Updated: Mar 4
Each Friday, we'll bring you the perspective of a nonprofit in our THRIVE accelerator program and share a little about their organization.
KLM Scholarship Foundation
This first session of THRIVE, facilitated as by our partners at The Spark Mill, was an orientation, a chance for nonprofits to meet their mentors, and an overview of Mission, Vision, and Values, led by Lori Ruffin from The COO Team.
We asked Founder and CEO: Kim Martin, and COO: Anita Young, from KLM Scholarship Foundation, to tell us about their experience this week.
What are you hoping to get out of this program?
Founder and CEO Kim: We’ve been around 18 years. I feel like there’s still so much we can learn. We want to learn about best practices about board governance, and how to keep our volunteers connected, excited, and focused on our mission.
We also want to learn more about fundraising. Our organization has been heavily dependent on special events. COVID-19 taught us a hard lesson that we need to diversify. We want to help our volunteers, those connected to us, feel comfortable asking for donations. We also want to learn how to build capacity. No one here is paid. Any strong nonprofit has at least some paid staff.
What did you learn, or feel spoke to you, about this week's session?
COO Anita: Less is more! What are the key elements of who we are? Our values, mission language, should reflect that.
Kim: Being succinct is a good thing, but how do we share enough information so that people know what we are doing and why that’s important. Anita and I were texting during that part of the session, saying we need to revisit our mission/vision/values! We developed our values 18 years ago. It wouldn’t be a bad time to revisit, revise, and improve.
What’s one way you see this applying to your organization?
Kim: I have a project management background. A best practice is understanding your scope. I love that the word scope was used today because I strive to make sure we stay in our lane [and don’t have mission creep]. To say THIS is what we’re good at. If you take on too much, you have the risk of not being very effective.
Anita: We serve the entire commonwealth of VA, let’s make sure we tell people that.
Kim: I want people to know how we’re different. We learned today that are 18 million nonprofits in the country! We are a volunteer-run organization but we’ve met a lot of milestones and goals and we’ve done it with volunteers! You can make more money but you can’t make more time. I value everything our volunteer team does. It is a sacrifice and a labor of love.
About KLM Scholarship Foundation
Since 2002, the primary purpose of the organization has been to raise funds and distribute book scholarship awards. The scholarships are academic-based and target college students faced with financial obstacles.
Has helped 406 students attending 31 Virginia community colleges and four year institutions.
To date, has awarded $384,745 in scholarships for books and supplies.
The THRIVE accelerator program provides an opportunity to look beyond the current challenges and obstacles and plan out a direct and streamlined path forward. Organizations will spend concentrated time planning and executing real-time solutions with guided facilitation.
The second cohort will focus on helping organizations engage leading practices in program design, community engagement, board development, fundraising, storytelling, and HR/operations with a racial equity lens. This experience creates a set time for teams of boards and staff to come together to look at their organization holistically and then apply what they are learning to their specific context.
THRIVE was created through collaboration between The Collaboratory of Virginia and The Spark Mill, and is currently sponsored by Carmax, Robins Foundation, and Virginia Community Capital.