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Praxis Partnership

Overview

  • Open to nonprofits serving children, youth and families in Washington DC
  • A 12-month engagement to strengthen organizational leadership and systems to foster sustainability and growth
  • Focuses on strengthening capacity in four of the following areas: Board Development, Financial Management, Fundraising, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Outreach & Communications, Planning & Strategy, and/or Program Evaluation
  • Results: Partner organizations develop or improve systems that lead to increased revenue and number of participants served.

Questioning if the Praxis Partnership is right for you? Schedule a Partnership Consultation.

Please Note: Organizations that have completed a Praxis Partnership in the past are not eligible to re-apply.

Application and Program FAQs

If I don’t meet Fair Chance’s priority considerations, can I still get a Partnership?

Yes, you can still be selected as a partner even if you don’t meet our priority considerations. Similarly, meeting a priority consideration does not guarantee a partnership. Praxis applicants are given priority consideration if 50% or more of their program participants are experiencing poverty. Our priority considerations reflect our commitment to our mission and to advancing racial equity in DC’s nonprofit sector. These factors are given more weight than others, but we consider a number of variables when selecting partners, including your capacity building needs, your programs, your availability to engage in partnership work, and our staffing capacity and expertise.

How much time do I need to fill out the application?
The application is comprehensive, so please give yourself plenty of time to complete it! We recommend starting early and taking advantage of the application’s Page Navigation function and the Save and Resume function to work on the application at a pace that ensures you can meet the deadline.
Can I save the application as a draft or do I need to complete it all at once?

At the top right corner after each page you complete, select “save my progress and resume later” to ensure any work is saved. This enables you to revisit your partially completed application later rather than needing to complete it all in one go.

My organization is currently finalizing or creating this year’s organizational budget. How should I answer the questions in the Finances section?
We are looking to get a realistic understanding of how much money you intend raise and how much money you intend to spend during your current fiscal year. If your organization has a program budget, submit that on the attachments page and provide us with your best estimates in the Finances section.
How much detail are you looking for in the Capacity Building Needs section?
The Capacity Building Needs section is a critical part of the application; please take time to reflect on your capacity building needs. Describing how you and your organization would like to grow and develop during the partnership will strengthen your application. It may help to think of the structures, policies, and procedures that you would like to create or refine. Alternatively, you could share what you
would like to change or what is not working at your organization. For example, “We need a better process for recruiting new board members” or you can say, “We have not added any new members to the board since our founding and we want to change this.” For more tips on this section, refer to the Application Tips portion of this FAQ document.
My organization does not have one or more of the requested attachments. Are they required? Do the attachments that I have need to be formatted in a specific way?
There are several attachments requested in the application; some are required and some are not. For those required: if you have the up-to-date information in a format that you used for another application, send that in without reformatting, but please make sure it has all the requested information. One attachment (an evaluation report) is not required. If you do not already have a program evaluation
report, there is no need to create one for this application. This will not impact the success of your application. We request that attachments be submitted in Word, Excel, or PDF format (PDF is preferred.)
After the application is submitted, what are the next steps?

Congratulations on submitting your application!

Next (action) steps for you:

  • Send the Board Approval form to your Board Chair. The application is not considered complete
    until that is submitted. This form is linked in the application
  • Keep an eye on your email inbox in case any clarification is needed with your application as
    submitted.

Meanwhile, the Fair Chance selection team will review all of the applications and contact each of the applicant organization’s Executive Director by Monday, November 8th to let them know if they’re progressing to the interview stage and, if so, to request that they register for an interview time.

When will we be notified if we get selected for a Partnership?

When will we be notified if we get selected for a Partnership?

Our selection process takes several months. It involves thoroughly reviewing applications, interviewing selected applicants, and examining a number of factors to make our final selection. All applicants will be notified in late December.

Praxis versus Pathways Programs

Are there different applications for each Partnership program?

Yes, the application for the Praxis Program is open now and will be due on October 1st, 2021 at 5 pm. This application has different questions from our Pathways Program application. In past years, we offered one joint application for both programs. Now, there are separate application cycles. We will begin accepting applications for the Pathways Program in spring 2022. (Sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we open the next Pathways application.)

How much time do I need to fill out the application?

You can learn about each program on our website and you can complete a short questionnaire to determine which partnership best matches your organization. If you’d like to speak with a Fair Chance staff member, you can schedule a virtual consultation to discuss your specific situation or reach out to our Programs Team at applications@fairchancedc.org or 202-886-1142 x116.

Application Tips

Start early and save your work. Applications are due October 1, 2021 at 5 pm

We hope that our application provides a space for you to reflect on who you are, what you do, and how you want to develop, grow, strengthen, improve – both as an Executive Director and as an organization. Please remember that you are not applying to Fair Chance for funding, so you do not have to sell us a shiny organization with amazing results. In fact, if you are too perfect, we are going to be asking ourselves if you really need a Partnership.

The four things we are most looking for in your application are clarity, uniqueness, transparency, and partnership.

  • Clarity. We are not looking for buzz words or fancy prose. We are looking for clarity. The more we
    understand your organization, programs, and capacity building needs, the better your application.
  • Unique. Every nonprofit is special in some way. Help us understand why your organization or program is
    unique in how you approach your work, who you serve, how you meet an unmet need, or whatever it is
    that makes your organization great.
  • Transparency. We hold what you tell us in confidence and do not share it outside of our selection team,
    which is made up of members from Fair Chance’s Leadership Team and Program staff. You don’t have to
    hide all your pain points. In fact, we need you to share those with us to truly understand your capacity
    building needs.
  • Partnership. Remember that we work with you during a partnership, rather than achieving things for you (e.g., we help you develop a fundraising plan; we do not fundraise for you). In writing about your capacity building needs in the application, emphasize what you want to learn or develop in order to achieve your goals.

“Don’t be afraid to acknowledge where your organization needs a lot of work. You can be a lot more transparent with Fair Chance and it really allows them to dig a lot deeper into how they can support you…It is not about evaluating you, but instead asking to figure out what needs to
get done so you leave this Partnership with the right tools. We may not solve it completely right here, but you know that leaving this you’ll have everything in place to help you get where you’re trying to go. Transparency is key.” – 2020 Partner Executive Director

The Partnership

Will the Praxis Partnership be virtual or in-person?
This year’s Praxis Partnership will be conducted virtually. During partnership meetings, the expectation is that the Executive Director will be able to see and be seen, edit and share documents to work together in real time, and be in a location where confidential or sensitive issues can be openly discussed with the Capacity Building Specialist.
Eight-hours of partnership work each week is a big time-commitment for an Executive Director. How do current Fair Chance partners find the time?

Fair Chance requires our Partner Executive Directors to spend eight hours a week on Praxis Partnership work. Two of these hours are spent meeting with their Capacity Building Specialist. The other six are spent thinking about, designing, implementing, or responding to whatever was discussed during that meeting. For example, an Executive Director working in the fundraising capacity building area might spend time outside of meetings drafting a fundraising plan, communicating with donors, or working on a grant proposal.

 “It was difficult to find the time. Initially, it was mind-boggling to think of how I was going to find the time. But I had a very good partner in my Capacity Building Specialist who helped me make it all work. And it is hard work. I needed a desire to want to do this and to dig deep into myself and my organization… but it soon became part of my normal schedule.” 2020 Praxis Partner Executive Director

Do Fair Chance Capacity Building Specialists operate like consultants?
Our program is designed to be completed with your organization. We work with you during a partnership, rather than achieving things for you (e.g., we help you develop a fundraising plan; we do not fundraise for you). The success of any partnership depends on how much your Executive Director and Board put into our work together
Who can I contact if I have specific questions that were not answered here?

For technical assistance and questions regarding the use of our online application form (how to save, submit,etc.), please visit our FormAssembly Platform FAQs or contact Sallie Lampron at slampron@fairchancedc.org.

The FormAssembly FAQs are also accessible from the “Need Help” message at the bottom of each application page.

For all other questions, please contact Anjali Nagpaul, the Director of DC Programs, at 202-886-1142 x116 or applications@fairchancedc.org or schedule a virtual consultation with a Fair Chance staff member.