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?
In the next three years, the Gilbert Albert Community Center seeks to widen the breadth and deepen the impact of its programs to more comprehensively serve members of the local immigrant communities. This includes:
-Providing more ESL classes to eliminate its current waiting list and ensure that all students seeking an education through the GACC are accepted. Before this can happen, we will continue to strengthen our referral network, to ensure we are helping students to find the resources they need to advance educationally, professionally and socially.
-Providing higher level ESL classes for the students who graduate from our classes and seek to continue advancing their English education
-Providing job skills training, including practice in job hunting, building resumes, computer skills training, and information on workers' rights and workplace etiquette
-Running educational programs that address health issues affecting the local immigrant communities, including nutrition, exercise, HIV/AIDS prevention, domestic violence and relationships, and other issues as they are identified by our students and staff.
-Institutionalizing programs and partnerships with community organizations to establish access to resources and social services for our students.
We will measure the success of these goals based on a.) the number of classes and levels we are able to offer, b.) the number of students we can accommodate, c.) the progress shown by students in our classes using standardized assessment tools, d.) the number of community members serviced by our programs, e.) our ability to reliably provide access or referrals to social services.
2. What are your strategies for making this happen?
The GACC seeks to accomplish these long-term goals through a three-tiered strategy, which addresses:
1. A holistic approach to students' needs, with the understanding that a student who is living a healthy lifestyle outside of class is a more productive learner.
2.Institutional stability, including acquiring and retaining effective staff members and being financially stable.
3. Establishing relationships with community partners, including local churches, health centers, and other non-profits, to expand the reach of our programs and to ensure reliable access for our constituents to necessary services.
3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?
The GACC's proven record of providing effective ESL and literacy courses has brought it acclaim from English for New Bostonians, who has asked our leadership to act as representatives of an exemplary ESL program for other emerging programs to follow. One of our students was even asked to speak at Immigrants' Day at the Massachusetts State House in 2016.
Our ESL and employment support services consistently perform higher than other programs of similar size in Boston. In FY 2015, our students had a 9% higher rate of significant learning gains, a 8% higher rate of moving on to higher education, a 9% higher rate of finding a job, and a 12% higher rate of being promoted or finding a better job. Fully 74% of our unemployed students found jobs while studying with the GACC that year.
For our initiatives in the community to reduce the intake of sugar and sodium and increase healthy eating and exercise, the GACC has been awarded recognition for outstanding work by the Boston Public Health Commission.
The GACC has been working within the local immigrant populations and with churches, health centers and social service providers since 2005, establishing a reputation for quality classes and programming that addresses the pressing needs of our community, and as such has gained the trust and confidence of the populations we serve.
4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?
While understanding that any single measurement of our students' progress cannot account for the myriad of personal, professional, and academic goals they have, the GACC uses the following metrics:
--The number of students who register for ESOL classes (including those who enroll and those put on the waiting list). In the past three years, we've seen a 56.25% increase in the number of students, and for the third time this year we have a waiting list.
--Of the students who attend classes here, the number who then: gain employment; graduate to a higher level course; and obtain their academic goals as outlined with the counselor.
In the 2014-2015 academic year, 75% of unemployed students found employment, and 28% got a better job or a promotion. Nearly all of the students in the basic literacy class can now sign their names, a huge accomplishment for people who had never written a letter in their lives!
--The number of points improved on the BESTPlus tests at the end of a year of ESOL classes. 42% of our students in 2014-15 had an increase of 33 points or more.
--The number of students who make a commitment to making healthier lifestyle decisions, such as drinking less sugar-sweetened beverages or participating in more cardiovascular activity each week. In 2014-2015, we assisted a dozen women in signing up for subsidized gym memberships and attending regular fitness classes. The GACC was also awarded a certificate by the Boston Public Health Commission in 2013 for its achievements in getting members of the local immigrant community to drink less sugar-sweetened beverages.
5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?
The GACC hopes to achieve the following goals within the next year:
--Maintain financial stability in our new space
--Expand our classes to serve 100 students
--Reduce the rates of obesity, diabetes, and STDs within our community
--Reduce the rate of domestic violence within our community
Towards these ends, the GACC continues to build on its successes of the past few years, which are:
--In the past three years, we've seen a 56.25% increase in the number of students, and for the second time this year we have a waiting list.
--In the 2014-2015 academic year, 74% of unemployed students found employment, and 28% got a better job or a promotion. Nearly all of the students in the basic literacy class can now sign their names, a huge accomplishment for people who had never written a letter in their lives!
--42% of our students in 2014-15 had an increase of 33 points or more on the BESTPlus test after a year of being in our ESOL classes.
--In 2014-2015, we assisted a dozen women in signing up for subsidized gym memberships and attending regular fitness classes.
--The GACC was awarded a certificate by the Boston Public Health Commission in 2013 for its achievements in getting members of the local immigrant community to drink less sugar-sweetened beverages.
We have incorporated a strategic, comprehensive approach to addressing our members' needs after realizing that their personal needs often affect their performance in class and in the workplace. We first survey our members, asking them what their goals and challenges are as a group and then in individual meetings with our counselor. We then use that information to construct programming, such as our monthly women's support group.