Nearly 20% of children in the United States live below the federal poverty level.
Fair Chance envisions a nation where every child succeeds. We believe that small, community-based nonprofits are critical players in combating the effects of poverty on children. By providing free, customized capacity building support, Fair Chance’s goal is to ensure these community-based organizations are strong, effective, sustainable resources in the communities they serve for years to come.
We work with nonprofits using a three-fold approach:
- We help nonprofit leaders build upon their strengths
- We help organizations build their capacity to ensure that they can continue to serve their community
- We help them enhance their programs and services, so that they can achieve life-changing results for children and families experiencing poverty
Fair Chance defines capacity building as a process where nonprofit leaders and organizations gain, strengthen, and apply the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to achieve their missions and create equitable communities.
What are “Life-Changing Results”?
The scientific theory that informs our work is The Social Genome Project, which found evidence that youth who achieve key milestones in life — such as reading at grade level and graduating from high school — are more likely to be middle class by age 30. Most importantly, if a key milestone is not achieved, a child can still get back on track to be successful through targeted interventions.
We adapted the key findings of The Social Genome Project to form our own Life-Changing Outcomes Framework for children and families experiencing poverty. This Framework identifies four areas where critical interventions can change the trajectory of a child’s life: education, housing & income, health & well-being, and community. Each year, we use this framework to ensure that we partner with small, community-based nonprofits whose work aligns with our mission.
We offer three, free capacity-building programs to fit the various needs of community-based nonprofits at different stages of development: Pathways Partnership, Praxis Partnership, and Impact Academy. Our programs are intensive and customized to meet the unique culture and needs of each nonprofit.
We deliver our programs using the components of effective capacity building identified by the Knight Foundation study of capacity building across the US, combined with more recent developments in culturally responsive and equity-informed capacity building practices. Based on research and our years of experience, the following capacity building areas serve as the foundation upon which we build strong nonprofits: Board Development, Financial Management, Fundraising, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Outreach & Communications, Planning and Strategy, Program Evaluation, & Resource Alignment. Fair Chance works strategically in these areas based on the strengths and needs of each nonprofit. Learn more about our capacity building areas here.
What Makes Our Programs Unique?
- The Spirit of Partnership. We refer to the organizations we work with as partners because our programs are built on mutual learning, sharing, and trust.
- An Amazing Team of Capacity Building Specialists. With a combined total of over 100 years of experience and expertise in nonprofit management and organizational development, our Capacity Building Specialists are highly skilled, culturally responsive, and understand the local nonprofit and philanthropic landscape.
- A Long-Term Commitment to our Nonprofit Partners and their Sustainability. We offer partners ongoing training, referrals to resources, an online community forum, and opportunities to continue to learn, share, and grow as part of a supportive peer network. We also champion better government policies and philanthropic practices that benefit small, community-based nonprofits and create equitable communities.
- Demonstrated Results. We are committed to monitoring and measuring our partners’ progress over time through pre & post assessments and annual surveys that measure organizational growth and sustainability. On average, within five years of receiving a Fair Chance Partnership, alumni nonprofits more than double their budgets and number of children served.
Interested in becoming a Fair Chance Partner? Click here to learn more about our Partnerships and our application process.
Please note, currently Fair Chance only accepts applications from organizations that provide programming to children and families experiencing poverty in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County, MD. For information about other opportunities to work with Fair Chance, please visit our For Foundations & Government Agencies page.