Our Third Cohort of THRIVE: An Accelerator for Social Good, facilitated with our partners at The Spark Mill, began in early September. Each week, we'll bring you the perspective of a participating nonprofit and share a little about their organization.
What are you hoping to get out of this program? Bianca Myrick, Executive Director: We were hoping to get clarity around the issue that we came here to solve--given our barriers to funding, visibility, and storytelling, how do we hone, scale, and grow the work we’re doing, at our current capacity? Let’s get to the root causes.
What did you learn, or feel spoke to you about today?
Amber Ellis, Board Chair: The storytelling part of today was incredibly helpful. Part of our challenge is, how do we get our work out there? We think most people in our community can think of a time when they were lifted up by adults, when they felt heard and seen for who they were. Connecting the experience people once had with our mission--well, storytelling is a very natural way to do that.
Amber: We’ve struggled with how to capture stories. We learned today we could have a more methodical process, like a story bank, or to engage staff in being story-hunters. One of our mission goals is self-efficacy, and that really rings true with letting the girls [in our program] tell their own stories. We saw a lot of alignment today with our mission and what we need.
Tell us about your experience in the program.
Bianca: Overall, the activities have been engaging and thought provoking. Outside of the problem that we came to solve, it’s given us a chance to be able to connect and think on a deeper level. I love how each session builds on another. This is good for every organization to revisit some of their building blocks, like mission/vision/values or theory of change. I also like that it’s carved-out time to connect with board members. It always seems like there’s not enough time to have that personal time to talk about these things.
Amber: We’re engaging in a development process/plan now and this felt like a different angle where we could focus on defining our stakeholders better and creating our messaging.
Bianca: This will set a good foundation to catapult those other initiatives.
How do you see this applying to your organization?
Bianca: We have changed our mission statement. It was time. Today we’re leaving with clear, actionable objectives on how we’ll approach storytelling. We’ll use what we learned in THRIVE to support a strategic, fund development process.
Amber: There was a segment where we talked about the values of the organization and what we were willing to get in trouble for. What do we stand for? That generated interesting dialogue. That was the first time we’d thought of it in that way.
Bianca: There are certain principles and values that we have and we’re not uprooting those. Like equity in the communities we serve. Using asset and strengths-based language. The girls in our communities are resilient. They’re not what they may be experiencing. We realize there are certain barriers our girls are facing. Our supporters need to recognize those barriers.
Amber: Our stories are of resiliency, success, and power. We’re only going to tell stories through that lens. We’ll be factual about the barriers they face, and tell the story of how strong these girls are.
Bianca: And we’re leaving with an elevator pitch to talk to board members or anyone advocating on behalf of our organization.
Pretty Purposed empowers girls to reach their highest potential through modeling healthy physical, social, and emotional development. They have community and school based programs and mentoring.
The THRIVE accelerator program provides an opportunity for nonprofits to look beyond current challenges and obstacles and plan out a direct and streamlined path forward. Organizations will tackles a specific hurdle they want to clear to get to the next level of impact with the community and will spend concentrated time with staff and board planning and executing real-time solutions with guided facilitation. We will utilize accelerator techniques to build a cohort-responsive program.
THRIVE was created through collaboration between
The Collaboratory of Virginia and The Spark Mill.