As we gear up for a second round of our Fairmount4Free pro bono initiative – stay tuned for an announcement this summer! – it’s important to look back on what we accomplished the first time around. For those not in the know, we launched Fairmount4Free as our very first pro bono initiative last summer, which offers $10,000 of free consulting services to smaller nonprofits in the area doing exciting work. The response was amazing (and even inspired us to expand pro bono support to the many new nonprofit leaders in our city through the PHL NExT initiative). After much deliberation we selected PhilaSoup, an education-focused microgrant dinner that awards funding to exciting classroom projects, as one of our inaugural awardees.
PhilaSoup dinners brings together hundreds (perhaps thousands) of smart, engaged educators and other professionals in a supportive, nonpolitical environment. This is no small task in a city whose public school system is best known for its staggeringly high drop-out rate and increasingly dire financial crises. It was clear to us that PhilaSoup was one of the few organizations truly supporting teachers, and needed to expand – yet as they are an all-volunteer organization, we had to think creatively around how they could grow.
As consultants, our job is two-fold: we help our clients plan to fully realize their potential, and then we build the necessary framework to get there. But we can only create the roadmap – it’s up to the organization to take those first steps beyond their comfort zone. For PhilaSoup, that means a plan for growth that embraces their unique ability to support teachers, and pushes them to expand and create mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations interested in teachers. What does it mean for your organization?