- Experiential Learning
- Social Ventures
- Faculty Viewpoints
- The Near-term Impacts of Climate Change on Investors
- Solutions to Post-Incarceration Employment and Entrepreneurship
- Fulfilling the Promise of Education Technology
- Managing Schools to Improve Teacher Performance
- The Economics and Psychology of Poverty
- Measuring and Creating Excellence in Schools
- The American Healthcare Landscape in 2014
- Microfinance Symposium
- Research Resources
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.
2015–16 Projects for Nonprofit Boards
92nd Street Y, Meredith Milstein ’17
Meredith Milstein ’17 worked with mentor Marcia Colvin at 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center located in New York City, to create a strategic plan for its recently launched volunteerism enterprise, 92YServes. Meredith developed budgeting recommendations, a programmatic timeline, and a growth forecast to enable 92YServes to exist as a primarily volunteer-led division of the high performing nonprofit.
Action Against Hunger, Jennifer Feierman ’16
Jennifer Feierman ’16 joined mentor Alyssa Zeller ’97 at Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger that works to save the lives of malnourished children and provide communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. Jennifer analyzed the board of director’s current structure and process and researched peer organizations and industry best practices. Finally, she presented proposed updates to the board structure and operations as well as an implementation plan for each suggested step.
Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), Cristina Botero ’16
Cristina Botero ’16 worked with mentor Ayesha Vera-Yu ’03 at Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger that works to save the lives of malnourished children and provide communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. Jennifer analyzed the board of director’s current structure and process and researched peer organizations and industry best practices. Finally, she presented proposed updates to the board structure and operations as well as an implementation plan for each suggested step.
BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), James Davis ’16
James Davis ’16 worked with chief of staff Dan Dobin at BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), an educational nonprofit organization focused on providing summer and out-of-school learning opportunities for children in under-resourced communities. The project was to identify and allocate BELL’s overhead expenses between the two different service lines BELL offered and understand — and project — how those overhead expenses would grow over time as BELL expanded each service line. The project will help BELL develop an enhanced forecasting ability to more accurately understand the full cost to operate its services on a per scholar basis and reduce variability between budgeted and actual annual financials.
Charley’s Fund, Christine Solitario ’17
Christine Solitario’17 worked with Ellen Wilner ’94 at Charley’s Fund to develop a strategy for fundraising partnerships with young professionals. As the organization enters into its next major growth phase, Charley’s Fund is looking for ways to engage untapped donor bases to lead fundraising events. Christine analyzed young professional engagement across similar nonprofits, identifying appropriate opportunities for Charley’s Fund and developing an initial engagement strategy. To culminate the project, Christine oversaw the execution of the pilot young professional event, using lessons learned to refine the plan for future fundraising activities.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Jeremy Stern ’16 and Teresa Lee ’16
Jeremy Stern ’16 and Teresa Lee ’16 worked with mentor Michael Boublik ’90 at Children’s Museum of Manhattan, a museum that inspires children and families to learn about themselves and our culturally diverse world through a unique environment of interactive exhibitions and programs to better understand their core revenue drivers. Jeremy worked with the museum to identify their competitive landscape, customer demographics and future earning potential, while Teresa forecasted the organization’s revenue potential, created visitor profiles, and gathered demographic information to see what new market of visitors the museum could capture in a new location.
Citizen Schools, Wilson Chen ’16
Wilson Chen ’16 worked with Allan Levine ’95 at Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that works to extend the school learning day for low-income students. Wilson teamed up with executive director Kathrine Mott to identify and recommend key staff development initiatives for Citizen’s Teacher Fellows staff in order to improve retention and, ultimately, allow Citizen to continue delivering its unique educational experience to students.
Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York, Darren He ’17
Darren He ’17 worked with CBSAC/NY co-president Ilene Moskowitz ’80 at the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York, which works to strengthen the alumni network and support services available to School alumni. Darren helped plan and execute a marketing campaign to increase club membership and recalibrate club events to member interests. He made recommendations to the club board and supported planning for the School’s Centennial Membership campaign.
Creative Art Works, Gautam Sachdev ’16 and Samantha Shaffer ’16
Gautam Sachdev ’16 and Samantha Shaffer ’16 worked with mentor Brian Ricklin and Creative Art Works, an organization with a mission to improve the lives of under-resourced New York City youth through the arts by serving thousands of young people each year through in-school and out-of-school-time classes, community art events, and public art. Both Gautam and Samantha worked on perfecting the measurements of the youth outreach programs to track progress.
DreamYard Project, Emily Ford ’16
Emily Ford ’16 worked with mentor Erickson Blakney and executive director Tim Lord at DreamYard Project, an organization dedicated to arts education and social impact, which teaches participants to become agents of change and develop a sense of agency that continues to serve them throughout their lives. Emily supported a longitudinal study of the organization’s impact on its participants. The findings will help DreamYard explore additional funding opportunities and partnerships with institutions of higher education.
Edna St. Vincent Millay Society, Danielle Austin ’17
Danielle Austin ’17 worked with mentor Eileen Fusco at the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society, a nonprofit working to illuminate the life and writings of Edna St. Vincent Millay and preserve the character of Steepletop, her home and gardens. Danielle performed an analysis to better understand the society’s current operating approach. The analysis included reviewing the operating budgets of similar nonprofits and performing a gap analysis.
Equality Charter School, Robby Rutkoff ’16
Robby Rutkoff ’16 worked with mentor Stan Buchesky ’02 and Equality Charter School, an independent middle and high school in the Bronx that provides an engaging, academically rigorous, and fully inclusive learning environment to help each student achieve success. Robby analyzed Equality’s current teacher recruitment practices, and researched hiring and onboarding best practices from similarly resourced schools. Robby recommended process improvements Equality can adopt to improve the quality and quantity of its teacher applicants.
Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC), Alice Kogan ’16
Alice Kogan ’16 worked with mentor, and Tamer Center Advisory Board member, Ronnie Planalp ’86 and director of operations Matt Bolish at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC). The purpose of the project was to evaluate an opportunity for the FSLC to develop a platform for connecting independent filmmakers with grant funding for their projects. In particular, the FSLC was interested in exploring the idea of creating a "common application" to simplify what is currently a complex and laborious process. Alice explored analogous common applications, mapped the stakeholder ecosystem, and interviewed filmmakers and funding organizations in order to identify the key considerations for pursuing this undertaking.
Girls Inc., Janice Li ’16
Janice Li ’16 worked with mentor Judy Vrendenbergh at Girls Inc., a New York City-based organization that offers girls the opportunity to discover their intellectual and emotional strengths. Janice created a marketing plan consisting of recommendations for branding positioning and digital marketing activities.
Global Mental Health Program (GMHP) at Columbia University, Josh Forstater ’16
Josh Forstater ’16 worked with mentor, and Tamer Center Advisory Board member, Mona Sinha ’93 at Global Mental Health Program (GMHP) at Columbia University. GMHP’s mission is to promote mental health and reduce the burden of mental illness around the globe by delivering education programs and developing training programs that build capacity for research in low- and middle-income countries. Josh worked on designing and implementing GMHP’s education and training franchise.
Groundwork Hudson Valley, Lars Langhout ’16
Lars Langhout ’16 worked with mentor Brian Carroll ’80 at Groundwork Hudson Valley, an organization that works to make neglected neighborhoods more livable and sustainable through an array of on-the-ground environmental projects that directly involve local residents. Lars analyzed Groundwork’s present fundraising system and created new a fundraising strategy based on external research.
Healing Hands of Joy, Shakira Adigun-Boaye ’17
Shakira Adigun-Boaye ’17 worked with mentor Leah Pederson-Thomas ’10 at Healing Hands of Joy, a nonprofit that seeks to make motherhood safer for women in Ethiopia by preventing the common disease of fistula, reintegrating survivors into their communities, and identifying cases of fistula to be treated. Shakira worked on modeling the impact of a future treatment center. The project involved researching historic trends and conducting high-level analysis to predict the potential impact of a new treatment center.
Horizons at Sacred Heart University, Kassie Means ’16
Kassie Means ’16 worked with mentor Brad Evans ’70 at Horizons at Sacred Heart University, which serves children from Bridgeport public and parochial schools by providing them with a strong life foundation through a rigorous focus on academics, a high-quality enrichment program and the tools to become good citizens. The program at Sacred Heart began five years ago, when the board was interested in branding and positioning the organization for the next five years. Inspired by Professor Paul Ingram’s values exercise, Kassie led the board in identifying and coalescing around the organization’s core values, which will become the foundation of its branding, grant writing, and hiring.
Jericho Project, Anna Han ’16
Anna Han ’16 worked with mentor, and Tamer Center Advisory Board member, Mimi Boublik ’90 and chief of operations Doreen Straka, of the Jericho Project, a New York City-based nonprofit that provides housing, employment services, and other critical programming to adults and children experiencing homelessness in New York City. Anna analyzed the expenses across the seven residential buildings Jericho Project owns to provide recommendations for cost savings.
Literacy Inc., Caroline Escobar ’16 and Barbara Vrede ’16
Caroline Escobar ’16 and Barbara Vrede ’16 worked with mentor Sue Orchant and executive director Shari Levine ’87 at Literacy Inc., an organization that builds neighborhood networks that support young readers by working with schools, libraries, and community partners. Literacy Inc.’s community-based strategy targets families in high-need, high-potential neighborhoods across New York City. Caroline worked on creating an interactive dashboard for board members to incorporate into their quarterly meeting, while Barbara worked to perfect their fundraising strategy.
NPower, Renata Cecco ’16
Renata Cecco ’16 worked with mentor Frank Pedersen at NPower, a national nonprofit that mobilizes the tech community and provides individuals, nonprofits and schools opportunities to build tech skills and achieve their potential. Renata analyzed and suggested improvements to NPower’s growth strategy and helped prepare a new marketing plan.
NYC Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Jessica Prue Rifkind ’17
Jessica Prue Rifkind ’17 worked with mentor, and Tamer Center Advisory Board member, Mark Zurack and the NYC Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, a nonprofit health organization that focuses on support and research for Alzheimer’s disease. Jessica developed revenue projections for a three-year strategic planning effort by quantifying revenue uncertainty using sensitivity analysis and analyzing historical revenue patterns. She then used comparative financial benchmarking to identify revenue and partnership opportunities for the organization moving forward.
Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), Damien Vacherot ’16
Damien Vacherot ’16 worked with mentor Kathleen McInerney, Kristin Lewis ’15 and Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), a New York City-based nonprofit that brings together more than 500 republican, democratic, and independent mayors and business leaders to make the economic case for streamlining, modernizing, and rationalizing the United States’ immigration system. Damien worked to develop a digital strategy allowing the organization to sustain engagement with its grassroots supporters. Damien focused on conducting an analysis of best practices pertaining to digital strategies across different types of organizations, including nonprofits, think tanks and successful companies, and delivered a set of recommendations tailored to PNAE’s objectives and resources.
Partnership for Inner City Education, Kaley deNicola ’17
Kaley deNicola ’17 joined mentor Jane O’Connell at Partnership for Inner City Education, a network of six urban Catholic schools in Harlem and the South Bronx supported by a leadership team of entrepreneurial educators committed to transforming pre-K to eighth grade urban, Catholic education. Kaley developed a performance framework to be delivered to the board of directors and shared with current and prospective donors. The framework was then used to measure the impact of the partnership across key performance criteria.
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Julia Rosenblum ’16
Julia Rosenblum ’16 worked with Melissa Berman, mentor, Tamer Center Advisory Board member, and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. RPA is a nonprofit that provides research and counsel on charitable giving; develops philanthropic programs; and offers complete program, administrative, and management services for foundations and trusts. Julia used data from over 60 interviews with foundation leaders to identify discrete, useful archetypes in order to enhance the capacity of foundations to align resources; develop shared concepts, frameworks, and tools; and encourage collaboration.
Support Center/Partnership in Philanthropy, Alexander Subashi ’16
Alexander Subashi ’16 worked with mentor John Emmert and Support Center/Partnership in Philanthropy, a New York/New Jersey-based nonprofit that consults with and trains nonprofit leaders and their organizations to increase overall effectiveness. Collaborating with Keith Timko ’02, associate executive director, Alexander helped Support Center survey the impact investment space in New Jersey, develop strategic priorities to accelerate the space, and form a regional impact investment network.
Tamer Center, Katherine Chang ’16
Katherine Chang ’16 worked with mentor Sandi Wright and the Tamer Center Advisory Board and staff to help develop the first Tamer Center Nonprofit Board Showcase. Katherine worked on the programming and created the criteria for nonprofit organization participants.
Alpha Workshops, Byron Austin ’16
Byron Austin ’16 worked with mentor Steve Symonds ’84 and the management team at the Alpha Workshops to develop an evaluation model that will help them better manage and monitor the effect of the organization's programs on their students.
Child Mind Institute, Alex Nelson ’17
Alex Nelson ’17 worked with mentor, and Tamer Center Advisory Board member, Debbie Perelman ’00 at the Child Mind Institute. Alex provided analysis of current and potential enterprise budget and planning software.