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Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

Founded in 1990, The Steppingstone Foundation develops and implements programs that prepare underserved students for educational opportunities that lead to college success. Based on the premise that, regardless of circumstance, children can achieve at high levels academically with effective preparation and support, Steppingstone programs emphasize rigorous standards and achieve meaningful results.

Steppingstone runs three programs in Boston: The Steppingstone Academy, which prepares underserved Boston students to get into and succeed at selective independent and public exam schools as a pathway to college; the National Partnership for Educational Access, which serves over 300 college access organizations nationwide; and the College Success Academy, which provides academic preparation and support services to students attending partner public K-8 schools and Boston public high schools to increase the number that enroll in college and earn a degree.

Mission Statement

Founded in 1990, The Steppingstone Foundation develops and implements programs that prepare underserved students for educational opportunities that lead to college success. Based on the premise that, regardless of circumstance, children can achieve at high levels academically with effective preparation and support, Steppingstone programs emphasize rigorous standards and achieve meaningful results.

Steppingstone runs three programs in Boston: The Steppingstone Academy, which prepares underserved Boston students to get into and succeed at selective independent and public exam schools as a pathway to college; the National Partnership for Educational Access, which serves over 300 college access organizations nationwide; and the College Success Academy, which provides academic preparation and support services to students attending partner public K-8 schools and Boston public high schools to increase the number that enroll in college and earn a degree.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Projected Income $5,900,000.00
Projected Expense $5,362,177.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • College Success Academy
  • National Partnership for Educational Access
  • The Steppingstone Academy

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Founded in 1990, The Steppingstone Foundation develops and implements programs that prepare underserved students for educational opportunities that lead to college success. Based on the premise that, regardless of circumstance, children can achieve at high levels academically with effective preparation and support, Steppingstone programs emphasize rigorous standards and achieve meaningful results.

Steppingstone runs three programs in Boston: The Steppingstone Academy, which prepares underserved Boston students to get into and succeed at selective independent and public exam schools as a pathway to college; the National Partnership for Educational Access, which serves over 300 college access organizations nationwide; and the College Success Academy, which provides academic preparation and support services to students attending partner public K-8 schools and Boston public high schools to increase the number that enroll in college and earn a degree.


Background Statement

In 1990, The Steppingstone Foundation launched The Scholars Program, an intensive academic program to prepare Boston sixth-grade students, who would not ordinarily have the opportunity, to gain admission to one of Boston’s top independent schools. To provide additional college access opportunities for disadvantaged Boston schoolchildren, The Steppingstone Foundation created The Magnet Program in 1998 to prepare middle-grade students for admission to one of Boston’s selective public exam schools. The Scholars Program and The Magnet Program were merged in 2001 to form The Steppingstone Academy (TSA), preparing Scholars for admission to independent schools and public exam schools in the sixth and seventh grades.
 
Currently, TSA serves over 1460 Scholars, approximately 900 Scholars in grades 5–12, plus 500 Scholars in college. Although The Steppingstone Foundation places its focus on Boston students, The Steppingstone Academy model has been replicated in Hartford and Philadelphia. In 2007, Steppingstone created the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA), which initially served about 30 college access programs across the country. Now NPEA has more than 300 members, collectively serving nearly 400,000 students nationwide. Through its annual conference and other services, NPEA disseminates best practices and fosters collaboration between programs to strengthen the field of college access for underserved students.
 
Recognizing the strengths and capacity limitations of The Steppingstone Academy, as well as the limits to space and financial aid opportunities at public exam and independent schools, The Steppingstone Foundation began a second academic program in 2011, the College Success Academy, to assist a greater number of Boston students. The College Success Academy serves Boston students who share aspirations for a college education and are likely to enter Boston’s public high schools on their pathways to college. The College Success Academy currently partners with four K-8 public schools in two Boston neighborhoods and supports College Success Academy Scholars who attend Boston public high schools throughout the city. CSA was launched with 46 Scholars and expects to serve nearly four times that number in the current fiscal year.

Impact Statement

 

 

The benefits of a college degree are well documented: college graduates are more active in their communities, have better health, and are less likely to become unemployed or incarcerated. A college graduate’s lifetime earnings significantly exceed that of a high school graduate. The positive ripple effects of college spread beyond the individual to his or her family and community, even to the next generation. However, many of the students attending a Boston public high school are not on the path to a college degree. According to the Boston Private Industry Council (2016), only 36.5% of Boston Public Schools' 2009 graduates completed some kind of post-secondary credential (including two- and four-year degrees) within six years of high school graduation. Steppingstone seeks to address the issues of college preparation, enrollment, persistence, and completion for underserved students through its three programs: The Steppingstone Academy (TSA); the College Success Academy (CSA); and the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA).

 

The Steppingstone Academy has proven impact. Overall, of the students (called Scholars) who complete TSA’s academic preparation component:

· 90% gain admission to an independent or public exam school

· 99% graduate from high school

· 93% enroll at four-year colleges

· 80% earn their four-year college degree within six years.

 
Steppingstone’s College Success Academy sets Boston public school students in the middle grades on the path to college graduation by providing academic, social-emotional, and college-readiness services after school and over three summers to prepare them to succeed in high school and ultimately to graduate from college. Preliminary program results show academic gains for CSA Scholars. NPEA brings programs together in Boston and nationally to strengthen the college pipeline by sharing best practices and supporting collaboration.

 


Needs Statement

Prominent among The Steppingstone Foundation’s pressing needs for support are the program-related costs for Scholars enrolled in Steppingstone’s two academies to prepare for college access and success. Each Boston student who enters Steppingstone’s programs can anticipate years of continuous involvement with The Steppingstone Foundation, which provides: rigorous academic instruction, support services and advising, college-readiness services and ongoing college support services to assist students as they work to complete an undergraduate degree. The current average cost of serving a Steppingstone Scholar through The Steppingstone Academy or the College Success Academy is approximately $3,000 per Scholar, per year. This annual average cost per Scholar covers program expenses such as: Steppingstone’s application and admission procedures, instructional staff, transportation to Steppingstone’s academic sessions, advising and counseling personnel, and all college-related services. Steppingstone’s National Partnership for Educational Access sponsors a conference each year for college access programs around the country. Projected expenses for the upcoming 2017 national conference are estimated at $187,000.


CEO Statement

 

One fall, Steppingstone’s Director of Counseling Services spied three Steppingstone Scholars huddled together looking at a very thick book. The book was, in fact, a dictionary, and the three young men were looking up the word Steppingstone. They read aloud two definitions they had found: the first described a steppingstone as a stone in a line of stones used for crossing something; the second defined a steppingstone as something that helps someone to advance to another level. When they read the second one, they looked at each other and said, “Oh, that’s definitely our Steppingstone.”

 

In addition to selecting a wonderful name, Steppingstone’s founders established a set of core values that have laid the foundation for now 26 years of program excellence and growth.  There are several aspects to Steppingstone that make us distinct from other programs, but first and foremost is the long-term commitment we make to each Scholar. From that first day in July, when the Scholars step off the bus and begin the first six-week summer session, to the day they graduate from college, they know that they can always rely on Steppingstone, whether they need help with a homework project, a financial aid form, or a summer internship.

 

Like many organizations, The Steppingstone Foundation is committed to college access and success for underserved students, but our programming begins during the middle grade years. Research shows that it is possible to determine whether or not a student is on track for college as early as sixth grade. Steppingstone’s academic and social-emotional programming ensures that Scholars meet the benchmarks proven to result in college enrollment and persistence.

 

Once the Scholars reach high school, Steppingstone provides a wide range of college-readiness services, beginning with a binder given to all ninth-grade Scholars that outlines everything a student needs to do to stay on track for college. Services continue through high school, with college-themed conferences held twice a year, discounted SAT-prep classes, college tours, support with the application process, and summer workshops for incoming college freshmen. But it doesn’t stop there. Steppingstone added a college services department in 2010 to support the Scholars in college.

 
We currently have hundreds of Alumni out in the workforce, pursuing careers as teachers and lawyers and doctors, and working for nationally recognized firms. Some Steppingstone Alumni have taken the non-profit path and several have even returned to Steppingstone, professionally and as volunteers, to help the next generation of Boston schoolchildren who dream of a college education. Recently, we brought in a group of Alumni Scholars to talk about their experiences in the program and what they’d like to see Steppingstone focus on in the future. One Alumna described the process of getting into Steppingstone as transformative. Just getting into Steppingstone gives Scholars the confidence that they would not only succeed in the program, but in anything that they set their minds to. As we look to The Steppingstone Foundation’s next decades, we hope we will help many more students in Boston to feel that way.

 


Board Chair Statement

 

On a hot summer day years ago, I visited my first Steppingstone class. The Scholars were discussing To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my favorite books, and it was all I could do not to chime in myself. I have visited classes every summer since then and am struck each time by how hard the Scholars work at such a young age to achieve their goals and go to college.  I believe in the power of education.  I decided to focus my volunteer and philanthropic efforts on education because it is fundamental to a functioning democracy and social mobility, and is one way to produce real economic growth. As a trustee of a leading liberal arts college, I have come to understand that college access is not just about financial aid; we must start early to make a difference in the academic preparation necessary for successful college access and graduation.

 

In 2015, Steppingstone celebrated its 25th anniversary, which was a wonderful opportunity to look at all we have accomplished. We’ve grown our flagship program in Boston to serve over 1,400 Scholars each year, and replicated it in Philadelphia and Hartford. In 2007, we founded the National Partnership for Educational Access to support college access programs across the country. It now has 300 members. In 2010, we completed a strategic plan that resulted in our newest initiative, the College Success Academy. I believe that this program has the potential to set hundreds more students on the path to college.

 

We have worked to ensure good governance. Our emphasis upon outcomes and evaluation ensured that we maintained the same high standards during our growth, resulting in programs that effectively and efficiently fulfill Steppingstone’s mission. We have expanded our Board to include varied and relevant experience, from educators and college admissions professionals to experienced directors. We added two Steppingstone Scholar Alumni to the Board, one who is an Assistant Vice President at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. and another who runs teacher training for Teach for America. We have created board working committees, an Advisory Board, and a Board of Ambassadors to expand our network and reach.

 

We have experienced challenges as we’ve grown, particularly when the economic climate made it difficult to increase revenue at the same rate as expenses. We have upgraded our development program to ensure that our fundraising results are as strong as our program results, and we will continue to measure our outcomes, learn from our mistakes, and focus on how to improve, particularly as we venture into new programmatic territory.

 
We believe in the importance of evaluation, and our results demonstrate the effectiveness of our programs. But at the end of the day, it’s the Scholars themselves who keep me connected. Watching a 7th-grade Scholar tell his story to 400 adults at our annual gala fills me with pride. I see what Scholars achieve on a regular basis as students at my own children’s schools, and more recently as faculty and staff. I highly encourage anyone interested in learning more about Steppingstone to schedule a visit to classes in the summer. No matter how I try, I cannot adequately describe how dedicated, hard working, and inspiring the Scholars are – you have to see it for yourself!



Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
City of Boston- Citywide (please select all areas as well)
City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
City of Boston- Back Bay
City of Boston- Beacon Hill/ West End
City of Boston- Charlestown
City of Boston- Chinatown/ Leather District
City of Boston- North Dorchester
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- Downtown
City of Boston- East Boston
City of Boston- Fenway/ Kenmore
City of Boston- Hyde Park
City of Boston- Jamaica Plain
City of Boston- Mattapan
City of Boston- Mission Hill
City of Boston- North End
City of Boston- Roslindale
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- South Boston
City of Boston- South End/Bay Village
City of Boston- Harbor Islands
City of Boston- West Roxbury
Steppingstone serves economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse students who come from Boston’s low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, including Dorchester, Mattapan, East Boston, Roxbury, Hyde Park, Charlestown, South Boston, Jamaica Plain, and Allston-Brighton. The average family income of applicants admitted to Steppingstone programs is under $40,000 per year, and the majority of those who enroll would be the first in their families to earn a college degree.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Educational Services
  2. Youth Development -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Under Development

Programs

College Success Academy

 

The College Success Academy (CSA) is based on the proven model of The Steppingstone Academy. Currently, CSA partners with three, public K-8 schools in Allston-Brighton and a K-8 school in East Boston. It also serves the oldest CSA Scholars now enrolled in public high schools throughout Boston. CSA provides after-school, summer instructional, and advising programs to underserved students at CSA partner schools in grades 5-8 in a two-House academic component. Lower House programs provide classroom-based instruction focusing on literacy and math over three, six-week summer sessions and twice weekly, after school, during the school year. Upper House programming provides advising, workshops, enrichment activities, individualized academic support, as needed, and advising on all aspects of the Boston public high school selection process. CSA Scholars receive comprehensive support and college-readiness services in high school, and once in college, Steppingstone’s full complement of college services.


 

Budget  $1,131,751.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Minorities
Program Short-Term Success  A short-term goal of the College Success Academy is to help Boston schoolchildren achieve grade-level, academic proficiency by the eighth grade to be eligible for college preparatory curricula when entering a Boston public high school. Current indicators show that over the last two full academic years at least 95% of CSA Scholars in grades 5-8 achieved passing grades in their respective math and English/reading classes.
Program Long-Term Success 

The long-term goal of the College Success Academy is to increase the number of Boston schoolchildren who achieve a four-year college degree. Begun in 2011, the College Success Academy initially provides academic preparation to Scholars in the middle grades to ready them for college-preparatory curricula at a Boston public high school. Because the oldest College Success Academy Scholars are only now in high school, CSA’s current focus is on ensuring that Scholars are prepared academically to pursue college admission.

Program Success Monitored By 

The Steppingstone Foundation will track the progress of Steppingstone Scholars from their admission to the College Success Academy in the middle grades and throughout their journeys to complete of a four-year college degree. Currently monitoring school and program attendance, grades, and testing results, Steppingstone tracks Scholars’ progress towards grade-level proficiency and college-readiness in a Scholar database and tailored spreadsheets.

Examples of Program Success 

Because the College Success Academy is Steppingstone’s newest initiative, it will be many years before Steppingstone can assess the college achievements of its participants. In the interim, educators have noted their progress towards college-readiness. A teacher at one of the College Success Academy’s partner schools remarked, “ I’ve noticed Scholars’ confidence improve; their participation in class improve; and I’ve seen a big improvement on test scores.” A principal at a CSA partner K-8 school shared that the “College Success Academy brings the high level of rigor and support that are Steppingstone hallmarks to families who want to take full advantage of the K-8 experience and be ready for success in high school and college.” Another partner school principal shares, “Steppingstone fills the college mind-set gap. If a Scholar goes to college and is the first in their family to do that, then college becomes the reality and the expectation for future generations.”


National Partnership for Educational Access

NPEA is a membership association that fosters the quality, success, and growth of organizations working to expand college access for traditionally underrepresented students across the United States. While many programs exist to increase opportunities for these students, they often work in isolation, struggling with challenges that a program on the other side of the country or even around the corner has already solved. NPEA brings these programs together to build connections and to share lessons learned in order to strengthen the pipeline to college on a national and local scale. There are currently more than 300 NPEA members in 34 states collectively serving nearly 400,000 underserved students nationwide.

Budget  $504,443.00
Category  Education, General/Other Partnerships in Education
Population Served Minorities
Program Short-Term Success 

NPEA has: increased its membership from 30 to over 300 educational access programs since its founding, successfully sponsored national and regional forums to examine and share best practices in the college access field, and initiated efforts to strengthen the collective voice of college access programs through the development of shared data resources.

Program Long-Term Success  The ultimate long-term goal of NPEA programs is to increase educational opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students. To do this NPEA strives to improve the collective impact of NPEA members on the field of educational access by fostering the quality, success, and growth of these organizations.
Program Success Monitored By  NPEA recruits and monitors the engagement of members, and plans and evaluates its programs and events.
Examples of Program Success 

NPEA members range from academic enrichment programs to independent schools to colleges. Shares one member about NPEA’s contributions, NPEA has offered us an unparalleled opportunity to connect with colleagues around the country who are committed to cultivating the dreams of young people.”


The Steppingstone Academy

The Academy prepares motivated, underserved fifth and sixth graders to get into and succeed at competitive independent and public exam schools in the sixth and seventh grades. It recruits Boston students from low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to participate in a 14-month academic preparation component that begins with a rigorous six-week summer session, continues one afternoon per week and on Saturdays during the school year, and concludes with a second six-week summer session. During this time, Steppingstone Advisors also work with Scholars and their families on all aspects of the independent and public exam school admission process. After Scholars complete the academic component, Steppingstone provides support services––including tutoring, counseling, financial aid assistance, and college guidance––to ensure that Scholars thrive in their new schools, ultimately graduating from high school and from a four-year college. The Academy currently serves over 1400 Scholars in grades 5–16.

Budget  $2,308,327.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Minorities
Program Short-Term Success 

In the short-term, the goal of The Steppingstone Academy is for enrolled Scholars to complete the Academy’s 14-month academic preparation component and gain admission to an independent or public exam school as a pathway to college. Overall, 90% of Steppingstone Academy Scholars who complete the academic component gain admission to one of these competitive college-preparatory schools.

Program Long-Term Success  The long-term goal of the Steppingstone Academy is to increase the number of Boston schoolchildren who achieve a four-year college degree. Overall, based on high school graduation information for 93% of Steppingstone Scholars who complete the Academy’s14-month academic component, 99% graduate from high school, 93% of these graduates enroll in a four-year college, and 80% of those enrolled complete a college degree within six years.
Program Success Monitored By 

The Steppingstone Foundation tracks the academic progress of Steppingstone Scholars in a database and tailored spreadsheets from their admission to The Steppingstone Academy in the middle grades through their completion of a four-year college degree. The Steppingstone Foundation makes a long-term, multi-year commitment to Scholars providing them with academic instruction, support services, college-readiness services and additional support services in college to ensure their progress and ultimate success in achieving a four-year college degree.

Examples of Program Success 

Steppingstone has worked with many economically disadvantaged Boston youth who aspire to a four-year college degree. Over 640 Alumni of Steppingstone’s flagship program, The Steppingstone Academy, have achieved a four-year college degree, and hundreds of Steppingstone Scholars work each year towards the same goal. The impact of the program on students’ lives is affirmed by an Steppingstone Academy Alumni Scholar who became a company vice president: “Steppingstone has been my lifelong key to success…It helped put me in a seat at a top independent school. It prepared me to pursue a degree at an Ivy League institution. It took me out of a fishbowl and put me in the ocean, where the possibilities seem limitless.” Shares another Steppingstone alumna, “Steppingstone didn’t doubt for a second that I could thrive at the country’s most competitive colleges. They wanted me to succeed and encouraged me to push myself.”


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

 

After years of ongoing growth, Steppingstone’s flagship program, The Steppingstone Academy, has reached a steady state and, going forward, expects to admit approximately 110 Scholars each year. Steppingstone’s most recent initiative, the College Success Academy, provides the opportunity to reach more Boston students than would be possible through The Steppingstone Academy. Launching a new program that is similar in some ways to an existing program, but also has some significant differences, has provided opportunities for Steppingstone as an organization to reexamine its infrastructure and functionality. This has led to the restructuring of preexisting departments––Evaluation, Teaching & Learning, and Counseling, for example—to accommodate the needs of both programs. The ongoing challenge through the College Success Academy’s pilot phase was to respond effectively to how the programs are different, while taking advantage of the ways in which they are similar in order to strengthen services, gain efficiencies, and leverage resources.

 
As our newest initiative, the College Success Academy is a source of both opportunity and challenge. Without the restrictions that impact The Steppingstone Academy’s ability for further growth in Boston, the College Success Academy has great potential for expansion. An external evaluation of the College Success Academy’s pilot found that the program was not only “off to a very strong start”, but that it was also successfully positioned for potential replication. As Steppingstone looks to increase educational opportunities for underserved Boston youth that lead to college success, the expansion of the College Success Academy will remain a strategic priority of the organization.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Kelly D. Glew
CEO Term Start July 2010
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Kelly Glew received her B.A. in English from Colby College and her M.A. in English at University College London. Kelly joined the Steppingstone staff as Director of Development in 1992. Prior to Steppingstone, she worked in the development office at Dana Hall.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Mr. Michael Danziger Jan 1990 June 2010

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Sarah Conrad Chief Progam Officer Sarah joined Steppingstone as the Dean of Placement in 2004. Before moving into the Chief Program Officer role, she also served as Director of Academy Seven and Vice President of The Steppingstone Academy. Prior to joining Steppingstone, Sarah worked as an Assistant Director of Admission at Cushing Academy and Program Director at Bottom Line. She received her BA from the University of Virginia in History and African American Studies, and a MA joint degree from Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development.
Ms. Karin Elliott Executive Director, National Partnership for Educational Access Karin has her MSW from Boston College and her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining Steppingstone, Karin was the Executive Director of Summerbridge Cambridge and led the training and technical assistance program at Horizons for Homeless Children.
Ms. Kelly Glew President Kelly Glew received her B.A. in English from Colby College and her M.A. in English at University College London. Kelly joined the Steppingstone staff as Director of Development in 1992. Prior to Steppingstone, she worked in the development office at Dana Hall
School.
Ms. Kerry Tavernese Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Kerry graduated from Bentley College with a B.S. in Accountancy. Before joining Steppingstone, she worked at Lynn Community Health Center, Cambridge Health Alliance, and most recently at North Shore Community Health, Inc. as the Finance Director.
Ms. Kate Wood Executive Vice President, Advancement Kate joined Steppingstone after serving as the Vice President of Development at Jumpstart, a national early education organization. Kate began her career in marketing at Fidelity Investments and received her B.A. in English from Union College. Kate is a member of the Circle Board at the Copley Society.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

In addition to its collaborations with Boston public schools and other area independent schools, Steppingstone works with uAspire to provide financial aid services to Scholars and with Boston College volunteers who provide tutoring to Scholars in the College Success Academy. The law firm Ropes & Gray has formed a partnership with Steppingstone, providing pro bono legal services to Steppingstone families struggling with immigration issues, which can be a significant obstacle to students applying to college. Steppingstone serves as a facilitator, connecting Steppingstone families needing legal advice with Ropes & Gray attorneys. Other collaborations include Steppingstone’s participation in the Boston Summer Learning Community, Boston After School and Beyond, and in The Boston Foundation’s Success Boston Coaching for Completion Initiative.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

 

 

Since its founding, Steppingstone’s goal has been to provide educational opportunities that lead to college success to an increasing number of students. In our early days, we accomplished this by simply recruiting and admitting a larger incoming class to The Steppingstone Academy than the prior year. When the original program format of placing Scholars into independent schools in the seventh grade reached capacity, we expanded our placement options to include Boston’s three public exam schools, added placement services for sixth grade, and looked outside of Boston for further growth opportunities. This led to replicating our core program in Philadelphia and Hartford and ultimately the creation of the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA), which is based in Boston but committed to supporting programs across the country that work to increase access to educational opportunities for underserved students.

 

The Steppingstone Academy now serves approximately 900 Scholars each year in grades five through 12, plus 500 college-aged Alumni Scholars. We recently launched a new program, called the College Success Academy, which admitted 46 Scholars to its pilot class in 2011 and has the potential for significant growth in Boston and beyond. NPEA has grown by leaps and bounds; with over 300 members, it has surpassed our initial goal of attracting 30 partner programs.

 

Like many non-profits, we have poured our resources into program development and improvement and were slower to expand our fundraising program to keep pace. In recent years, we have restructured our Advancement effort to help ensure that we have the resources we need to continue to provide high quality program services and to pursue growth opportunities. While we have made great progress in fundraising, developing a fundraising model that supports long-term sustainability remains a top priority for Steppingstone.

 

On the program side, the College Success Academy has the greatest potential for growth, and as we begin exploring opportunities, we want to make sure that its program design allows for efficient replication to other schools and possibly other cities. And while NPEA’s reach is much wider than the two Academies, its plan is to continue to reach its Boston-area members through workshops and regional meeting, bringing college access programs together to collaborate and share best practices. As in the past, we want Steppingstone’s growth to be thoughtful, avoiding redundancy and inefficiency, while making a significant impact upon the lives of Boston students.

-Kelly Glew, President

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 44
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 287
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 75%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 7
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 5
Caucasian: 24
Hispanic/Latino: 8
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 2
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 38
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Brian J. Conway
Board Chair Company Affiliation Chairman, TA Associates
Board Chair Term Jan 2000 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term Oct -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Todd Bland Head of School, Milton Academy Voting
Mr. Donavan D. Brown '95 Asst. VP, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. Voting
Hon. Denise Jefferson Casper U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Voting
Mr. Brian Conway Managing Director, TA Associates Voting
Mr. Michael P. Danziger Founder, The Steppingstone Foundation, Inc. Voting
Mr. Michael Denning Head of Upper School, Noble and Greenough School Voting
Ms. Mary Driscoll Instructional Superintendent, Boston Public Schools Voting
Mr. Bart Epker Partner, PAR Capital Voting
Ms. Lucy K. Galbraith Managing Member, Kindred Capital Advisors LLC Voting
Ms. Kate Gilbane Volunteer Voting
Mr. Jonathan M. Goldstein Senior Advisor, TA Associates Voting
Mr. Andrew Hahn Professor, Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University Voting
Ms. Pam Holding Chief Investment Officer, Pyramis Global Advisors Voting
Ms. Allison Johnson Principal, Allison Johnson Design Voting
Ms. Jana Karp Executive Director, Boston Youth Sanctuary, Inc. Voting
Mr. Joshua S. Levy Partner, Ropes & Gray LLP Voting
Ms. Isabelle Loring Director, Nantucket Conservation Foundation Voting
Dr. Richard Melvoin Head of School, Belmont Hill School Voting
Mr. A. Peter Monaco Jr. Managing Director, Raptor Capital Management Voting
Ms. Mariel Novas '00 Manager of Teacher Leadership Development, Teach for America Voting
Mr. Mike Pascucci Principal, Rose Grove Capital Management, LLC Voting
Ms. Tricia Schade Director, Visual Thinking Strategies Voting
Mr. John G. Simon Managing Director, Sigma Prime Ventures Voting
Ms. Amy Smith Berylson Director, Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Voting
Ms. Christina Wing-O'Donnell Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Donavan D. Brown '95 Assistant Vice President, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. Voting
Ms. Mariel Novas '00 Manager of Teacher Leadership Development, Teach for America Voting

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Ann Coles Ed.D. College Access Senior Fellow --
Mr. William Fitzsimmons Ed.D. Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard College --
Mr. Chris Gabrieli Co-founder and Chairman, Mass 2020; Partner, Bessemer Ventures --
Mr. Paul Grogan President & CEO, The Boston Foundation --
Ms. Joanna Jacobson Founder and Managing Partner, Strategic Grant Partners --
Mr. Karl Reid Ed.D. Executive Director, The National Society of Black Engineers --
Mr. John S. Weinberg Vice Chairman, Goldman, Sachs & Co. --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 22
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 12
Male: 13
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 66%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 12%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • --
  • --
  • Finance
  • Institutional Advancement
  • Nominating
  • Program / Program Planning

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

 

Since its founding, Steppingstone’s goal has been to provide educational opportunities that lead to college success to an increasing number of students. In our early days, we accomplished this by simply recruiting and admitting a larger incoming class to The Steppingstone Academy than the prior year. When the original program format of placing Scholars into independent schools in the seventh grade reached capacity, we expanded our placement options to include Boston’s three public exam schools, added placement services for sixth grade, and looked outside of Boston for further growth opportunities. This led to replicating our core program in Philadelphia and Hartford and ultimately the creation of the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA), which is based in Boston but committed to supporting programs across the country that work to increase access to educational opportunities for underserved students.

 

The Steppingstone Academy now serves approximately 900 Scholars each year in grades five through 12, plus 500 college-aged Alumni Scholars. We recently launched a new program, called the College Success Academy, which admitted 46 Scholars to its pilot class in 2011 and has the potential for significant growth in Boston and beyond. NPEA has grown by leaps and bounds; with over 300 members, it has surpassed our initial goal of attracting 30 partner programs.

 
Like many non-profits, we have poured our resources into program development and improvement and were slower to expand our fundraising program to keep pace. In recent years, we have restructured our Advancement effort to help ensure that we have the resources we need to continue to provide high quality program services and to pursue growth opportunities. While we have made great progress in fundraising, developing a fundraising model that supports long-term sustainability remains a top priority for Steppingstone.
 

On the program side, the College Success Academy has the greatest potential for growth, and as we begin exploring opportunities, we want to make sure that its program design allows for efficient replication to other schools and possibly other cities. And while NPEA’s reach is much wider than the two Academies, its plan is to continue to reach its Boston-area members through workshops and regional meeting, bringing college access programs together to collaborate and share best practices. As in the past, we want Steppingstone’s growth to be thoughtful, avoiding redundancy and inefficiency, while making a significant impact upon the lives of Boston students.

-Kelly Glew, President

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $5,676,281 $5,872,834 $5,570,825
Total Expenses $5,644,745 $5,205,741 $4,979,151

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $3,632,622 $4,006,148 $4,238,126
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $286,804 $260,189 $250,060
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- $459 $235
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $1,681,663 $1,549,472 $1,008,915
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $75,192 $56,566 $73,489

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $3,944,690 $3,777,186 $3,619,851
Administration Expense $531,368 $540,701 $570,131
Fundraising Expense $1,168,687 $887,854 $789,169
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.01 1.13 1.12
Program Expense/Total Expenses 70% 73% 73%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 22% 16% 15%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $5,338,133 $5,312,576 $4,607,865
Current Assets $5,235,739 $5,205,042 $4,559,657
Long-Term Liabilities $750,000 $941,791 $677,375
Current Liabilities $375,629 $189,817 $396,615
Total Net Assets $4,212,504 $4,180,968 $3,533,875

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 13.94 27.42 11.50

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 14% 18% 15%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Steppingstone Foundation recently redefined its fiscal year from a January 1 - December 31 schedule to a July 1 - June 30 business year.  To make this change, Steppingstone completed a transitional, 18-month fiscal year, running from January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. The Form 990 documents for 2015 and 2016 that are uploaded to Steppingstone’s Giving Common profile cover this transitional, 18-month fiscal year.  The 2016 audited financial statements uploaded to Steppingstone’s Giving Common profile also address this 18-month period.


In July of 2016, Steppingstone began operating on a new fiscal calendar, which will run from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.
 
*Please note, this organization changed its fiscal year in 2016 from a Jan. - Dec. fiscal year to a Jul. - June fiscal year. As such, the 2016 Form 990 posted above covers a 6 month period, Jan. 1, 2016 - June 30, 2016 and the 2016 audit posted above covers an 18 mo. period, Jan. 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016.
 

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

The overall goal of The Steppingstone Foundation is to increase the number of Boston schoolchildren who earn a four-year college degree. To accomplish this goal, Steppingstone develops, implements, and expands programs that increase educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged Boston students and lead to college access and success.  The Steppingstone Foundation operates three programs in Boston: The Steppingstone Academy, the College Success Academy, and the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA). 

 

Steppingstone’s Academy programs prepare underserved Boston students, beginning in the middle grades, for the requirements of college-preparatory curricula and set students on the pathway to college with the academic, social/emotional, and college-readiness skills they need to succeed. Long-term success is defined by Steppingstone as the achievement of a four-year college degree by the Scholars participating in its programs. To assess the achievement of Steppingstone’s overall goal, The Steppingstone Foundation monitors the academic progress of participating Scholars over the long-term -- from the middle grades through college -- using key college access and success benchmarks.

 
NPEA, which was created by The Steppingstone Foundation, is a national membership association that serves as a resource to college access programs to increase college enrollment and completion for underserved youth. NPEA is working to foster the quality, success, and growth of college access organizations across the Untied States. NPEA is tracking member program statistics to monitor improvements in college enrollment and graduation for underserved students nationwide.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

The Steppingstone Foundation’s programs for underserved Boston students begin in the important middle grades to address and prevent achievement gaps well before Scholars enter high school. Steppingstone’s program strategies include rigorous academic preparation; the provision of social/emotional supports for each Scholar as he/she works towards both high school and college graduation; and college-readiness services, which provide instruction, advising, and specific opportunities (such as college tours and discounted SAT prep courses) to guide Scholars through the college application and enrollment process, including seeking financial aid. Steppingstone’s college services programs help Scholars to progress successfully through college and explore career opportunities. Steppingstone’s College Advisors provide regular check-ins and help Scholars connect with campus resources, apply for financial aid, locate summer internships, and transfer to other schools, if necessary. Through participation in The Boston Foundation’s Success Boston Coaching for Completion Initiative, Steppingstone is expanding college services for Scholars who are graduates of Boston public high schools to help them transition to and persist in college. Steppingstone serves many students who will be the first in their families to go to college. Steppingstone’s comprehensive academic and advising programs assist students over the long-term as they develop the academic and personal skills to navigate the pathway to college.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

 

The Steppingstone Foundation has accumulated 26 years of experience in the college access and success field. Over 640 Alumni of Steppingstone’s flagship program, The Steppingstone Academy, have achieved a four-year college degree, and hundreds of additional Steppingstone Scholars work each year towards the same goal. Steppingstone serves approximately 1600 Boston students each year, developing their academic abilities and shepherding them through the college preparation, application, enrollment, and completion process.

 

The critical role of Steppingstone’s experienced and committed staff has been recognized in two external evaluations of the organization. A 2014 Root Cause evaluation of The Steppingstone Academy found Steppingstone to be a “High Performer” among a peer cohort of college access programs. In its assessment, Root Cause specifically recognized Steppingstone’s strong leadership, the significant professional and functional experience of its management team, its highly active board, and its well-designed performance review process, which is linked with program performance measurement. A 2014 evaluation of the pilot of Steppingstone’s College Success Academy by Brigham Nahas Research Associates noted how well the program was managed, as well as Steppingstone’s effectiveness in identifying, hiring, and training staff with the abilities required by the program.

 
The Steppingstone Academy, which prepares Scholars for admission to competitive independent and public exam schools as a pathway to college, partners with 41 placement schools in and around Boston. The College Success Academy currently partners with three Allston-Brighton K-8 public schools and one East Boston K-8 school to bring Steppingstone programming to a greater number of Boston schoolchildren. Steppingstone also works effectively with other organizations to enhance performance towards its long-term goal of increasing the number of Boston students who achieve a four-year college degree. The Steppingstone Academy partners with uAspire on matters concerning financial aid for college-bound Scholars, and Boston College students volunteer as homework tutors for Steppingstone Scholars. Some Steppingstone Scholars also receive pro bono legal services from the law firm Ropes & Gray on issues of immigration, which can affect applications for college tuition assistance. Additional collaborations include Steppingstone’s participation in the Boston Summer Learning Community, Boston After School and Beyond, and in The Boston Foundation’s Success Boston Coaching for Completion Initiative.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

The Steppingstone Foundation is a data-driven organization that monitors key performance measures to gauge progress and impact throughout its operations. Among these key measures are: graduation from high school, enrollment in post-secondary education, and completion of a college degree. Steppingstone’s goals for Scholars enrolled in The Steppingstone Academy are for 95% to graduate from high school, 90% to enroll in a four-year college, and 80% of those enrolled to graduate with a college degree within six years. Overall, Steppingstone has met or exceeded each of these benchmarks as an organization. With high school graduation information for 93% of the Scholars completing The Steppingstone Academy’s academic component, Steppingstone finds that:

· 99% of Steppingstone Academy Scholars graduate from high school,

· 93% enroll in a four-year college, and

· 80% graduate with a college degree within six years.

 
The College Success Academy is in its sixth year of operation with its oldest Scholars now in high school. To assess the progress of these Scholars towards Steppingstone’s long-term goal of increasing college completion among Boston students, Steppingstone is monitoring interim college access indicators, which include the achievement of grade-level proficiency, academic progress, school and program attendance, and program retention.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

 

The Steppingstone Foundation has provided a pathway to college for hundreds of Boston schoolchildren over the past 26 years and is looking to bring its college access and success model to more underserved students who dream of a four-year college degree. Due to limitations in space at public exam schools, as well as limitations in space and financial aid opportunities at independent schools, The Steppingstone Academy reaches capacity each year and must turn away hundreds of Boston students who apply for admission to the program. The College Success Academy, which admits students likely to remain in and graduate from the Boston Public Schools, was created to offer Steppingstone programming to a greater number of students who aspire to a college education. Steppingstone’s expansion of the College Success Academy from three Allston-Brighton partner schools to an East Boston neighborhood school in 2015 was the first step in moving the College Success Academy from a school-based program to a broader neighborhood and, ultimately, city-wide model in order to serve more young people in the City of Boston.

 

The Steppingstone Foundation hopes that the continued operation of The Steppingstone Academy and the expansion of the College Success Academy will help the organization to reach a desired long-term objective: that any student in Boston who is motivated to work hard to attain the goal of a college education has access to a Steppingstone program. With this objective in mind, Steppingstone has important work to accomplish to maximize both the efficiency and effectiveness of the College Success Academy, as its newest program for underserved youth. Over the next ten years, Steppingstone will continue to identify and recruit students most likely to benefit from the College Success Academy program, will identify the most effective ways to work in partnership with a large urban school district, and will determine the best means for measuring Scholars’ academic progress within a school system that is also refining its assessment strategies over time.

 

Steppingstone’s vision for Boston schoolchildren and its long-term commitment to Steppingstone Scholars requires a funding model grounded in streams of predictable revenue. Although Steppingstone is fortunate to have a strong base of individual donors, the organization’s growth potential requires strategies to safeguard the long-term sustainability of Steppingstone’s programs and operations. The Steppingstone Foundation’s strategic plan is focused on implementing strategies to ensure the achievement Steppingstone’s college success goals for Boston’s youth.