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THRIVE Participant Perspective--NextUp RVA

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Each Friday, we'll bring you the perspective of a nonprofit in our THRIVE accelerator program and share a little about their organization.

NextUp RVA

This session of THRIVE, facilitated as always by our partners at The Spark Mill, covered Program Design, Culture, Impact, and Equity and was led by Damon Jiggets, Executive Director of Peter Paul. We asked the team from NextUp RVA to tell us about their experience this week.

What are you hoping to get out of THRIVE?

Steve Rogers, Board Member: Come away with how the board can be more helpful in moving the organization forward.

Barbara Sipe, President and CEO: To better understand what I don’t know that I don’t know.

Tell us about your experience in the program.

Jeanine Turner, Director of Programs: I applaud you on the folks you’ve chosen--each presenter has been candid, and none of it has felt cookie-cutter to me. I’ve felt the presenters living and breathing their work. The material has been relatable, and has challenged my thinking.

Candace Benn, Director of Continuous Improvement and Evaluation: We’ve been in existence since 2014. How can we grow? How can we use these concepts to challenge our thinking? We’ve been challenged, and we’re being intentional in our thought process. What do we need to grapple with as a team?

Steve: There’s so much going on in our work day to day, that is consistent with what is being said in these presentations as good practices, that I as a board member, was not as aware of. Not sure how much I need to be aware of it, but it might be useful to share more of this with the board. It has reaffirmed that a lot of our basic governance is in good shape.

How do you see this applying to your organization?

Steve: Our succession plan needs attention. As a board member, it’s something I’ll personally push on.

Barbara: There are things we’re recognizing right away that we want to be communicating more about. There's a lot that we do that people don't know we’re doing. We’re building a list of things we want to implement, prioritizing. What are actions we want to take from this experience?

What did you learn, or feel spoke to you about today?

Barbara: The importance of the language that we use and the inclusivity of our constituents in our language. How do we refer to each other and those who we serve? The impact that we have every day on so many groups--that leads to outcomes that we measure, but many that we’re not. Not everything that matters can be counted.

Amanda Macdonald, Development Director: All presenters have posed wonderful questions that make you realize you can always take a deeper look, even if your organization is very established and has a lot of these core structures in place.

Jeanine: What does long-term engagement look like for a stakeholder, for a family? How do we engage with them long-term bc they’ve seen value in NextUpRVA?

mad libs about identity
From Damon's Presentation


NextUp, powered by a joint effort by educators, youth providers, city and school officials, and business and community leaders, is committed to providing Richmond middle school students with opportunities to continue their learning beyond the school day through a variety of high-quality, coordinated programs to ensure they are productive, engaged and having fun!

Our vision is that Richmond’s youth will thrive in school, at home and in the community.

Studies show that structured Out-of-School Time (OST) programs make a positive difference in the lives of students and their families, and in the communities where they live and grow. Quality programs designed to offer experiences that supplement and support school-based education often lead to better school attendance, behavior, and course performance.

In response to the pandemic, they created a new online enrichment portal, where teens can participate in both live, interactive enrichment classes AND do-on-your-own activities in the areas of Sports and Health, STEM, Arts and Humanities, and Leadership and Mentoring.

The THRIVE accelerator program provides an opportunity to look beyond the current challenges and obstacles and plan out a direct and streamlined path forward. Organizations will spend concentrated time planning and executing real-time solutions with guided facilitation.

The second cohort focuses on helping organizations engage leading practices in program design, community engagement, board development, fundraising, storytelling, and HR/operations with a racial equity lens. This experience creates a set time for teams of boards and staff to come together to look at their organization holistically and then apply what they are learning to their specific context.

THRIVE was created through collaboration between The Collaboratory of Virginia and The Spark Mill, and is currently sponsored by Carmax, Robins Foundation, and Virginia Community Capital.

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