February 2016
Message from the Executive Director

Twenty More Children...

Twenty more children. That's what opening a new center in the Hopkins Public Housing complex in Southeast, D.C. will mean.  Thanks to Little Lights Urban Ministries, twenty more children will have a regular place to go after school for homework help and extracurricular activities, enabling them to meet important developmental goals. 

When Little Lights applied to be a Fair Chance partner in 2005, they were serving 45
children in the Potomac Gardens Public Housing complex and their budget was roughly
A Little Lights student is all smiles at the Hopkins Center.
$320 K. Now they are serving a total of 120 children and will open the new center serving  an additional 20 students this  spring.  

While celebrating their 20 th anniversary in 2015, Little Lights also saw their budget grow to over $1 million. That million dollar threshold is a really important one for community-based nonprofits - at $1 million you can truly start to build an infrastructure of sustainability.

When I asked  Amy Leonard, Little Lights' Development & Communications Manager, the secret to their growth she credited the deep relationships Little Lights has with the Resident Councils of Potomac Gardens and Hopkins and the fact that the community believes in them. 
Little Lights' new extension site will be open in the 1430 building of Hopkins Public Housing. This is the site prior to their renovations, which began last week!

Fair Chance is committed to serving community-based  nonprofits  with the potential to put  more children and youth on a pathway out of poverty. We applaud the achievements of Little Lights, we are proud to have been a part of their journey. W e hope that  many of you will join us as we hear more stories like this from our graduating nonprofit partners on April 11, 2016. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Yours in service,

Gretchen Van der Veer, PhD

What's New With Fair Chance
Our 2015 Graduates Are Busy Preparing for Graduation!

On February 11, Fair Chance offered the
second session of its Storytelling Workshop series at Amazon DC Headquarters. The workshop, designed exclusively for the 2016 graduating partners, provided the participants with tools and guidance used for developing video clips to highlight their organization's work, mission, and impact. The final videos will be revealed at Fair Chance's Partner Graduation Ceremony scheduled April 11, 2016 at Studio Theater. Both Storytelling sessions were facilitated by Liane Scott of Grassroots DC.

Arthur Cutler Goes to Morocco  and Tunisia!

In conjunction with the US Department of State and Legacy International, Fair Chance participated in the Professional Fellows Program Exchange in 2015. Last spring, Fair Chance hosted Akrem Haddad, a Project Coordinator with the UN Industrial Development Organization from Tunis, Tunisia. This year 2-3 employees from over 20 host organizations were invited to apply for four spots to serve in the Dept. of State/Legacy International US Delegation to Tunisia and Morocco.

A fter an application and interview process, Arthur Cutler, Fair Chance's Chief Operating Officer, was selected to join the delegation for a two week exchange trip to Tunisia and Morocco. In Tunisia, Arthur participated in meetings with the leaders of the political parties and members of Parliament. Arthur provided financial management trainings to Tunisian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that were USAID recipients. Arthur also participated in several panel discussions and lectured on "Th e Role of Civil Society in a Developing Democracy" at Carthage University. The trip included meetings with the President of the High Court and a visit to the US Embassy in Tunisia for a meeting with the Ambassador Daniel Rubenstein.

In Morocco, the delegation was able to visit over eight different cities which included Rabat, Marrakech, Agadir, Oujda, Mohammedia, Ourika, Taourirt, and Casablanca. In Morocco, Arthur presented strategic planning and financial management trainings to Moroccan NGOs. He also met with head officials in the Moroccan Anti-Corruption Agency and Agency for Social Development.

Along with the professional demands of the trip, it was a culturally enriching trip which included visits with many of  the citizens, students, and local NGOs. Arthur stated that the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity and appreciates the ability to see the North African region through a variety of lenses unfiltered by media portrayal or past misconceptions. He also expressed interest in returning to the region with his family for a visit.

Partner Highlights  

ACCESS Youth kicked off their Youth Advisory Board with the mission to educate, evaluate, and advocate. This new environment was designed to empower the youth and give them the leadership skills necessary to tackle issues in their communities. ACCESS Youth's Youth Advisory Board will not only serve as a feedback mechanism for current ACCESS Youth programs, but will allow them to target additional issues the youth see as obstacles to their success. 
City Kids Wilderness Project has been awarded support through the National Park Service Centennial Challenge Program to support their Wilderness Explorers Program, in both the Washington, DC and Jackson, WY areas.  As a part of this new partnership and funding award, City Kids will have a part-time Ranger working directly with their staff, youth, and families to support their afterschool and weekend outdoor adventure programming.  This public-private partnership should have a huge impact on their efforts to build resiliency, broaden horizons, and ensure skills for success for their participants. 

Critical Exposure's 2016 Fellowship class is the biggest ever -- 21 youth from across DC! To usher in the new members, Critical Exposure hosted their annual Youth Leadership Retreat during MLK weekend. Staff and youth arrived at Manidokan Retreat early Saturday morning and engaged in three days of community building, campaign work and creative development. Current and new Fellows built and strengthened connections through group activities, including a ropes course, photo hikes and storytelling by the campfire. For many of their youth, this marked their first camp experience! The Fellows also engaged in challenging work of developing their campaign strategy, focusing on the negative presence of security guards and police officers in schools. 
The Fishing School's annual Family Literacy Nights featured poetry readings by Board members, student performances of scenes from read aloud books, and tabling activities staffed by volunteers from their corporate partners.  Tabling activities focused on giving parents strategies to help students improve in decoding, fluency, comprehension, and spelling/writing.  TFS is thrilled to report that Bishop Walker School for Boys hit 100% parent participation at their Literacy Night!

Earlier this month, Free Minds Book Club was interviewed by NBC 4 after winning NBC's 21st Century Solutions grant challenge of $50,000. The money will be used to fund the participation of 40 returning citizens in their Job Readiness and Life Skills Apprenticeship over the course of 2016. 
Healthy Babies Project, Inc. has recently implemented two new intervention programs - SIHLE and 'The Fatherhood Initiative'. SIHLE is a peer-led social-skills training program emphasizing ethnic and gender pride, reducing HIV and STD transmission rates and risky sexual behavior among African American teenage females, ages 14-18. The Fatherhood Initiative is a therapeutic intervention program where participants learn parenting skills and learn new ways to address family problems that are consistent with their values and cultures. 
Words Beats & Life has been selected as one of ABC's Harris' Heroes after PBS featured WBL Academy students for American Graduate Day. Academy students will get this upcoming feature right around WBL's annual Breakfast of Champions on March 18th, a celebration of cultivating a new generation of philanthropists. 
In honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, American University students volunteered with Young Ladies of Tomorrow program participants to facilitate an empowering dialogue around career and college goals and future planning. The theme for the day of service was "generated by love," and through interactive activities, the girls discussed how to identify unique personality traits, questions and answers about matriculating through high school and preparing for college, and even participated in creating vision boards.
What We're Reading
1.  Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Frina Lin, Jeremy Majerovitz, and Benjamin Scuderi, is part of a   groundbreaking research project that has used the tax records of millions of Americans - stripped of identifying information - to show that our economic prospects as adults are heavily shaped by where we live as children.

2. Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever) by Melody Barnes and Paul Schmitz explores d ata-driven and evidence-based practices that open new opportunities for nonprofit leaders to increase their impact and efficiency. (Subscription to the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) magazine is required read full the full article.)

Mark Your Calendar

March 11
Greater Washington Urban League

March 12
Young Playwrights Theater

March 13

March 15
Executive Director Learning Community
10-12PM | 1225 L St, NW #605
Co-hosted by DC Alliance for Youth Advocates. For Fair Chance current and alumni partners only.

March 17 
City Kids Wilderness Project

March 20
Generation Hope

April 11
Studio Theatre
1501 14th St, NW

April 13
One World Education

April 28
City Kids Wilderness Project

April 27
Thank You!

Thank you Naomi Duprey, Quentin Evans, and Braden Cox from Amazon DC for hosting our storytelling workshop at the Amazon DC Headquarters