Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more children and youth have had anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and distress due to social isolation and economic conditions. Remote learning has led to learning loss across the country, which shows up in the drop in test scores and chronic absenteeism.
In response, the Lilly Endowment committed to funding organizations making transformational changes in the lives of young people. Our clients and fellow #Transformers at the YMCA of the USA (YUSA) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) acted to help spearhead the recovery initiatives in Indiana.
Initially, the Lilly Endowment reached out to the respective organizations to provide a planning grant to help understand the needs of children and youth that they serve in their community as well as the capacity of the respective local YMCAs and Boys and Girls Club to meet those needs.
Both the YUSA and BGCA reached out to Transform Consulting Group to help them complete a comprehensive needs assessment as part of the planning process. We used the planning grant to do the following:
- Gathered national, state, and local data on the academic, social-emotional, and overall well-being needs
of school-age youth
- Completed individual site visits, interviews, and facility assessments with all 80+ Indiana affiliates
- Facilitated an advisory committee to guide the process, review the preliminary findings, and help develop a three-year strategic plan and grant proposal
We took all of this information collected during the planning grant phase to develop a strategic plan to respond to the impact of COVID-19, better serve youth across Indiana, and strengthen the capacity of local affiliate organizations across the state.
$45 million dollars secured between two incredible organizations to support high-quality programming for kids and teens! This not only impacts the students served but will also strengthen the organizations and transform the entire community where these organizations reside.
By reaching out to the national and state associations, the Lilly Endowment was able to greatly multiply its impact in a responsive manner. Similarly, the YMCAs and Boys and Girls Club identified some common gaps and opportunities that they could collectively address by working together. It is a win-win solution!
The Lilly Endowment recently launched a similar initiative called “College and Community Initiative” which has a similar process. They are offering planning grants to Indiana colleges to help them envision and implement collaborative projects that improve the quality of life and place in their surrounding communities. In most communities, higher education institutions are often “anchor institutions” in their communities that bring tremendous value and benefits. We highlighted this concept more in one of our case studies here.
The idea of colleges focused on quality of life and placemaking might seem strange, but higher education institutions have a vested interest in helping to support their surrounding communities as they are working to recruit staff and faculty to live and work in these communities. In addition, college students are also reviewing the surrounding communities as they decide where to enroll.
TCG has worked with community foundations in Indiana to help them support quality of life and placemaking. We’ve also helped higher education institutions deepen their connections in communities to become that anchor institutions.
By providing grant opportunities that encourage collaborative partnerships, the Lilly Endowment is accelerating transformational and sustainable impact! They are true #Transformers!
If your college, nonprofit organization or community is looking to foster strategic, collaborative partnerships that bring about transformational change, TCG can help you facilitate the process! We will use our stakeholder engagement knowledge combined with group facilitation and data collection to answer your key questions, build consensus, and develop actionable plans.
Contact us for a discovery call to learn more.