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First Teacher

 221 Blue Hill Avenue
 Roxbury, MA 02119
[P] (617) 238-7275
[F] --
www.firstteacherboston.org
[email protected]
Dinah Shepherd
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INCORPORATED: 2013
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2261109

LAST UPDATED: 08/31/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

First Teacher is a community of powerful parents and caregivers working together to prepare all our children for kindergarten and beyond. We envision powerful parents cultivating lifelong learners in every neighborhood. 

Mission Statement

First Teacher is a community of powerful parents and caregivers working together to prepare all our children for kindergarten and beyond. We envision powerful parents cultivating lifelong learners in every neighborhood. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $309,100.00
Projected Expense $309,102.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Drop-In Play
  • Family Play Week
  • First Teacher Community Building Events
  • First Teacher Playdates: English and Spanish
  • First Teacher Workshops

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

First Teacher is a community of powerful parents and caregivers working together to prepare all our children for kindergarten and beyond. We envision powerful parents cultivating lifelong learners in every neighborhood. 

Background Statement

  1. Founded in August 2013, by 8 parents from Boston, First Teacher (FT) envisions powerful parents cultivating lifelong learners in every neighborhood. FT is a community of powerful parents and caregivers working together to prepare all our children for success in kindergarten and beyond. We believe we are our children's first teachers. We exist because:

    1. Parenting is ridiculously hard and is best done collectively
    2. We parent the way we were parented, for better or for worse, unless there is an intervention of sorts.
    3. All parents are their children's first and most important teachers, but due to our country's historical and every-present systemic racism, not all parents have had access to the support, respect, and idea-sharing that they need. First Teacher reminds parents how powerful we are. FT is driven by a sense of urgency because we know that the brain grows more between birth and age five than at any other time in our lives. FT parents emphasize this incredible opportunity of brain development by sharing knowledge, strategies, and habits through workshops, play dates, and events. We learn how to engage with our children in every day activities that light up their brains and create a lifelong love of learning, as well as access and opportunities.

    According to the most recent Boston Opportunity Agenda Report Card, 39% of children entering kindergarten in Boston are unprepared. We know it is too late to wait until formal schooling since entering school behind has ramifications far beyond the age of 5, as “...half the incidence of school failure can be attributed to gaps in learning and development that arise before children even enter school.” (Lee, V. & Burkham, D, 2002) Therefore, we must begin at the beginning, creating spaces and time for parents to equip each other with the tools and support system necessary to eradicate this problem. At FT, we believe parents of color, especially those who are cash-poor, have repeatedly been overlooked and by-passed as the obvious answer to the school-readiness gap. All parents are their child's fiercest, most invested stakeholders.

    Since our first workshop in April 2014, we have grown, almost entirely by word-of-mouth, from 4 families to 70 families  in the First Teacher movement. First Teacher families live predominantly in Roxbury and Dorchester. Some did not finish middle school; some have Masters' degrees. All  are rich in resilience and most are poor in cash. 



Impact Statement

FY17: Top 3-5 accomplishments

• Recruitment of 70+ families. Word of mouth and connecting though local organizations are our systems of recruiting.

• Increase of programming and monthly touch-points for families: By the end of July, we facilitated 28 workshops, 11 play dates, 3 community building events, 40+ drop-in play times, 8 healthy cooking classes in partnership with Cooking Matters, and two week-long sessions of Family Play Week! 

• Our first partnership with a BPS school, with K0 kids, the amazing Haynes Early Education Center, two blocks from our office!

• Deliberate and focused building of staff capacity, leading to more hours worked and more specialized job descriptions. This is especially critical as First Teacher is committed to building capacity on every level: individual, family, neighborhood, and First Teacher community. Seven out of nine of our staff are Black and Latino leaders and parents from Roxbury and Dorchester. All our hiring happens from within First Teacher. Currently, 4 of our staff members are founder  and 5 were one-time parent participants. 

• Identifying the right people to help us vary our funding streams. We are currently working with two pro bono consultants on creating our first major gifts campaign (with a goal of raising $75,000 in FY18) and our first monthly giving campaign (with a goal of moving from 8 to 25 individuals giving monthly by the end of FY18)

FY18: Top 3-5 goals 
 
• We will build the capacity of First Teacher staff with clear paths to full-time positions at First Teacher. In July, our second full-time person started in her job as Connections Coordinator. She was a First Teacher parent for a year, then became a part-time paid Parent Leader. Within the next 5 years, our goal is to have a Black or Brown woman be the Executive Director of First Teacher.
 
• Using our anti-racist fundraising philosophy, we will  identify like-minded foundations while also focusing much of our energy on identifying individual families that can relate to your First Teacher families while also acknowledging how much harder parenting is when living with the everyday and long term implications of racism.
 
• We will create our Pathways to Partnership with our staff and our Advisory Council in order to identify our best practices for partnering, especially as it relates to potential First Teacher sites. 
 

Needs Statement

MONEY and CONNECTIONS. The First Teacher movement needs financial investments and authentic by-in and support from foundations and individuals that view First Teacher parents and caregivers as the most powerful change agents in their own children's lives. 
 

CEO Statement

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Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- North Dorchester

The First Teacher movement is made up of families who live in neighborhoods in Roxbury and Dorchester, mainly: Grove Hall, Dudley, and Uphams Corner.
02119, 02121, 02125 

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Parent & Teacher Groups
  2. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy -
  3. -

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

No

Programs

Drop-In Play

Like almost everything we do at First Teacher, Friday drop-in play (Every Friday of the year except the Friday after Thanksgiving and Fridays in August) came from a request from a parent participant. Held for two hours every Friday at the First Teacher office, drop-in play serves four purposes: 1. Utilizing shared knowledge, 2. Strengthening our children’s social-emotional skills in real time, 3. Building natural supports for families, and 4. Exposure/Recruitment: Four families from our building have joined the larger First Teacher movement because of participation on our convenient, perfectly located drop-in play!

Budget  $2,500.00
Category  Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Program Short-Term Success 
Participating parents/caregivers will report an increase in confidence and competence in their role as their child’s first teacher
 
Participating parents/caregivers will report an increase in time spent with their young children talking, reading, and exploring 
Program Long-Term Success  100% of First Teacher Families report feeling that they are part of a supportive, respectful and powerful community.
Program Success Monitored By 
Pre and post interviews  (at least 3-5 participants per year)
End-of-year on-line survey
Focus groups 
Examples of Program Success 
From a parent who attends drop-in almost every week:
"I get to come in with my kid, give him the space to play without limits, while I am sitting and actually talking to other adults about my life!" 

Family Play Week

Family Play Week, a partnership between First Teacher and three other like-minded organizations in Boston (Boston Children’s Museum, Countdown to Kindergarten, and Boston Public Library) was developed to address the lack of high-quality, stimulating opportunities for young children and their caregivers during the summer. The overarching goal of Family Play Week, piloted in July 2016 with eight amazing families, was to create a space (both physical and mental) for adults and children to build community through the lens of play and playful learning. It served three purposes: 1. Build a mutually beneficial partnership for authentic learning and family engagement where every organization invests money, people, and time; 2. Create experiences that will support families as they connect with other families in their neighborhood, and 3. Celebrate the power of play.  In the summer of 2017, we facilitated two week-long sessions of Family Play Week in July 2017 for 17 families.

Budget  $20,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Program Short-Term Success 
1. Build a mutually beneficial partnership for authentic learning and family engagement where every organization invests money, people, and time
2. Create experiences that will support families as they connect with other families in their neighborhood
3. Celebrate the power of play.
Program Long-Term Success  More families in Roxbury and Dorchester feel connected to each other.
Program Success Monitored By 
Daily surveys
End-of-session focus groups 
Examples of Program Success 
At the end of each Family Play Week session, parents/caregivers and their children chose one photo that captured their favorite part of Family Play Week and described it. Here are some of the best ones:
 

Makeda: I like this picture. Enoch [age 6 months] got a chance to play with everyone and he’s playing with Eli. [age 3] Yeah, as little as he is, he got a chance to play.

 Ana: I loved all of them but… I really appreciated the picture with Miss Josette because she was the one who encouraged him [Adam, age 2] to eat his watermelon by himself, with his fork. First time ever he put a fork in his mouth by himself! And then one of the pieces fell and he stabbed it by himself with encouragement from Miss Josette and got it all in his mouth! That was amazing.
 

Kaisha: This is Jayden’s [age 6] favorite picture, he made friends with Mateo. [age 4]

Jayden: I like it because I was sharing a book.

Kaisha: It made him feel happy.


 

 

First Teacher Community Building Events

Held throughout the neighborhood, our tri-yearly 2-hour long events are both celebratory and educational and serve three purposes: 1. Community building: providing space and time for families to build relationships with each other and our other partners, 2. Practice: providing activities which enable parents/caregivers to employ strategies discussed in previous workshops, and 3. Exposure/Recruitment: Our events are open to the public and First Teacher uses an each-one-bring-one method to capitalize on the networks of our current First Teacher families. Our first event in June 2014 consisted of four families walking together to the Dudley Library with a letters/numbers scavenger hunt. Less than a year later, at our first annual WinterActive Fun Fair at St. Patrick’s Church in Roxbury, we hosted over 80 people. Since then, we have had between 80 and 100 people at every event. In FY18, we will host three community building events; we expect roughly 450 participants, 150 at each event.


Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served Families Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Program Short-Term Success  Approximately 90% of parents/caregivers will report sharing information and time together outside of First Teacher workshops
Program Long-Term Success 
100% of First Teacher Families report feeling that they are part of a supportive, respectful and powerful community.
 
 
 
Program Success Monitored By 
Focus groups
End-of-year on-line survey 
Examples of Program Success  First Teacher parents/caregivers watch each other's children when one of us is working, carpool to school and ballet classes, network and share information, etc.

First Teacher Playdates: English and Spanish

We host 2 monthly play dates every month in community centers, local libraries, parks, and our First Teacher office, and they serve three purposes: 1. Utilizing shared knowledge, 2. Strengthening our children’s social-emotional skills in real time, and 3. Building natural supports for families. (Natural supports are a key protective factor in increasing the well-being of children and families.) Less formal than workshops, play dates provide opportunities for parents and caregivers to connect with and learn from each other while their young children work out social dynamics, another critical component of school-readiness. Our 2 hour play dates are open to families from all five of our sites. In FY18, we will offer 18 play dates for up to 20 families at each.

Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
100% of First Teacher Families report feeling that they are part of a supportive, respectful and powerful community.
 
  • Participating parents/caregivers will report an increase in confidence and competence in their role as their child’s first teacher

Participating parents/caregivers will report an increase in time spent with their young children talking, reading, and exploring 
Program Long-Term Success  100% of First Teacher Families report feeling that they are part of a supportive, respectful and powerful community.
Program Success Monitored By 
End-of-year on-line survey
Focus groups 
Examples of Program Success  At our most recent play date, one parent told another: "Nobody -- NOBODY! -- has every gotten me to go back to school, until you. You must be magic!" (This parent had enrolled in Endicott Boston, after spending the previous play date talking with this other parent about how much she loved it.) These moments happen at play dates all the time. Regular people doing regular networking.

First Teacher Workshops

First Teacher uses an accessible, collaborative approach, aimed at collectively impacting our parenting practices; this directly supports our children’s school-readiness. Our core elements, all developed and facilitated by well-paid parent leaders are:

Workshops: These are the main vehicle of our work. As one parent participant said, “The workshops are not like anything I’ve been to before. They don’t feel like school or work and they really help you figure out how to merge the environments [between school and home].” This year we will have 5 cohorts of parent/caregiver participants participating in monthly workshops (UU Church First Teacher office, Whittier Street Housing) and weekly workshops (Children’s Services of Roxbury, Haynes Early Education Center.) Each First Teacher cohort consists of up to 25 families; in total, First Teacher will facilitate 48  two-hour workshops in FY18.

Our workshops serve three purposes: 1. Teaching and learning by utilizing shared knowledge, 2. Practicing, and 3. Building parent/caregiver networks and community. All workshops start with the assumption that parents/caregivers bring their own upbringing, beliefs, and experiences to the school-readiness topic at hand; workshops have built in time for authentic discussions and processing without turning into family therapy! We then discuss brain and child development research about the importance of ________ (talking, reading, playing, exploring, moving and singing, counting, being outside, etc.) for our children’s healthy development. The majority of each workshop is spent sharing and practicing everyday strategies and habits that build our children’s brains. Participants leave with new books and ideas for free, easy, stimulating activities to do with their children.


 
Budget  $60,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served Families Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Participating parents/caregivers will report an increase in confidence and competence in their role as their child’s first teacher

  • Participating parents/caregivers will report an increase in time spent with their young children talking, reading, and exploring

  • All (100%) of participating parents/caregivers will read with their young children at least three times per week and half (50%) will read with their young children every day

  • Approximately 90% of parents/caregivers will report sharing information and time together outside of First Teacher workshops

  • 100% of First Teacher Families report feeling that they are part of a supportive, respectful and powerful community.

Program Long-Term Success 
First Teacher parents and caregivers will report being a part of a supportive, respectful, powerful community and movement of parents.
 
Children of First Teacher families will enter kindergarten ready to succeed, both academically and social-emotionally.
Program Success Monitored By 
  • Pre and post interviews FY17 and FY18 (at least 3-5 participants per year)

    • End of year on-line survey for all FT families

      • Multiple Choice surveys after each workshops

        • Reading Charts

          • Focus groups 

            • Copy  of first report cards of the year in k1 and/or k2

Examples of Program Success 

We believe children of First Teacher families will enter kindergarten at or above grade-level in language, literacy and general school-readiness because their parents have spent a year engaged in a supportive community built on relationships and trust with other parents from the community. We believe all learning happens through relationships: 100% of parents in FT workshops reported feeling respected, and 95% reporting learning something new in each workshop.

Being part of the First Teacher community has helped parents increase our confidence and competence as our child’s first, and most important, teacher. We are able to identify and seize those everyday moments and interactions that build our children’s brains, as well as increase the time we spend thoughtfully reading and talking with our children. In September 2017, after two years of programming:

57% of parents/caregivers are reading more with our children

77% are talking more with our children

66% are slowing down and exploring more with our children

98% are asking our children more questions

100% of First Teacher parents/caregivers are reading with our children at least three times per week


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Dinah Shepherd
CEO Term Start Aug 2013
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Prior to co-founding First Teacher with seven other parents from Boston, Dinah taught middle school ELA for eleven years at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, and high school English for two years at City on a Hill Public Charter School. In addition to teaching at Roxbury Prep, Dinah served as a grade-level team leader, department head, and in her last year, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction. In collaboration with two fathers from the school, Dinah founded and ran Real Men Read, a men's literacy-based mentoring program in which Black and Latino men from the community partner with 7th and 8th grade boys struggling in school, spending two Saturdays a month together. This program is currently in its 10th year at Roxbury Prep. Dinah holds a BA in African-American Studies from Oberlin College and a Masters in Child Development from Tufts University. Dinah became Executive Director of First Teacher in August 2013.
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
Karla Guerrero Connections Coordinator --
Nikole Huertas Program Coordinator --
Kim Nicoll Learning and Reflection Coordinator --
Shantae Toole Co-Founder and Director of Operations --

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

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 7
Number of Volunteers 10
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 8
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A

Governance


Board Chair Ms Josette Williams
Board Chair Company Affiliation Countdown to Kindergarten
Board Chair Term Aug 2013 - July 2023
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Jesse Abair Rackeman, Sawyer, and Brewster --
Jess Brooks Boston Community Capital --
Marisa Luse Northeastern University --
Teresa Rodriguez BPE --
Andrew Sokatch Character Labs --
Shantae Toole First Teacher, Trotter Elementary School --
Josette Williams Countdown to Kindergarten --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

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

Board Information

Board Term Lengths --
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 90%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 70%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As First Teacher is not yet incorporated, our advisory council does not yet have official decision making powers. There is also not a board chair.

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $309,100.00
Projected Expense $309,102.00
Form 990s

2016 TSNE 990

Audit Documents

2016 TSNE Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $332,759 $123,443 $104,825
Total Expenses $213,527 $116,940 $93,187

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$278,056 $80,436 $80,000
Government Contributions $35,000 $0 $0
    Federal $25,000 -- --
    State $10,000 -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $17,853 $21,630 $24,825
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $1,850 -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- $21,377 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $213,527 $116,939 $93,187
Administration Expense -- -- --
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.56 1.06 1.12
Program Expense/Total Expenses 100% 100% 100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $129,432 -- --
Current Assets $129,432 -- --
Long-Term Liabilities $0 -- --
Current Liabilities $0 -- --
Total Net Assets $129,432 -- --

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 N/A
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? No

Short Term Solvency

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

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above for FY16 is per the supplementary pages of their fiscal sponsor's audit file (posted above) as well as additional information provided by First Teacher. Data for FY15 and FY14 is per First Teacher's records. During those two year, asset and liability data was tracked at the fiscal sponsor level only.
 
First Teacher became fiscally sponsored by Third Sector New England Inc. (EIN# 04-2261109) in May 2015. Prior to that, First Teacher was fiscally sponsored by BPE.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

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?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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

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

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

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