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Contact: Ranit Schmelzer

April 20, 2015

Ten Nonprofits Improve Capacity to Serve Children and Youth in Poverty

*** TODAY’s graduation is open to the media. See details below. ***

Fair Chance partnership strengthens nonprofits filling critical community needs

Washington, DC – Ten enterprising youth-serving nonprofits that work in Washington, DC's most underserved communities will graduate today, Monday, April 20th from an intensive, year-long program provided by Fair Chance to increase their organizational effectiveness.  This program is highly selective and only offered to promising or growing nonprofits addressing the needs of young people in poverty.  This year's participants provide services ranging from improving academic outcomes to making healthy choices and collectively serve over 12,000 children and youth across DC.

Fair Chance annually selects ten nonprofits for this program that involves free capacity building, coaching, and assistance in organizational management - up to 500 hours per nonprofit.  At the end of their "partnership" year, organizations on average increase their fundraising, the number of children they serve, and 90% report an increase in ability to measure and report on outcomes. Weekly sessions with Fair Chance's full-time organization development specialists focus holistically across competencies such as financial management, program evaluation, strategic planning, and board and leadership development, among others.

"Nearly a third of DC children live in poverty, well above the national average. As a result, they will experience a variety of social, economic, and academic challenges," said Gretchen Van der Veer, Executive Director of Fair Chance. "Neighborhood nonprofits fill a critical need and provide these children with essential services -- helping them to achieve life-changing results such as being ready for school, reading by third grade, graduating from high school, and obtaining life skills necessary for getting and keeping a job. Fair Chance helps these organizations improve their capacity to demonstrate results and be more sustainable so they, in turn, can help more kids."

This year's graduating partners include: College Tribe, DC Greens, Family & Youth Initiative, Healthy Babies Project, Inc., HIPS, Many Languages One Voice, Public Allies Washington, DC, School Justice Project, WINNERS Lacrosse and YoKid. They join an active network of more than 87 other nonprofit organizations that have partnered with Fair Chance since 2002.

At last year's ceremony, 2014 graduate Nicole Lynn Lewis, Executive Director of Generation Hope, told the crowd, "we doubled the number of scholars that we served over the past year. We are doing more college readiness workshops in the community. We're growing in leaps and bounds. I know so much of it has to do with our Fair Chance partnership."

The ten graduating nonprofits will join together at a graduation ceremony at Studio Theatre on Monday, March 20 at 5:30pm. The event is open to press.

WHAT: Graduation Ceremony for Fair Chance Partners
WHEN: Today, Monday, March 20 at 5:30pm
WHERE: Studio Theatre
1501 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC
RSVP: Ranit Schmelzer, 202-538-1065 or


Fair Chance improves the lives of children in Washington, DC’s most underserved communities by selecting promising youth-serving nonprofits and providing them with free comprehensive expertise in organizational management for up to two years. Our capacity building consulting services – up to 500 hours per nonprofit – result in stronger organizations and significant and lasting benefits for the children they serve. Since 2002, Fair Chance has partnered with more than 90 nonprofit organizations, serving a combined 80,000 children. More information can be found at