Future Foundation Atlanta

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Giving back is a recurring theme in the nonprofit world. No matter what the mission of the organization may be, so much of what we do, when we do it well, is based on the idea of giving back, mentoring, and helping others learn from your own experience to succeed in their own journeys.

This past Monday (August 13, 2017), I had the distinct pleasure of serving as the keynote speaker for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) National Conference in Atlanta, GA.

The reception we received after a disruptive conversation about the way poverty needs to be addressed at YNPN Atlanta clearly shows we’re working in a sector that’s primed for disruption.

 

The single word I wanted to focus on was “disruption.” I know “disruption” is a term you hear more often describing tech startup businesses rather than nonprofit efforts, but I really believe the way poverty is addressed is primed for disruption and Future Foundation’s story only serves to illustrate that fact.

The YNPN keynote provided an opportunity to initiate a conversation about the way poverty is addressed in America. To take a look at the Disruption Playbook we’re writing at Future Foundation and challenge leaders in our sector to break the status quo, and revamp the 50-year-old social policies and strategies that have been failing so many communities.

Since 2007, Future Foundation of Atlanta has been graduating 100% of our students in an area where low graduation rates are standard. We are proud to say the results we’ve seen since opening our doors in 2004 are undeniable. More important, we’re proud of what our students go on to do after graduation and we’re using our 13 years of success to build on what we’ve learned to fundamentally disrupt the way poverty is battled here in Atlanta, across the country and around the world.

How we do it?

The same way Uber disrupted transportation. The same way Airbnb disrupted travel. We are operationalizing a second-family model designed to make the most of existing resources.

Uber didn’t build a new fleet of taxis to deliver its service. It devised a way to mobilize people who already own cars to deliver a relevant, valued service to their customers.

Airbnb didn’t build thousands of hotel rooms. They connected people who wanted to rent out rooms to people who wanted to stay in interesting places at an affordable rate.

Both of these startup “unicorns” disrupted conventional thinking and reinvented an industry.

We in the nonprofit world so often get absorbed into “good works” thinking. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what drives us internally.

But it’s the disruptive ideas that can drive growth and success and real change in the world. It’s happening in the for-profit world, why can’t it happen in the non-profit one? Why can’t we disrupt poverty?

We are continually gathering data from our Second Family Model and partnering with a wide variety of people, organizations and resources to organize a model to create a disruptive, repeatable, scalable solution to poverty. We’re finding ways to connect existing resources to energize solutions to create opportunities utilizing the greatest asset we have in the not-for-profit sector—our people.

This shift is about relinquishing control of resources, decreasing bureaucracy, collecting real time data to improve student experiences, infusing innovative technologies into marginalized communities, and collaborating to coordinate resources in a strategically aligned ecosystem. It’s an ecosystem made up of a second family that spans the faith  business, government, school system, and nonprofit communities. 

Poverty statistics in America have not changed in 50 years. Judging from the response of young leaders listening to the disruption discussion at YNPN Atlanta this year, the time is now to seize the moment and disrupt our sector before other industry change disrupts our work.

News Release

For Immediate Release

 

For 10 consecutive years, 100 % of Future Foundation program participants have graduated from high school and attended post-secondary institutions. On March 29, 2017, Future Foundation celebrated Atlanta’s past, present and future investments in education for underserved youth at its Keep It 100% luncheon. Led by event chair, Curley Dossman, President of Georgia Pacific Foundation, and a host committee of 21 business and civic leaders, this signature fundraising event for Future Foundation invites the metro Atlanta community to become 100% Circle Investors with the goal of raising $350,000. The Jean Childs Young Individual Leadership in Education Award was presented to Shan Cooper, Chief Transformation Officer of WestRock, and the Ann Cramer Corporate Leadership in Education Award was presented to UPS. These distinguished awardees were chosen for their significant investments in education for metro Atlanta’s most vulnerable youth.

 

The most important civil rights issue facing the United States today is education in underserved communities. Here in Atlanta, activists and philanthropists have long made education for our most vulnerable, at-risk youth their top priority; this is the core of the Future Foundation mission.

 

A young but powerful organization with a strategic model that utilizes education to change the trajectory for impoverished youth, Future Foundation enjoys the support of the Atlanta philanthropic community. The families of Jean Childs Young, former first lady of Atlanta and internationally known educator and advocate for children’s rights, and Bennett Brown, former NationsBank chairman who invested in education to improve the lives of resilient children who, like him, did not have easy access to higher education, are ardent supporters.

 

Ann Wilson Cramer, who has been committed to education and empowering children in Atlanta for decades through her corporate role with IBM and her personal advocacy as a community leader and co-founder of Communities in Schools, is also a trusted advisor and supporter. “I want to be part of a community in which every child– has the opportunity to grow up safe, healthy, educated, connected, employable, and then become a contributing, interdependent – not dependent and not independent – contributing citizen. That’s how I see Future Foundation,” said Ann Cramer. “The Future Foundation literally lifts up the community to that aspiration for all to be reaching their full potential.”

 

Attendees at the Future Foundation Keep It 100% Luncheon included former Atlanta Hawks Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Josh Smith; radio personalities Veronica Waters, Chubb Rock and SiMan Baby; corporate senior executives Eduardo Martinez, Shan Cooper, Gerard Gibbons, Tim Davies, Cyril Turner and Ann Cramer; and Atlanta City Council Members, Ceasar Mitchell and Andre Dickens. Collaborative partners in attendance included Communities in Schools co-founder Neil Shorthouse, Fulton County Schools, 100 Black Men of America, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, C5 Georgia, and others. It was a who’s who from the metro Atlanta educational philanthropic community. Ceasar Mitchell called the group in attendance, “A gang for good.”

 

This was somewhat of a coming out party for Future Foundation; an emphatic statement that “we are here and we are fighting for all children growing up in poverty in metro Atlanta.” And metro Atlanta listened. They contributed, they applauded, they are engaged and getting more involved. Attendees gave a standing ovation for Future Foundation alumni Shawanda Edwards for her personal testimony. “I started Future Foundation when I was in the 4th grade. I was a student at Park Lane Elementary School and was struggling in some of my classes. I was a very shy kid. Future Foundation helped me learn to talk to people, plan for my future and learn…And I stand before you now, a first-generation, college graduate with aspirations of one day leading a nonprofit so I can inspire the next generation.” Shawanda said as she addressed the crowd of 165.

 

Honorary event chair Curley Dossman, President of Georgia Pacific Foundation, spoke to his involvement with the Keep It 100% Luncheon. “I support Future Foundation because they have a proven track record and exceptional leadership in CEO Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim. They work with youth who grow up in risk-filled environments and yet achieve a 100% graduation rate. The Keep It 100% Luncheon celebrates that achievement and the great work of activists like Jean Childs Young and philanthropists like Ann Cramer who led Atlanta by example and paved the way for us all to continue developing youth today.”

 

The annual luncheon celebrates Future Foundation’s 100% Circle Investors. The metro Atlanta community is invited to become 100% Circle Investors with contributions of $5,000, $2,500 or $1,000 for individuals and small businesses, and $25,000, $10,000 or $5,000 for corporations and foundations. Donors giving in 2017, include AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Georgia Pacific, Sun Trust, Delta, UPS, Federal Home Loan Bank, Radio One, Cox Enterprises and many others.

 

To make a gift and become a 100% Circle Investor, go to www.future-foundation.com/keep-it-100 or call 404.766.0510.  One hundred percent of Circle Investor contributions support Future Foundation’s programs and operations.

 

About Future Foundation, Inc.

The Future Foundation of Atlanta levels the playing field for more than 800 youth and their parents annually through high-quality, place-based education, health and life skills programs that mobilize cross-sector partnerships with schools, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. With 15 years of history behind its work, Future Foundation has launched a new data driven model in partnership with Fulton County Schools to improve the graduation and college readiness rates of low-performing high schools. Planned efforts align with the implementation of the Fulton County School District’s Achievement Zone program. For more information on how to become a 100% Circle Investor, call 404.766.0510 or visit www.future-foundation.com/keep-it-100.

 

Future Foundation, Inc.

1892 Washington Road

East Point, GA 30344

www.future-foundation.com

 

For more information, contact:

Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim

Qrahim@future-foundation.com

404.766-0510

 

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When young people have been involved with the juvenile or adult justice system before they’ve even turned 20, they need help to get their lives back on track.

That’s why Future Foundation has joined with Stand Inc., Youth Connections, and community partners to provide the Reentry Enhanced Services & Training Optimizing Restorative Experiences (R.E.S.T.O.R.E.) Project in the Atlanta area. The R.E.S.T.O.R.E. project’s goal is to enable participants to overcome challenges in life and become positive, healthy and fully participating members of society by helping them get back in school, master a trade or learn basic life skills. It’s designed for Fulton County youth ages 16 to 20 who are now or have recently been involved with the juvenile or adult justice system.

R.E.S.T.O.R.E. is based upon the Positive Pathways approach, which includes workforce development, education and training, coaching/case management, mentoring, life skills, restorative justice projects, and community wide efforts to reduce crime and violence. At Future Foundation, we’re committed to helping 100 youth annually, for a full year on at least a weekly basis. “It’s all about giving them a second chance,” says Nikki Thornton, Project RESTORE’s program manager. “We empower our youth to want to make a difference and restore them to be productive citizens.” Nikki adds that of the five cities where the program has been implemented, the Atlanta program spearheaded by Future Foundation has the highest employment rate. “We’re like a GPS for these kids—their life navigator here to help them achieve their goals,” she says.

R.E.S.T.O.R.E. was developed due to the overwhelming amount of youth impacted by the justice system that we were unable to service in a traditional after school setting.

Acknowledging that there’s a lot more to getting an education than reading, writing, and arithmetic, Future Foundation’s Reef House and Reef Teen Center are devoted to introducing students to subjects they might not experience at school or home. Our enrichment programs allow students to participate in everything from creative arts, cooking and dance classes to college tours and vocational skills career training.

We provide enrichments to two groups of students: 5th-7th graders and 8th-12th graders.

The younger students can take part in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction, learn 3D animation, make movies, learn dance moves, discover how to cook, and participate in 4H activities.

In addition to dance, culinary arts, 4H, and creative arts classes, the older students can take advantage of high school prep (for 8th graders) and college and career prep.

Both age groups also receive instruction in fitness and nutrition, and can take part in organized physical activities.

Enriching the lives of students with opportunities for academic achievement; physical, performing and visual arts activity; and positive youth development is not only a fundamental part of our mission-it’s also one of the most important things we do.

Giving a Boost at Banneker

Like all high schools, Benjamin Banneker High in College Park is always looking for ways to help its students achieve academic success with limited resources. That’s why Future Foundation is bringing a variety of workshops and assemblies focused on academic success to the school.

Our relationship with Banneker is an example of a new education model called partnerships for learning. “In this model, educators are bringing together key players who provide a range of services to support learning, including families, school administrators, community-based organizations, health care providers, governmental agencies, and other institutions,” says Shaunae Motley, Future Foundation’s chief operating officer. “These diverse partners work together to support children’s development and reduce barriers to their overall success. This is where Future Foundation can really contribute.”

Otha William facilitating a discussion on college budgeting.

Otha William facilitating a discussion on college budgeting.

As a result, Banneker is the host of our College 4 Careers program, where we expose the entire 11th grade class of some 300 students in an assembly style setting to college and career discussions. That’s in addition to our after-school college career workshops, which works with some 45 students who are interested in one-on-one support with college essays and resume development etc. “Our college and career assemblies include speakers, college students and professionals who tell the students about the importance of graduating and about career and college options,” explains Brandon Woodard, program manager.

We also provide our RealTalk ATL program-which is focused on making healthy choices-to more than 100 of Banneker’s 10th graders. RealTalk sparks conversations with youth regarding sex, love, dating and relationships. Our innovative approach engages with interactive lessons, stories, facts, videos and games. The Banneker partnership is an excellent example of how Future Foundation supports the in-school, after-school and at-home environments of the youth we serve. Please contact us at info@future-foundation.com if you’re interested in leading a career or college discussion.