Success Stories

Since 2002, Fair Chance has worked with more than 90 organizations. Here are their stories.

Measurable Impact - One World Education

When Fair Chance selected One World Education (OWEd) as a partner, they were running their creative writing program in just one DC public school (DCPS). Today, OWEd is collaborating with 140 teachers in more than 30 DCPS schools reaching 4,500 students, and is now the largest district-wide creating writing program. OWEd's impact data shows an 80% improvement in student engagement, 90% fewer classroom disruptions, and an 84% increase in assignment completion - all predictors of future graduation rates.

According to Eric Goldstein, Executive Director of OWEd, "Fair Chance worked with us so we could establish the systems that allow us to make sure our programs do what they are intended to do and measure results."

Increased Stability - Teens Run DC

Ben Forman, Founder and Executive Director of Teens Run DC, a program for that empowers at-risk youth to achieve personal goals through a mentoring and distance running program, said that Fair Chance gave him a vision of what was possible.

In less than a year after completing their partnership with Fair Chance, Teens Run DC increased the number of participants and mentors by 50% and were able to collect data showing improvements on indicators of teen mental health, including self-efficacy, connectedness, and measures of depression.

"What we're trying to do is support these kids when they're faced with challenges.  Fair Chance did the same for me as a struggling nonprofit leader."  -- Ben Forman, Founder

More Children Served - Literacy Lab

In 2011, Literacy Lab came to Fair Chance with a quality tutoring program that improved a child's reading by an average of 1½ grade levels. Fair Chance worked with Literacy Lab to build a diversified funding stream, strong financial system, and communications strategy. Their organizational improvements were a major reason they were awarded a public-private grant allowing them to quadruple the number of children they reached this year. Most of the 1,000 students with whom they are working are located East of the River.

Tom Dillon, Literacy Lab's co-founder, credited Fair Chance with enabling the organization to focus on its core mission of helping children learn to read. "We're reaching more of them and better than we would if it wasn't because of Fair Chance," he said. "The help we received from Fair Chance on the organizational aspects of running a non-profit, the things we weren't experts in, allowed us to focus better on what we do know how to do - teach kids how to read. Fair Chance brought us systems and processes and templates that had already been created, so we didn't have to recreate the wheel and could accomplish those things faster, easier and better, which, in turn, saved us time and money that let us put more time and money into our programs. Their assistance gave us more time to focus on our work."

Stronger Leaders - Southeast Ministries

As Executive Director of Southeast Ministries, Valarie Ashley often felt overworked and under supported. When Fair Chance stepped in to work with her and her organization, she received the direct and indirect supports she needed to make Southeast Ministries more capable of fulfilling its mission of providing education and employment services to approximately 700 low-income individuals. According to Valarie, an invaluable piece of her partnership with Fair Chance was the coaching she received. "People often say being an executive director is a lonely job - it's cliché because it's true. Through the coaching I received as part of the capacity building, I got validation for what was normal, prepared for what could be expected, and support for what needed to be done." Valarie learned that what she was going through was not uncommon and she received the resources she needed to become a better leader, including introductions to other executive directors who she could talk with and learn from. "Talking about my challenges, and learning the tools to deal with them, allowed me to start feeling like a leader - like someone who was competent at my job and worthy of being at the table. As a result, I became more comfortable with my ability and my authority to make decisions, which enabled me to keep the trains moving at my organization at a much better rate."

With a better, stronger leader, Valarie's organization is able to do more to improve the lives of its clients and to meet its goal of breaking generational poverty and illiteracy. "As a result of what I learned from Fair Chance," Valarie said, "I have been able to delegate a lot more which has empowered my staff and, as a result, I hear our success stories a lot more, which makes them want to have more success stories to tell."


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