United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has joined forces with CoSpero Consulting to launch a new initiative that provides programs and services to students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The collaborative organization of ten cohort participants, dubbed Together for Tomorrow, meets weekly in “guided creative problem-solving workshops” to address the issue of how to provide educational services during the healthcare outbreak and stay-at-home order.
Together for Tomorrow hopes that each cohort member will leave the organization with a solution that their nonprofit can implement immediately, along with new organizational partnerships.
The nonprofits will then have the chance to win a prize of $5K to support the implementation of their innovative solution. The winner will be selected by all cohort members.
Half of the nonprofits in the cohort are founded and led by women of color, and all organizations are focused on serving the education sector in their community. The cohort meets every other week for three months virtually in interactive problem-solving workshops.
Three more workshop sessions start on July 24, with the group of nonprofits discussing rapid piloting and collecting quality feedback. Aug. 7 will be dedicated to talking about sharing learnings, improving solutions, and finding synergy, and Aug. 14 will be used to examine adapting communications, fundraising, and human capital strategies to scale innovations.
After the cohort’s final session, members of Together for Tomorrow will meet again to share their experience and innovations and vote on the winning project.
CoSpero Consulting works to support mission-minded organizations that can sustain and advance an impact on communities. Together with United Way Dallas, CoSpero predicts cohort members will be able to “think through how to best serve students and families under the new policies and realities.”
“The CoSpero team is grateful for the generosity and innovation of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas,” CoSpero Consulting said in a statement. “Thanks to [its] generosity, we get to help a small group of education nonprofit leaders think through how to best serve communities under the new policies and realities related to COVID-19.”
Here are the current members of the Together for Tomorrow cohort:
AES Literacy Institute Incorporated
Founded in 2019 and led by President Jermaine Cooper and Vice President ShaKimberly Cooper, AES Literacy Institute Inc. hopes to motivate under-educated and underprivileged adult learners to obtain the education and career training needed to become self-sufficient. Through the program, they hope to build trust with the DACA, Dreamers, and Latinx communities of Dallas County to educate them about higher education opportunities to gain U.S. citizenship.
After School All Stars North Texas
Interim Executive Director Justin Hensley leads After School All Stars North Texas, a program that provides out-of-school programs to keep children safe and supported through school and life. As a member of the cohort, After School All Stars hopes to replicate the peer-to-peer socialization middle schoolers no longer have during the global pandemic.
Bachman Lake Together
Deputy Director Corinne Weaver of Bachman Lake Together wishes to create a virtual space for collaborative arts and cultural opportunities for families during COVID-19. The nonprofit serves children ages 0 to 5 years old and their families in the Bachman Lake community to prepare them academically, socially, and emotionally for kindergarten.
Education Opens Doors
Stephanie Epps serves as director of programs at Education Opens Doors, an organization dedicated to encouraging students to pursue an informed future in high school, and a later postsecondary education. Founded in 2012, Education Opens Doors serves students K-12 and their families, as well as schools and district leaders. Through the Together for Tomorrow program, the organization is working to find an innovative solution on how to pair analog and digital learning opportunities for middle school students.
Empowering the Masses
Empowering the Masses is a nonprofit founded by Tammy Johnson to empower underserved individuals by providing life skills and educational training services. Through Empowering the Masses, Johnson serves a variety of community members, including college-aged students, single mothers, and students who were unable to attend college. In the cohort, Johnson hopes to find a solution to promote program completion for students without in-person contact.
First Choice Social Services
LaShandra Appiah, director of program services of First Choice Social Services, is participating in the Together for Tomorrow program to solve the problem of connecting clients with online resources for navigating their daily needs of the pandemic. Benefiting parents and caregivers of school-aged children and 7-12 grade girls, First Choice Social Services’ mission is to be the primary choice in social services for families affected by domestic violence, substance abuse, and teen homelessness.
For Oak Cliff
Executive Assistant and COVID Resource Coordinator Julianna Bradley is participating in the cohort to create a solution for sharing job opportunities with their community members who don’t have regular access to technology, transportation, and housing. The nonprofit provides culturally responsive initiatives to liberate community members from systematic oppression primarily to students and families in Oak Cliff.
Readers 2 Leaders
Through the Together for Tomorrow program, Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction at Readers 2 Leaders Lisa Marshall wants to help caregivers of students overcome struggles with technology. Readers 2 Leaders serves to help all Dallas children read at or above their grade level by addressing the literacy gap in the county.
Stars United Global Outreach
Executive Director of Stars United of Global Outreach Star Williams is hoping to find an impactful solution for creating a sense of belonging for K-12 students. Founded in 2015, Stars United Global Outreach works with at-risk students to provide impactful training and create social change.
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