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Our Approach

Fair Chance has developed a proven approach to strengthening youth-serving community-based nonprofits so that they can achieve life-changing results for children and families experiencing poverty. Our capacity building partnerships are successful because they are relationship-based, customized, and provide enough time to ensure transformative change.

Annually, we receive applications from nonprofits and select partners based on readiness criteria. Our ideal partners seek to deepen their impact; serve more children, youth, and families; and take their leadership and organizations to the next level. Once selected, partners go through an intensive assessment process designed for small nonprofits and then receive a work plan based on the partner’s needs and strengths. Our Capacity Building Specialists and Executive Directors devote eight hours a week to partnership work. The capacity building provided is customized to fit the unique needs of each organization and is culturally responsive and equity informed. At the end of the Partnership, we celebrate each partner’s accomplishments with the broader Fair Chance community and welcome them to our alumni network where they receive ongoing training and resources.

We have been strengthening nonprofits in historically under-resourced communities since 2002. In 2016, we began to deepen our understanding of institutional racism and systemic issues in perpetuating poverty and incorporated a racial equity lens into our work. Informed by a series of focus groups with stakeholders, including community leaders and youth, we published our Racial Equity Framework in February of 2019 and use it to continuously improve our services.

What are “Life-Changing Results”?

The scientific theory that informs our work is The Social Genome Project, which found evidence that youth who achieve key milestones in life — such as reading at grade level and graduating from high school — are more likely to be middle class by age 30. Most importantly, if a key milestone is not achieved, a child can still get back on track to be successful through targeted interventions.

We adapted the key findings of The Social Genome Project to form our Life-Changing Outcomes Framework for children, youth, and families experiencing poverty. This Framework identifies four areas where critical interventions can change the trajectory of a child’s life: education, housing & income, health & well-being, and community. Each year, we use this Framework to ensure that we partner with small, community-based nonprofits whose work aligns with our mission.

What Makes Our Programs Unique?

Based on research, our years of experience, and culturally responsive, equity-informed capacity building practices, the following capacity building areas serve as the foundation upon which we build strong nonprofits: Board Development, Financial Management, Fundraising, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Outreach & Communications, Planning and Strategy, Program Evaluation, & Resource Alignment. Fair Chance works strategically in these areas based on the strengths and needs of each nonprofit. Learn more about our capacity building areas here.

  • The Spirit of Partnership. We refer to the organizations we work with as partners because our programs are built on mutual learning, sharing, and trust.
  • Our Capacity Building Specialists. With a combined total of over 100 years of experience and expertise in nonprofit management and organizational development, our Capacity Building Specialists are highly skilled, culturally responsive, and understand the local nonprofit and philanthropic landscape.
  • A Long-Term Commitment to our Nonprofit Partners and their Sustainability. We offer partners ongoing training, referrals to resources, an online community forum, and opportunities to continue to learn, share, and grow as part of a supportive peer network. We also champion better government policies and philanthropic practices that benefit small, community-based nonprofits and create equitable communities.
  • Demonstrated Results. We are committed to monitoring and measuring our partners’ progress over time through pre & post assessments and annual surveys that measure organizational growth and sustainability. On average, within five years of receiving a Fair Chance Praxis Partnership, alumni nonprofits more than double their revenue and the number of children served.

How Our Programs Work

  • Application & Selection: Once a year, we accept applications from potential partners. After reviewing applications and interviewing finalists, we select nonprofit partners who are ready to take their leadership and organizations to the next level.
  • Assessment & Work Plan: Each program starts with an intense assessment process designed for small nonprofits. Then, we develop a work plan based on the partner’s strengths and needs.
  • Partnership Work: Capacity Building Specialists and Executive Directors each devote eight hours/week to partnership work, spending at least two of those hours working together on the work plan.
  • Celebration: We celebrate each partner’s hard work and capacity building accomplishments at the end of the Partnership with the broader Fair Chance community.
  • Alumni Support: We provide on-going training and resources through our network services.

Interested in becoming a Fair Chance Partner? Learn more about our Partnerships and the application process.

Interested in giving nonprofits in your area a Fair Chance? Visit our Ways to Give page to learn more about opportunities to work with Fair Chance.