March 6, 2007

Abstract: Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection

This Rochester, New York-based nonprofit feared local opportunities for funding and partnerships were becoming tapped out, but were they?

By: William Foster

Rochester, New York-based Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC) helps at-risk students prepare for success at work and in life. One of its chief efforts involves pairing young participants with local employers to expose them to meaningful part-time work experience. In 2005 the organization was serving over 1,000 Rochester youth and had ambitions to do more. With strong community support, HW-SC committed to tripling the number of youth it served by 2010.

Spring 2006 found HW-SC’s leadership still eager to pursue significant growth but also sobered by the inherent challenges. They engaged with Bridgespan to assess the program’s full potential for growth, concentrating on the two main constraints: funding and meaningful part-time job opportunities for youth. A detailed scan of funding sources revealed untapped potential within one of HW-SC’s existing government streams. Analysis of employer partners highlighted the need to cultivate more relationships like their long-time flagship partnership. All together, the team’s research indicated that doubling the number of youth HW-SC served by 2010 was a realistic stretch goal. While not yet the three-fold increase that HW-SC’s leaders aspired to, growth of this magnitude would put HW-SC well on its way toward reaching that ultimate goal.

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