Message from the CEO
December 2020


(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

“With the closure of our school-based programs last spring, both our mentoring and tutoring shifted virtually. In order to continue our programming, we reduced our student to teacher ratio from about 1:7 to 1:1 so that we are working one on one online with our students. In addition to tutoring, we are providing tech support and just helping students understand what the transition to distance learning means for them. Last year we served about 687 students and this year we will barely make 400. Our waiting list has increased and the amount of students we are able to effectively connect with has diminished even though we’re working harder than ever.”

Danielle M. Middlebrooks, Executive Director, Community Youth Advance

Resilient – the word for nonprofit leaders in 2020. Danielle’s story is just one of many stories I have heard from community-based nonprofit leaders over the past 8 months. Research shows the abrupt switch to remote learning wiped out academic gains for many students in America, and widened racial and economic gaps. Programs like Danielle’s that are working to support student achievement beyond the online classroom are needed now more than ever. Many are working hard to provide services under difficult circumstances. Yet, government grants and contracts are expected to decline in 2021 by as much as 10-20% due to declining tax revenues due to COVID.

As you consider your end-of-year giving, please remember the small community-based nonprofits embedded in local neighborhoods, serving the children and families most affected by this pandemic. The big nonprofits will survive, but it’s the smaller ones that local families count on that I am truly worried about.

Fair Chance has also had to be resilient. We worked hard, served more nonprofits than ever, and did it mostly online. From individual coaching to peer sharing zoom calls, the Fair Chance team tried to be there for the nonprofit leaders in this year of crisis. On December 11, we are hosting a half-day virtual Executive Retreat for 20 of our alumni called “Leading with Vision 2021.” The 20 slots filled within a week and we have a fairly sizable waiting list.

We made it through 2020, but there are more tough times ahead. We thank everyone who supported Fair Chance and our partners this year with your time, talents, and treasure. If possible, please consider a year-end gift to Fair Chance or to one of the incredible nonprofits in our network. We appreciate your support.

Peace and blessings for the new year,


Gretchen Van der Veer, PhD
Chief Executive Officer