMBA’13 worked with Tess Mateo ’97 and the American Composer's Orchestra. The ACO is currently examining their competitive set locally and nationally. The orchestra’s intent is to review their current mission statement and offerings to ensure they are on target and relevant. Susannah’s work focused on collecting and analyzing information about current competitors’ audience and funding, particularly in regards to their mission and activities. She also worked to identify organizations and/or trends that might be off the ACO’s radar. The final deliverable was a set of recommendations to the board on ways to most effectively carry out the mission of serving contemporary American music and the living American composer.
Amanda Wood ’14 worked with her mentor Gerry Byrne at The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), a nonprofit that provides resources and support to injured service members, veterans and their families. Amanda analyzed BWF's current fundraising sources and the impact of BWF's current donations on other organizations. Based on the results, Amanda provided recommendations for strengthening the organization’s revenue and impact in the future.
Akshai J. Patel ’13 worked with Julie Wong ’03 and Bronx Charter School for the Arts (BCSA) to evaluate a charter management organizational structure as the school considers the best format for operation. Akshai researched the way other charter schools have created or joined CMO structures by engaging leaders at the highest performing networks and developed a strategy for finding the right one for BCSA.
Adam Kulik ’14 worked with mentor Christian Lee ’07 at BronxWorks, an organization that fosters social and economic development in the Bronx. Adam worked closely with the Executive Director and Director of Donor Relations to examine the organization’s current sources of private fundraising and to analyze the impact of special events on donor giving and retention. The company’s current fundraising efforts were benchmarked against similar organizations, and recommendations for improving access to private capital were presented to the Board of Directors.
David Sheng EMBA’14 worked with mentor Tess Mateo ’97 at Carnegie Hall. The objective of the project was to determine the relative value of a new targeting program called the Global Crescendo Council. David assessed the competitive landscape of existing programs and developed a questionnaire to gauge interest from potential donors and participants to inform the organization’s long-term objective to develop a new membership program.
Louise Sheldon ’14 worked with Social Enterprise Program Advisory Board Member Debbie Perelman ’00 to optimize development of the Children’s Museum of the Arts’ gift shop. Louise identified and researched competing children’s museum stores to prepare a “best practice” analysis with regard to gift shop product mix, marketing, management, and e-commerce program. The project included field studies as well as interviews with industry professionals.
Chance Moreland ’13 worked with mentor Michael Boublik ’90 and the Children's Museum of Manhattan, an institution dedicated to enriching the lives of children throughout New York City. Chance helped the museum optimize its marketing practices to ensure that new social media tools were being used to their full capability.
Jeff Burbank EMBA’13 worked with mentor Scott Li and F.C. Harlem, a community organization that delivers soccer-based, youth development programs addressing academic enrichment, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles. Jeff worked with members of the Board of Directors to identify the strategic plan for F.C. Harlem and he recommended new fundraising strategies to fund plans to expand its soccer leagues and after-school enrichment programs.
Jennifer Dyck-Sprout ’14 worked with mentor Mischa Zabotin ’88 at the French American School of New York (FASNY) to assist the board with initiating a capital campaign for the school’s new facilities.
Daphne Patterson ’14 began working with mentor Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, of Girls Inc. Daphne researched fundraising models of other organizations, synthesized findings of focus group conversations, conducted interviews, and offered recommendations about the design and implementation of Girls Inc.’s new fundraising strategy.
Karen Sohn ’14 worked with her mentor Chris Shyer ’87 and GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network, to restructure the chapter network. Karen conducted a best practice analysis and made recommendations to coincide with other work GLSEN was currently undertaking.
Caitlin Mahoney ’14 worked with mentor Pam Minetti ’81 and Graham Windham, a child welfare agency that improves the lives of youth and families through programs that provide a strong foundation to thrive in school and beyond. Together with the Human Resources team, Caitlin developed a recruitment strategy that documented an improved process, projected talent needs and estimated costs related to recruiting.
Sheila Lalani ’14 worked with Handcrafting Justice mentor Aimee Munsell ’99 to purchase products from its producers up-front in order to provide a guaranteed revenue stream for artisans in need. As product demand varies, occasionally these artisans are forced to write off its old inventory. This project determined the best practices in inventory liquidation and helped the nonprofit establish and easily manage a liquidation process.
Sara Levin ’13 worked with mentor and Social Enterprise Program Advisory Board Member Mimi Boublick ’90 and the Jericho Project, an organization that helps homeless men and women move off the streets by providing housing, comprehensive counseling services and aftercare. Sara conducted a feasibility analysis related to the acceptance of donated properties from financial institutions.
Tyler Brown EMBA’14 worked with mentor Shari Levine ’87 from Literacy Inc. to help the organization develop a way to measure program success, with the aim of using these metrics to better solicit funds from individual and corporate donors. Tyler worked with Literacy Inc. to develop a program aimed at improving the organization’s solicitation of recurring donations from individual and corporate donors. The project included developing scalable procedures for donor targeting, ongoing donor communication, and performance evaluation.
Thiago Kapulskis ’13 worked with Jon Bernstein ’08 to do a strategic analysis of Minds Matter in order to unify the vision, mission and best practices of its chapters. The deliverable consisted of a SWOT analysis of all chapters and a strategic report of the organization.
Tim Bernal ’14 worked with mentor and board member Matt Kirk ’08 for Operation Homefront: Tri-State (OHTS), a nonprofit that provides a comprehensive suite of emergency support to families of service members and wounded warriors in the Tri-State area. After expanding into Connecticut in 2011, the organization was interested in expanding funding from corporate and individual donors. Tim analyzed both national and market-specific donation trends to formulate a strategy to increase effectiveness and efficiency of fundraising within the Connecticut market.
Masha Tarasyuk ’14 worked with mentor Jason Wright and Jessica Pliska, the founder and executive director of the Opportunity Network, a nonprofit career and college prep program for high achieving and underserved NYC high school students. Masha worked directly with the Jessica Pliska to develop a growth strategy for the organization with the goal of expanding the reach of the program without sacrificing the tailored individual attention the program brings to its participants and its current success rate.
Marnie Florin ’14 worked with PEACE Mexico and mentor Lauren Decker ’09 on fundraising for the nonprofit. She was the project manager for 12 grants and responsible for researching, writing, assembling and ultimately submitting the applications. She also did marketing and recruiting for PEACE's summer internship program.
Rodrigo Morales EMBA’14 worked with the Qualitas for Life organization and both Qualitas for Life and Social Enterprise Program Advisory Board Member Gregorio Schneider ’96 to develop a fundraising strategy. Rodrigo and Mr. Schneider identified and met with potential donors for Qualitas to raise funds. They also solicited feedback from these meetings to develop a sustainable fundraising strategy.
Nattavadee Temkasem ’13 worked with mentor and Social Enterprise Program Advisory Board Member Professor Melissa Berman, CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit organization that provides research and counsel on charitable giving, develops philanthropic programs and offers complete program, administrative and management services for foundations and trusts. Nattavadee worked on researching nonprofit operating reserves best practices, and preparing orientation materials for new board members.
Ashley LeMaire EMBA’14 worked with mentor Katie Wright at SafeMinds to restructure its organizational decision making based on past project achievements and strategic vision surrounding volunteer commitment, fundraising, sponsor backing, research/information dissemination, and impact measurement.
Laura Tabat ’14 worked with mentor Jon Friedland ’97 and Streetwise Partners, an organization that helps low-income individuals overcome employment barriers by providing job skills training, career coaching and job search assistance. Laura conducted market research related to the development of a volunteer engagement plan.
Matt Rutter EMBA’13 worked with mentor Professor Ray Horton at Community Resource Exchange (CRE). Matt constructed a financial model to assess the revenues and expenses of the organization. His model helped demonstrate the drivers’ that informed bill rates and promoted economic sustainability. In addition, Matt reviewed CRE’s program strategy to assess the organization’s ability to generate positive cash flow.
Gopi Sukhavasi EMBA’13 worked with mentor Jonah Zimiles ’08, at the Children’s Institute (TCI). In September, 2012, TCI began a new adult day program for individuals with special needs. Gopi helped TCI develop a 10-year strategic and financial plan to help the institute integrate the new adult day program.
Jo-Anne Suriel EMBA’14 worked with mentor Fred Gilde ’97 and Executive Director JJ Lind of The Civilians, a New York-based theater company, to create an original work derived from investigations into the world beyond the theater. Jo-Anne performed an analysis of various business structures for the company to consider for its strategic plan and also assisted in the creation of 3-year financial projections and scenario planning.
Tom Banks EMBA’14 and Ashleigh Ranney EMBA’14 worked with The Crisis Ministries of Mercer County and Chairman of the Board, Fred van Sickle, Executive Vice President for Columbia University Development and Alumni Relations, to analyze the demographics of the current client base, assess the need for the Crisis Ministries’ services within Mercer County, and evaluate the current facilities in use. Tom and Ashleigh conducted a scenario analysis and developed a long term facilities strategy based on these findings, consistent with the organization’s overall strategy. The Crisis Ministries of Mercer County provides practical, innovative, and caring programs addressing Hunger Prevention, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Training to those in need.
Grace Pittenger ’14 worked with mentor Dave Sasscer ’97 to develop a plan for Visionary Media to focus fundraising efforts towards projects with the highest likelihood of successful completion. Grace researched the successful fundraising tools at comparable nonprofit organizations and developed branding strategy to better improve Visionary Media recognition in the market place, including new access to social media outlets.
Vidula Menon ’14 worked with mentor Lisa Canoura Reid ’00 at The Greater New York YMCA. With recent declines in occupancy rates and revenue growth in the lucrative YMCA guest room business, Vidula sought to generate volume through a focused effort on social media marketing strategy, internal and external benchmarking, and infrastructural assessments and improvement plans.