Category Archives: Research & Analysis

Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grant Program

EzraJackKeatsFoundation logoEzra Jack Keats (EJK) Foundation offers Mini-Grants of up to $500 to eligible organizations committed to providing innovative and artistic opportunities for children that support creative expression. Educators are challenged to develop a project or program on a budget of $500 or less.

Ezra Jack Keats was an accomplished writer and children’s book illustrator. He won the 1963 Caldecott Medal for illustrating The Snowy Day. Keats was a lifelong artist who illustrated over 85 books, and wrote and illustrated 22 children’s books. The EJK Foundation continues his legacy by encouraging children’s talents through art and literacy programs in public schools and libraries.

The EJK Foundation Mini-Grant Program is an excellent opportunity to fund a project or program that may not be possible under current budget restrictions. Organizations like public schools or public libraries that serve children from preschool to 12th grade are eligible. The goal of the EJK Mini-Grants is to encourage educators to create an unconventional experience for students that will inspire creative expression, working together, and interaction with a diverse community.

Below are a few examples of projects supported by the Foundation in the past.

  • A mural
  • A story walk
  • A quilt
  • A theatre production
  • A newspaper or other publication
  • An intergenerational activity
  • A program that brings disparate communities together

Applications may only be submitted online. The deadline is March 15th at 11:59 pm. Grant awards will be announced by May 1st.

Transform Consulting Group is always on the lookout for new and innovative fund development opportunities to help organizations expand their reach. Transform Consulting Group keeps up to date on the latest research and best practices to inform the clients we serve. Contact us today for a free consultation, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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USDA Farm to School Program: New Resources and January Webinar Kick-Off

 

This post is part of Transform Consulting Group’s blog series highlighting federal programs that provide education opportunities and/or youth development services in communities.

Farm to School

In an effort to bring more local and regional foods into school cafeterias, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) division of Food and Nutrition Services has developed a Farm to School Program. The program incorporates nutrition-based curriculum and provides hands-on learning in activities such as gardening, visiting farms, participating in culinary classes, and working with food-related education in the classroom.

Students have access to more locally grown foods while farmers have the opportunity to educate kids about local foods and agriculture. Since the Farm to School Program encourages schools to buy local, communities benefit from the sales, and schools are provided with fresh food grown nearby.

January Kicks off the USDA Farm to School Webinar Series. This 11-part webinar series will help build farm to school skills and develop new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom. Featured topics will include team building, menu planning, program sustainability, and more! For the full listing of webinars, please visit the website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/videos-and-webinars.

To find out more about farm to school activities, the USDA distributed a Farm to School Census to 13,133 public schools across the nation. In Indiana, approximately 655 schools with an estimated 402,732 children are participating in farm to school activities. During the 2011-2012 school year, Indiana schools spent an estimated $52,444,060 on school food with $7,224,159 directed locally, meaning $7,224,159 stayed in the local economy!

School districts across the nation spent an estimated $3,006,167,550 on school food in the same year. Of that, $385,771,134 went back to local communities. Click here for more info about the Farm to School Census data. For updates, follow Farm to School on Twitter at #USDAF2S or on Facebook at #farmtoschool.

  • To dive deeper into the data provided by the Farm to School Census, the Farm to School Census Explorer Tool can be used to sort data by school, product, sources for local food, grade level engaged, and more, at both the school district and state level.
  • The Farm to School Planning Toolkit is another resource to help answer questions and provide guidance for schools interested in starting or enhancing a Farm to School Program.

Transform Consulting Group has expertise collecting community data and analyzing it to identify trends, strengthen organizational outcomes, and suggest program improvements. Contact us today for a free consultation!

 

 

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Hoosier Children: The Latest Data

 

kids countWith the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count publishes a yearly book that state-level organizations across fifty states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia are able to use for full reports that compare counties across their individual states about the well-being of children and families. The reports are based on collections of information known as data books, which contain an impressive amount of information meant to help create change and make impactful decisions.

A preview of the latest data regarding Indiana kids is now available in the 2015 Data Book Snapshot and reveals information regarding the education, health, and living situation of Hoosier children across all counties. Policy makers, government officials, educators, counselors, grant writers, and others can find crucial data about schools such as the following:

  • Indiana is one of the lowest ranking states for student-counselor ratio, the eighth worst in the United States.
  • The percentage of special education students enrolled in public education institutions has gradually decreased.
  • One in four Indiana high school students report being bullied on school property every year.

Besides education, the snapshot also contains additional information on topics such as poverty. For example, users can find that the percentage of children living in poverty has remained high at 22.3% since 2013.

The Full Data Book will be released in February 2015 and obtainable here. Once available, users can download the book for free and quickly print a County Profile to get in-depth, county-specific information. This information is significant for educating counties, as well as grant writing for nonprofit organizations. The Data Book provides essential information in understanding what Hoosier youth face and for data-driven decision-making.

Transform Consulting Group uses research and data to develop the best evidence-based solutions for and assessments of organizations and their programs and impact. Data such as that available in the Kids Count Data Book is an example of the research Transform Consulting Group uses in developing solutions that meet the needs of our clients. Contact us today for a consultation!

 

 

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Building the Pipeline of STEM Workers

STEM-logoAccording to a new Brookings report Still Searching: Job vacancies and STEM Skills by Jonathon Rothwell, the need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) workers exceeds the supply. Utilizing workplace skill and educational requirement data as well as advertising duration from millions of job openings, the report highlights the shortage of U.S. workers with STEM skills and its detrimental effects.

Rothwell explains STEM skills are in relatively high demand, however, in certain metropolitan areas the demand is even greater due to shortage. The report emphasizes the “consequences” such as income inequality, long-term gap in lifetime earnings, and unemployment rates among STEM workers and non-STEM workers. Other consequences include inequality among racial and gender groups.

The report found job openings for STEM positions take longer to fill compared to non-STEM positions due to the lack of qualified candidates. STEM job openings requiring a Ph.D. or other professional degree lasted an average of 50 days, compared to 33 days for non-STEM vacancies. The extended duration of advertising these openings creates high costs for companies, including overworked staff, lower output, and product delays.

As the economy continues to recover and job opportunities increase, skills common to STEM occupations will be even more highly sought after by employers. Because there is a wide variety of STEM jobs—accountants, actuaries, civil engineers, nurses, school psychologists, computer programmers—the skills required for computer, health care, and management jobs will have some variance. The report indicates computer skills are associated with the highest salaries.

Rothwell hopes continued research and reports such as this will help create awareness and eventually lead to the improvement of education and training practices. Labor market data can be very important when evaluating policy. Rothwell suggests without “major changes” in the training of the U.S. workforce, the shortage will continue to increase.

Transform Consulting Group can help you collect and analyze data to evaluate the impact of your organization and develop achievable goals. Contact us today for a free consultation!

 

 

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Free Fundraising App for Nonprofits

 

Givelify Video image

Nonprofit organizations are always looking for alternate and new ways to fundraise for their cause. In today’s Information Age, technology provides an opportunity for nonprofits to diversify and expand their fundraising efforts. A new fundraising App, Givelify, might be a good solution for your nonprofit organization.

Givelify has decided to offer this donation App for free to 100 nonprofit organizations. In return, the organizations will be asked to test it out and provide feedback to Givelify. Sign-ups are currently open to the first 100 nonprofit organizations and the donation app will go live on September 30, 2014. Sign-ups are completely free for this great opportunity.

Givelify is a local Indiana company who has primarily been serving the church community with their mobile giving platform. Givelify received better than expected results from the faith-based community and have decided that to expand into the larger nonprofit sector. Givelify is currently in the process of launching their nonprofit version of this donation App.

The Givelify App can be set up by the organization to help fund ongoing efforts or special projects depending on the need and is very simple to use. While it is easy for the nonprofit to use and set up, it is also an easy way for the person who is looking to donate to give to a cause. The donor does not have to remember to bring cash or take the time to write out the check.

All the donor has to do is go on the App and find the cause that they are looking to give to and then indicate what amount they would like to give. After they do this they then just have to push one button to confirm that they want this amount taken from their pre-entered credit card. This video was made by the creators to give everyone a better understanding of the Givelify platform.

Transform Consulting Group is always on the lookout for new and innovative funding opportunities to support nonprofit organizations and its clients. Is your organization looking to grow and diversify your revenue? Contact Transform Consulting Group today for a free consultation and to learn more about our fund development services.

 

 

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New Smartphone App To Prevent Bullying

                                           

Knowbullying - SAMHSASubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is launching a free mobile App that provides parents, caretakers, educators and others information and support to address youth bullying. The KnowBullying app was developed in conjunction with the federal partnership of StopBullying.gov.

The Knowbullying App helps parents talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Bullying can take place anytime and anywhere in a child’s life. To have quick and easy access to information about how to address bullying is a great advantage.

Through the use of technology, the KnowBullying App shares new research and strategies for the prevention of bullying to everyone. The KnowBullying App can help get the conversation started and provides tips on talking to children.

The KnowBullying App includes the following:

  • Information about bullying
  • Warning signs that your child may be bullying others, being bullied, or witnessing others being bullied
  • Conversation starters to talk with your child about bullying
  • Reminders to talk with your child at times that work best for you and your family
  • Ability to share advice right from the app in an email and/or text message
  • Quick access to bullying prevention resources
  • Resources for educators

The KnowBullying App is available for free both iPhone and Android users. The App utilizes technology and advanced research to help prepare parents, teachers, and children to prevent bullying. The App is a great example of how research, collaboration, and building strategies can help others be more informed and develop favorable outcomes.

Transform Consulting Group is dedicated to bringing nonprofits the latest news and information. Follow Transform Consulting Group on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or contact Transform today for a free consultation!

 

 

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U.S. Census Bureau Launches New App – Dwellr

 

dwellr-mobile-app-450

The U.S. Census Bureau is providing free mobile Apps to iPhone and Android users that will allow easy access to statistical information. The dwellr App uses Census Bureau data to match the user with 25 places that best fit his or her lifestyle. Dwellr provides all kinds of neighborhood-level statistics such as demographics, home values, educational levels, population diversity, or the percent of single or married people in a city. 

The dwellr App uses data from the American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates. ACS is an ongoing survey that provides information every 1, 3 and 5 years about every neighborhood in the nation. ACS collects statistics on age, ethnicity, marital status, taxes, education, income, and much more. Dwellr updates as new data becomes available.

The dwellr App makes accessing and using data easy and user-friendly. Transform Consulting Group applauds the Census Bureau in their effort to make statistics mobile.

Transform Consulting Group uses statistics to provide clients with information that may be crucial when making decisions about the future. At Transform Consulting Group, we help organizations collect statistical data about their communities to better serve their communities. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

 

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FREE Text Messages to Keep You & Your Baby Healthy

 

Baby HandJoin the hundreds of thousands of moms who receive free text messages throughout their pregnancy and their baby’s first year.  Text4baby is a free service of the nonprofit National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) and was created in collaboration with Founding Sponsor Johnson & Johnson. The Text4baby service has four goals:

 1.    Demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology to address a critical national health priority: maternal and child health.

 2.    Demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology to reach underserved populations with critical health information.

 3.    Develop a base of evidence on the efficacy of mobile health interventions.

 4.    Catalyze new models for public-private partnerships in the area of mobile health.

In addition to ensuring medical accuracy, HMHB is committed to providing messages that are relevant, clear, understandable, and actionable by mothers of all literacy levels.  If you have limited texting per month, Text4baby won’t take away from your total amount of messages. Most wireless carriers in the U.S., including AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, have agreed to waive the standard text messaging fees for text4baby users.  The service also sends text messages to encourage dads and dads-to-be to engage with their children early.  Parents, friends and relatives, and even health care providers can sign up to receive text4baby messagesYou can sign up for text4baby in Spanish by texting BEBE to 511411. You can sign up for text4baby in English by texting BABY to 511411.

Transform Consulting Group is dedicated to bringing nonprofits the latest news and information. Follow Transform Consulting Group on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or contact Transform today for a free consultation!

 

 

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Client Project Spotlight: United Way of Central Indiana ReadUP

 

Transform Consulting Group is helping more students read at grade level by third grade. Through a $260,000 grant provided by the Indiana Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) will be able to expand and enhance its landmark literacy tutoring program, ReadUP.

Transform Consulting Group was hired by UWCI to help them plan for the addition of AmeriCorps members. In doing so, Transform Consulting Group provided the following key services:

  1. Completed research on the need for literacy tutoring in Indianapolis.
  2. Identified research-based literacy tutoring programs and interventions to model ReadUP after.
  3. Assessed the current ReadUP program model and developed recommendations to change the ReadUP program based on the research and analysis.
  4. Wrote the AmeriCorps’ Indiana Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives grant application.
  5. Facilitated the planning and preparation for the implementation of the new grant.

The addition of the grant will provide 20 AmeriCorps members who will work with approximately 400 first and second grade students attending 10 Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). The AmeriCorps members will tutor new elementary students 20 minutes a day so that they can build phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and other reading skills to bring them up to grade level. In IPS, only 42% of third graders are reading at grade level.

Need help with assessing your program or updating a program design? Transform Consulting Group stays current with the latest research. We can use this experience to align your program and organization to “what’s working” and provide effective project management services. Contact us today, no matter whether the project is large or small!

 

 

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