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Quest Adventures, Inc.

 642 Pleasant Street
 Belmont, MA 02478
[P] (617) 515-0492
[F] --
www.questadventures.org
[email protected]
Claudia Bell
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INCORPORATED: 2009
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 66-0719672

LAST UPDATED: 11/05/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

The Quest Adventures experience changes the lives of students from urban settings by empowering them through travel, community service, and increased self-efficacy to realize their fullest potential as contributing citizens of the world.

Mission Statement

The Quest Adventures experience changes the lives of students from urban settings by empowering them through travel, community service, and increased self-efficacy to realize their fullest potential as contributing citizens of the world.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $100,000.00
Projected Expense $100,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Service learning project with national or international service trip for 6 Boston Public Schools

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

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


Overview

Mission Statement

The Quest Adventures experience changes the lives of students from urban settings by empowering them through travel, community service, and increased self-efficacy to realize their fullest potential as contributing citizens of the world.

Background Statement

 Resources and support for experiential learning opportunities are not evenly distributed among Boston Public School students. Those who live in low income, urban areas face many barriers to travel and service-learning experiences. The problem is bigger than financial need; on top of high and rising costs, teachers lack the time for and experience in leading these life-changing trips for their students. Quest provides this necessary support.

Quest Adventures seeks out middle and high school educators and their students from diverse, underserved populations, including Black, Latino, and new English Language Learners (ELL). We work closely with teams to plan their trips, develop academic programs, lead local community service and provide financial support. Our grant helps to make possible these transformative experiences for students.

Claudia Bell and Elizabeth Anne Wachtmeister developed this vision when they worked at The English High School in Boston, a public school with challenges of its own. Together, they led 11 service trips with their own students, starting in 2003 with a journey to Honduras. It was quite obvious that the lives of their students were changed more that they could have ever imagined. This was their inspiration to start Quest, a resource, a model and a support system for driven teachers who also wished to bring stronger confidence, voice, sense of purpose, direction, and motivation to their students, our future global leaders.

The primary goal of these trips is to take students away from their neighborhoods and comfort zones, broaden their perspectives, help students discover their own strengths, validate the strengths of their peers, and increase their ability to make positive changes in their own lives and in the lives of others. The Quest experience is about more than a service trip. We work hard to cultivate that civic spirit in our teams by organizing volunteering in our local Boston neighborhoods. We believe that students who participate in the Quest program will emerge as engaged members of their communities, and they will be prepared to play central, decision-making roles. Our program is more than a one-time trip; it’s a lifetime commitment to service.


Impact Statement

Quest Adventures had another wonderful school year in 2016-2017 working with six teams from Boston Public Schools. As Quest continues to grow its programs, the quality of care and attention given to students and teachers is what makes the work so impactful.

  1. Quest awarded six support grants and guidance in organizing service trips to teams from six different Boston Public Schools. Three grants of $5,000 went to national trips and three grants of $6,000 went to international trips.

  2. Following the April trips, 89% of the students demonstrated their commitment to continuing service by participating in at least 6 additional hours of local community service. 76% of Quest college students participated in at least one local service activity.

  3. 93% of students improved their confidence and self image by discovering their own strengths, applying newly developed skills, and receiving validation from team peers, teachers, and residents of the receiving communities.

  4. 92% of Quest students agreed that applying the Quest model for breaking down goals improved success completion of work in their classes. 98% of students said their service project made them want to learn more in their classes. 100% of the participating seniors graduated from high school. 99% went to college. 92% are attending a 4-year college.

  5. In the 2016-2017 school year, Quest was able to increase the grant amount given to international teams from $5,000 to $6,000 per team.

Current management goals:

  1. Continue to provide successful, impactful programming with measurable results and outside evaluation that empowers students to serve as lifelong global citizens

  2. Work with Boston Public Schools for additional administrative support

  3. Identify and mentor key next generation leaders (e.g. alumni, interns, staff members)

  4. Recruit Board members with diverse areas of expertise and diverse life experiences

  5. Raise awareness and advocate support within the community towards establishing a recognizable and respected brand


Needs Statement

1. Program Support to increase number of school-based teams from six to eight school teams and therefore change the lives of over 100 students. $12,000.

2. Emphasis on Fundraising and Marketing Strategy and Execution: $20,000 For sustainability and growth, Quest needs to transition to a long-term fundraising and marketing plan for school programs and organizational needs as outlined in Years 4-6 of our Business Plan.

3. Growing Leadership/Staffing: $50,000, for a Development staff member, pending board approval. Quest needs to transition from paid part time/stipend staff to full time management staff to address and execute strategic goals.

4. Developing and leveraging partnerships/memberships: $2,000

There are more college/university opportunities of which Quest can take advantage like partnerships with classes in Marketing and Accounting. Additionally, by becoming active members of networking, non-profit and education-based organizations, Quest will develop more mutually beneficial relationships.

5. Increase executive board membership from 7 to 10 members


CEO Statement

Urban public school systems are rich in racial, linguistic and ethnic diversity, yet many minority students have a limited perspective of their own capabilities and lack the confidence to make changes in their lives. Additionally, students of diverse backgrounds with a first language other than English often feel undervalued because of negative stereotypes associated with the use of their native language.

Quest Adventures is unique on the Boston non-profit forefront in that it directly addresses this need to create an empowered generation of underserved urban youth by bringing together diverse groups of students, providing them with an opportunity to venture outside their neighborhoods and collaboratively work together towards a community service project. Through these collaborative efforts in fundraising, travel, reflection and eye-opening experiences, they see themselves and each other as capable, confident and able to make significant, positive change in their lives. This new self efficacy and empowerment apply to both the short-term impact in high school and also the long-term impact during their college years and professional careers.

Additional unique aspects include:

-Multiple opportunities to apply this model through which students can achieve major personal and academic goals by breaking them down into manageable pieces

-Student/teacher ownership of the project by researching and creating a vision for the project and taking full responsibility for fundraising an average of $20,000.

-Personal validation, acceptance, and support from a diverse group of peers/teachers

-A unique opportunity to immediately apply their new skills in order to design

and implement a sustainable service project in their own schools.

-A new expanded vision of themselves as successful students and contributing citizens beyond their own neighborhood and school

-Improved academic performance and encouragement to pursue advanced degrees

-Proven commitment to continued community involvement and service in college and beyond

Quest envisions citywide growth of sustainable, school-based service learning programs for underserved youth, preparing them to confidently contribute their skills in the future towards a better world.

 


Board Chair Statement

The Quest Adventures organization has been very successful in the development and implementation of its carefully designed program. Entering the final year of the Three Year Strategic Plan outlined in Quest’s business plan, we are in a challenging position of completing the goals we have set for ourselves as well as deciding how to progress our organization going forward past the Strategic Plan.

Personal story of Board Chair/President:

As a teacher with the Boston Public Schools for 34 years, my students amazed me time and time again with their insightful reflections, sense of new purpose, and conviction statements about changes they wanted to bring about in the world following every one of our service trips. A cycle of positivity began anew for each team of students that joined me in participating in community service projects in Boston and around the world.

Three years before I retired, I began to focus on what a sustainable, school-based service learning travel program for Boston Public students would look like. Selecting best practices and highlights from my years of trips, my co-founder and I, along with former alumni, crafted a service learning travel model. The purpose is to build self-efficacy in students, with the goal of creating global-minded citizens who choose to give back throughout life. Quest Adventures is the result.

Students become very engaged in the extended learning process that goes beyond the walls of classrooms and connects real life experiences to curriculum concepts. In addition, as members of a diverse, collaborative Quest team, students become reliant on each other in a new environment, learning together with focused reflective discussion and participation in something bigger than themselves. Students leave a Quest experience on the path to becoming confident, articulate, and caring leaders, poised to engage and participate fully in a more constructive social and academic environment within their school and neighborhood. For me, witnessing this process is exhilarating!

It is important to focus Quest Adventures work in urban public schools because there is unequal access for many students in urban settings to travel beyond their immediate city, learn about other cultures in their natural setting, and envision possibilities for themselves beyond what they experience in their families and neighborhoods. I have learned that:

.Travel is eye-opening.

·Service learning provides a mutual benefit for volunteers and receiving communities.

·Building self-efficacy in youth is the root of sustainable, positive change for the next generation.

These are the tenets of the Quest experience.


Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- North Dorchester
City of Boston- South Dorchester
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- Roslindale
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- South Boston
City of Boston- West Roxbury
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)
City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
City of Boston- Back Bay

We target all middle and high schools in the Boston Public School System.

Organization Categories

  1. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs
  2. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Community Service Clubs
  3. Education - Secondary & High Schools

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

No

Programs

Service learning project with national or international service trip for 6 Boston Public Schools

Quest Adventures provides a year-long program for teams of Boston Public School teachers and students to organize a school-based service learning project and national or international service trip for each school. The Quest program coordinator guides teachers and students through the process of team building through reflection activities, development of leadership skills, design of an academic curriculum and participation in local community service. Quest also offers fundraising workshops, providing a “toolbox” binder for planning and executing the service trip, (with an organizational timeline and outline of a comprehensive fundraising plan,) Teams are responsible for the full cost of their trip. Together they raise an average of $20,000. At the midpoint, Quest awards a $5,000 grant to national teams and a $6,000 grant to international teams. Quest meets with each team twice a month to monitor progress and work through challenges. 
During school breaks, teams participate in the service trip portion of their project. Following the trip, they design and implement a sustainable service project in their school.
Budget  $45,800.00
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Citizenship
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Minorities
Program Short-Term Success 
At the completion of the 9-month Quest service project and national or international trip:
100% of participating students will go on the national or international service trip as a result of reaching their fundraising goal .

 95% of participating students will increase self-esteem and confidence as contributing members of a diverse, united group by seeing themselves as responsible leaders and valuable resources to the team, school ,and community.

 96% of students will complete the written Quest service learning portfolio, demonstrating their development and application of cognitive skills,including conceptualizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating. 

100% of students will demonstrate their ability to apply new organizational and leadership skills and effective teamwork by designing and implementing a sustainable service project in their schools.

100% of participating seniors will graduate from high schools; 99% will go to college.
Program Long-Term Success 
1.90% of Quest Adventures students will continue their commitment to community service during college and careers.
 
2. 99% of Quest students will go to college and 90% will graduate from college.

3.100% of Boston Public Schools that have participated in Quest-sponsored service trips for three years will transition to a sustainable service learning program of their own.

4. Quest Adventures will expand the program to similar urban public school systems in Massachusetts, including Malden, Chelsea, Lawrence, and Lowell.

5. By 2020, Quest Adventures will develop 3 program bases and collaborative relationships with community leaders in third world countries with the purpose of establishing sustainable programs where students will do community service projects based on the needs of the residents of those communities.

Program Success Monitored By 
l. Pre and Post surveys from the Evaluation Program of University of California at Berkeley, given in October and May of each academic year.
2. Introductory, mid, and concluding reflections given to students and teachers.
3. Pre and Post service trip interviews with the teacher-leader and 2 students from each team.
4. Final report from each team
Examples of Program Success 

87% of Quest alumni now in college agree that their Quest service trip was the most significant experience of their high school years.

 

Odalis Polanco, Quest student

·        Arrived at English High in 2001, speaking no English

·        Took 2 English High service trips with Ms. Bell, Co-Founder of Quest, to Honduras

·        Founded DRYVE service organization at Northeastern

·        Graduated from Northeastern in 2011- International business

·        Employed:  Mathworks – Revenue Accountant and Control Associate

·        Founding Quest Alumni Board member

·        Current Executive Board member

 

“In many ways, Quest Adventures has shaped me into the individual that I am today. It has inspired me, as a student at Northeastern University, to start my own organization, DRYVE. I can definitely say that it is one of “ Quest’s children” - born from its support and inspiration.”


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Inherent in Quest’s mission is the component of growing sustainability for a service learning travel program across Boston Public Schools. Quest plans to seek educator and school administrator input as to how they envision “sustainability” of the Quest Experience within their schools. Critical questions Quest is focusing on include:

How will a program be sustainable without an ongoing champion (teacher or administrator) due to teacher/administrator turnover?

What support funding, if any, does a sustainable program receive?

What other ongoing support/infrastructure will be necessary?

Who monitors a program once it has been labeled“self-sustaining”?

 

Teacher input will be immensely important as it is the teachers who lead these school-based teams, prepare them through fundraising and group/self reflection activities, and guide the students to complete the essential “Bringing it Back to Boston” third and final stage of the Quest experience. Identifying ways to further reduce teacher workload, responsibility and time investment related to Quest programming will be necessary for sustainability. One way to achieve this would be for Quest to develop “Centers” for community service travel. In doing so, less “invention” would be necessary for the logistics of every school-based trip, and more time could be spent on individual and team experience, reflection and growth.

 

To continue providing support grants to middle and high schools before they develop self-sustaining programming, Quest first needs to obtain external assessments of the effectiveness of the organization's programs. Currently, Quest uses pre and post surveys, from the Evaluation System of University of California at Berkeley,along with introductory, mid, and concluding reflections for students. In addition to the more qualitative data currently being collected, Quest plans to develop a more in depth quantitative assessment of the change taking place at the student, school and/or district level.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Claudia Cantey Bell
CEO Term Start Jan 2008
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
Claudia Bell is the Co-founder and current President of Quest Adventures.  Since 2008, in addition to her responsibilities as Executive Director and President, Claudia has been in charge of the daily operations of the organization. She is also the program coordinator for all school teams, working directly with teachers and students. In addition, she directs the Quest Alumni Board and all volunteers and interns.
Her experience as a Boston Public School teacher (at Jamaica Plain High, English High and Boston International) for 34 years has given her experience in the following areas:
1.Leadership skills:
 
-Leader of 11 national and international service trips
-Co-Founder, program coordinator, and teacher of English High's 3-year Multicultural Middle College High program, based at Roxbury Community College. (The program developed into New Mission High)
-Trainer of many student teachers
 
2. Personal commitment to the mission of Quest
 
-Locally: Coordinates monthly 3rd Saturday morning Soup Kitchen at at St. Lukes in Chelsea and monthly 2nd Saturday morning activities at Germaine Lawrence Treatment Center in Arlington
 - Internationally:  Volunteers at El Hogar Orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras every March (for the last 5 years)
 
Awards include:
-Boston Public Schools Teacher of the Year in 2001
- Claudia Bell Community Service Scholarship, given annually to
a student at Boston International High
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Mara Moran Director of Programs and Development --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
pioneers in providing transformative national and international service opportunities Boston Public Schools Superintendent and School Committee 2014

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
Associated Grant Makers 2014
Massachusetts Nonprofit Network 2014
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

Boston Public Schools Global Education Department
Northeastern Coop Program
Emerson College Photography Department
Simmons College Community Service Program
EF Education First
United Planet
Explorica 
TUGG Organization
Boston Parks and Recreation
 
Current school programs
Another Course to College
Boston Green Academy
Dearborn STEM Academy 
Joseph E. Lee K-8
Madison Park High
Mary Lyon High
West Roxbury Academy 
Fenway High School 
 
 
Current International partner organizations
ADESJO- Dominican Republic;
Mayan Families - Guatemala
 
Current National organizations 
Habitat for Humanity -  
Lower Ninth - New Orleans
Camp Restore - New Orleans 
Re-Member - Pine Ridge Native American Reservation- SD 
 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

 Quest incorporated in 2008 and has since existed with one, full-time volunteer filling the roles of Co-founder, President, and program coordinator, with 3 contracted staff. As many as 30 part-time volunteers have assisted periodically. The Executive Board would like to see Quest “take it to the next level”, requiring new funding sources, paid staff,and scale-ability plans for growing Quest’s impact. These goals are addressed in the 2012-2017 strategic plan and in the 2017 updated Business Plan. 

 

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 25
Number of Contract Staff 3
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 6
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 4
Caucasian: 9
Hispanic/Latino: 9
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 19
Male: 9
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
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 Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

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

Governance


Board Chair Ms. Claudia Cantey Bell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Chair Term Jan 2008 - Dec
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Maxine Auzerais Price Waterhouse Coopers Voting
Ms. Claudia Cantey Bell Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Lissette Castillo Teacher, Fenway High School, Boston Public Schools Voting
Mr. Gerald Howland World History teacher at Another Course to College High School Voting
Ms. Janayra Santiago Teacher, Outside the Box Travel --
Mr. Rickie Thompson He is a retired teacher and also a real estate broker and owner of Prime Real Estate Voting
Ms. Elizabeth Anne Wachtmeister Discovery Grove, Founder and Director Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ely Depina -- NonVoting
Orlanda Dos Santos -- NonVoting
Cassely Etienne -- NonVoting
Mitsouka Exantus -- NonVoting
Ayanne Fernandes -- NonVoting
Maria Gonzalez -- NonVoting
Subechya Koirala -- NonVoting
Kayla Matos -- NonVoting
Braulio Meran -- NonVoting
Anthony Pina -- NonVoting
Dhruval Thakkar -- NonVoting
Genesis Vazquez -- NonVoting

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 1 Middle Eastern
Gender Female: 5
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 30%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Marketing
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Youth

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Currently, opportunities relating to governance that Quest is pursuing include solidifying the long term role of the Alumni Board, growing active engagement of the Executive Board in the service travel aspect of the mission, and re-establishing overall greater board diversity. 100% of Alumni Board members have participated in service travel as compared to 90% of the Executive Board. Quest hopes to achieve 100% service travel participation for both boards within three years.

While the Alumni Board is a non-voting entity, their main responsibility is reviewing grant proposals and awarding the grants. Quest is currently re-evaluating the training and preparation the Alumni Board receives prior to this review process to ensure understanding of the consensus-making process and its application. This will improve their skill sets, necessary for effective teamwork both within the organization and in their careers.

Following a transition period in the make-up of the Executive board, Quest is working to outline an effective board recruitment plan, of which one of the key factors will be more accurately representing the demographics of the Boston Public Schools.

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $100,000.00
Projected Expense $100,000.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $52,714 $48,695 $71,936
Total Expenses $41,115 $38,376 $32,985

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- $44,000
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $52,670 $46,104 $27,901
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $44 $39 $35
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- $2,552 --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $27,262 $33,685 $27,079
Administration Expense $13,853 $3,224 $3,726
Fundraising Expense -- $1,467 $2,180
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.28 1.27 2.18
Program Expense/Total Expenses 66% 88% 82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 3% 3%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $144,211 $135,152 $124,551
Current Assets $144,211 $135,152 $124,551
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $2,540 $2,259
Total Net Assets $144,211 $132,612 $122,292

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
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? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- 53.21 55.14

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

For the second half of 2016 and beyond, Quest has engaged the assistance of a pro-bono grant writer who monitors the grant application calendar with a dozen mission-matching grant application opportunities, based on recommendations from Associated Grant Makers. Since incorporation, Quest has had very low expenses, with almost 100% of the income going toward student programming. Expenses have consisted of support grants to teams and minor expenses related to teacher training and student preparation of teams awarded. As it is unrealistic to assume one individual can continue, unpaid, to support all of Quest’s efforts on the ground, fundraising plans to include paid staff have been developed and approved by the Board.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. For fiscal years 2015 and 2014, the breakout of functional expenses is per the organization's Form PC on file with the state of MA.
 
Per the organization: The organization is working with their preparer to make some adjustments as the grants expended were not included as part of program expenses in the above financial documents. The graphs and charts above reflect expense totals provided by the organization. 
 

Documents


Other Documents

Quest Logic Model (2013)

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?

Quest Adventures envisions a tomorrow where students of all backgrounds are supported by teachers and peers and mature in an environment where they realize their own potential to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. Quest works to encourage youth from traditionally marginalized populations to play a decision-making role in their communities as civically engaged citizens. Throughout our programs, students develop skills as organized, self-reliant, responsible leaders and creative problem solvers. Students build confidence and self-esteem as members of collective, collaborative and diverse teams. The experiences these students have in high school directly influence their paths in life and it is Quest’s mission to support these students as they become the future leaders of Boston’s communities.

Quest Adventures aims to serve the low income and minority youth of the Boston Public Schools System who lack access to the resources for travel and service learning opportunities. Quest strives to support teachers in their efforts to build leadership and civic engagement in students through community service by creating a standard for experiential-educational programming in middle and high schools. Quest desires to support teams from a wide variety of Boston schools with grants of $5,000 as well as guidance, reflection and academic programming. Quest maintains connections to students by cultivating an active alumni network and mentoring program with current team members to create an inclusive organization with a continuous mission. Increased fundraising efforts will facilitate the acquisition of paid employees and a permanent office space which in turn will allow for program expansion. By 2020, Quest Adventures aims to service at least eight annual teams through grants for service learning trips. Because of the great need for Quest’s efforts, program expansion while maintaining a high quality of support and building organizational sustainability are of Quest’s first priorities. Our success is hinged on the success of our students; our goals can only be fulfilled when every student in Boston Public Schools is offered an equal chance to become a leader in their community.


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

 

Quest Adventures’ long-term goal is to help Boston Public School students, including

Black, Latino, and new English Language Learners, become active, engaged citizens of Boston and the World. In order to accomplish that goal, we have developed the following broad strategies that support and guide these students in their journeys from their often marginalized neighborhood ethnic and cultural groups to the center of decision-making among a diversity of people and ideas.

1. Build exposure, understanding and experience with local issues in their school, neighborhood and the Greater Boston area by getting out into the community and becoming actively involved in organizations that serve and improve the quality of life for its citizens. This will help students to become aware of the need for active involvement beyond the limited scope of their neighborhoods.

2. Develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for a community project by fundraising an average of $20,000 per team. This will create an immediate need and specific role for students to become actively engaged in the project.

3. Collaborate with a diverse group of students by building effective communication skills and a sense of trust. This strategy will bring students of different backgrounds and experiences together, to get to know each other, to break down stereotypes, and learn to respect and value people of other cultures so that they can work together.

4. Build a sense of empathy for others by working directly with and for others in community service. This strategy will help students think beyond their own personal needs to reach out to others.

5. Improve speaking and writing skills by making oral and written presentations. This strategy will give students the skills to articulate their project description clearly and concisely and give them the tools for persuading people to donate to their cause.

6. Set realistic goals and achieve them by breaking them down into manageable pieces. This strategy will help them be successful in their classes, in applying and following through with college applications, and in achieving all personal and professional goals.

7. Develop leadership skills by organizing and leading fundraising events. This strategy will give students practice in working as capable, well organized, and self reliant leaders.

8. Create solutions to challenging problems after analyzing successes and failures. This strategy will improve their critical thinking skills.

9. Gain a broader perspective by traveling to national or international communities, getting to know local residents and their issues/needs, and doing a community project in tandem with community members to help address those needs.

10. Increase confidence and empowerment in students by helping them discover their own strengths and make a positive impact in their own lives and those of others. This strategy gives students hope that they can, in fact, improve their own lives and those of others and that they are gaining the skills to become valuable Global citizens.

Some of the activities that form the building blocks of our Quest Adventures service learning program include:

· 7 months of preparation, consisting of team building, local community service, theme-linked educational curriculum, reflections, and fundraising

· A national or international service trip, from 8-14 days in length in April or June

· Team design and execution of a follow-up service project benefiting their school or community; ongoing participation in local community service projects.

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

 

Quest Adventures is a growing non-profit that has extensive plans for expansion of our operations and programs.

· Quest is supported by a dedicated, long-term Executive Director and founder who is responsible for coordination of all programs and has built and fostered intimate connections with team members, teachers, principals and members of local communities.

· The execution and development of all Quest Adventures service learning experiences require the dedication of Boston Public Schools teachers and personnel. Quest is unique in that the organization is strategically situated to work intimately alongside teachers in carefully cultivated partnerships. Their dedication is Quest’s most important asset.

· Quest’s Executive Board provides guidance and acts as support for Quest annually through fundraising and operations efforts

· Quest’s dedicated Alumni Board provides essential connections to Quest’s graduated community and has been key in the implementation of new initiatives such as Alumni networking events and mentorship programs

· As part of Quest’s three year strategic plan, at least one full-time employee will be hired to increase the sustainability of our mission. All existing efforts are accredited to our dedicated volunteer staff including our full time Executive Director and interns. Quest has partnerships with Northeastern University’s Cooperative Education Department and Boston College’s PULSE program to provide a sustainable and consistent source of volunteers for operations and program assistance.

· Quest’s partnership with the Boston Public Schools Department of Global Education and its coordinator Brittany Wheaton-Calloway, has allowed the organization to bring international, educational opportunities to Boston Public Schools students annually

· Education First Tours, United Planet, and Explorica student travel organizations partner with Quest to facilitate the execution of service-learning experiences for students with minimized logistics planning from teachers.

· Relationships with local community organizations as well as community organizations and nonprofits in host countries provide resources for service. A current abbreviated list includes: Project Bread, Greater Boston Food Bank, Cradles to Crayons, Boston; ADESJO in The Dominican Republic; Mayan Families in Guatemala; Re-Member- Pine Ridge Native American Reservation; Habitat for Humanity-Boston and New Orleans; Lower Ninth in New Orleans

 


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

 

Quest Adventures Inc is dedicated to conducting impact evaluation of all programs using the University of California Berkley’s Evaluation Rubric. The method uses both quantitative pre-, mid-, and post-trip surveys and pre and post interviews with students and teachers.

l. Growth in leadership skills. 100% of our participants follow their required written fundraising plan and successfully raise at least $500 individually and $600 as part of their team through:

Activity 1. Students create a personal fundraising letter and made follow up calls to 15 potential donors.

Results: About 20% of individual fundraising money is raised through this persuasive letter.

Activity 2.. Students developed articulate, persuasive oral presentation, and written skills

during six Quest fundraising workshops

Results: Approximately 34% of their individual fundraising money is raised by these presentations.

Activity 3: Students use their own entrepreneurial skills to raise money, including making and selling their own food, candy, raffles, holiday items, etc.

Results: Students raise at least 40% of their fundraising amount.

Activity 4. Students write a plan for organizing each fundraising event, analyze the successes and failures and work through challenges in order to improve for the next fundraiser,

Results: Each team holds at least 7 major fundraising events setting the goal of increasing the

profits by at least 25% for each subsequent event.

2. Demonstration of improved confidence

Activity 1. During meetings, students learn effective communication skills, break down cultural and racial stereotypes, resolve conflicts, create solutions to challenges, and make collaborative decisions.

Activity 2 . During their service trip, students recognize, rely on, and validate skills of each team member.

Results:

o 94% of the students said that their Quest experience taught them to be accountable for their own decisions, behaviors, and success.

o 99% strongly believe that their experiences helped them better understand and appreciate people from backgrounds different from their own.

o 97% are confident that they can make a positive difference in the world.

3. Ability to replicate goal setting, follow through, and evaluation

Activity 1: Quest coordinator and teachers draft a plan with students to apply critical thinking skills to their academic classes, by conceptualizing, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating ideas.

Activity 2: 100% of Quest seniors apply to college, including 4 year colleges.

Results:

97% of the team members contributed to the team's academic preparation for their service trip by sharing the results of their selected research topics

· 92% of Quest students agreed that applying the Quest model for breaking down goals improved success completion of work in their classes.

· 100% of our participating seniors graduated from high school in June 2017, 99% are attending college.

4. Continued civic engagement, following the service trip

Activity 1. Students from all Quest teams participate in Mayor Walsh’s annual Boston Shines Neighborhood Clean-up program, followed by shared reflections of their service trip experiences.

Activity 2 Each team designs and implements a sustainable service project in their school. They actively involve additional students in the school.

Results:

91% of our high school students have participated in at least 6 hours of local community service following their service trip.

96% of our participating students intend to continue community service in high school and college.

100% of the sustainable service projects are approved and supported by the headmasters where the Quest program is located.

Activity #3 Participating students are encouraged to apply for a position on our Quest Alumni Board during their senior year.

Results: 2 high school students are elected to begin a one-year term on the Alumni Board. They will have leadership roles on the new school teams the following year.


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

 

In line with the Three Year Strategic Plan developed by the pro-bono team at Price Waterhouse Coopers, Quest Adventures has taken an active approach to improve the sustainability of the organization while continuing program expansion and support. The past academic year has seen the growth of the Quest Adventures Alumni Network, a vital resource in the amplification of fundraising efforts and the implementation of new initiatives such as a mentorship program and networking events. We have also seen increased organizational support from our alumni with the expansion of our Alumni Board and the creation of a new committee responsible for the execution and planning of alumni initiatives, mentorship and service. Our Executive Board is in the process of expansion and has diversified into committees which will organize and execute fundraising, marketing and program initiatives. These efforts will reduce the workload of the Executive Director and volunteer interns and facilitate an increase in support for each years’ teams and teachers.

In the next three years Quest plans to:

1. Expand service to 8 teams annually

2. Develop an intimate mentorship program between college-graduate alumni and team members

3. Increase fundraising and grant-writing efforts for the organization to boost revenues to more than $100,000 annually

4. Explore additional mutually beneficial partnerships with local organizations and nonprofits

5. Implement a diverse staffing model that balances paid and contracted staff with skills-based volunteering and interns to fulfill organizational needs