Geographical Distribution of Classes to Reach More At-Risk Students: JA of Chicago
In fiscal 2010, JA of Chicago divided the JA More than Money classroom goal by geographic divisions to better represent our the operation and its outreach markets. We did this so that all of our areas and students, including more at-risk students, could benefit from the peogram’s financial literacy curriculum, not just the suburban areas surrounding Chicago’s two primary HSBC locations. The main challenge in this approach is getting HSBC volunteers to travel longer distances to unfamiliar areas to mentor students. Thanks to HSBC employees’ dedication, JA of Chicago’s innovation produced good results, taking 29 percent of JA More than Money classes into the city and 29 percent into Berwyn—both communities with a substantial population of at-risk youth and who clearly need the skills the program provided.
Strategy: This approach is used for several of our firms who are located outside of the city of Chicago or other at risk communities where there are no corporate headquarters or significant volunteer sources. JA of Chicago continues to serve the communities where businesses are located of course but we also try to get organizations to provide support to those communities where are programs are needed most. Philanthropically this allows the organization to say it not only serves its own community where their business is located but also those at risk areas outside of their geographic locations. This allows organizations like HSBC and the JA More than Money program to engage the entire JA of Chicago market and not just a specified area. This process supports our goals by enabling our organization to increase outreach to those areas where there is no corporate support currently or connections to existing schools.
Sustainability: At JA of Chicago, we have sustained this model for years. We have really tried hard over the years to express to firms that while you want and should support the communities where you work, there is a need to extend its philanthropic reach to those areas where your employees live as well. This is sustainable because once JA volunteers make contact, providing good service, communication and results, partnerships can be created and nurtured. There is ”holding power”— a connection to a community and the students who reside there.
Replicability: This model has been in place for many of JA of Chicago’s programs, with proven replicability and relevance. Key success factors in this roll-out were the ability to show that HSBC’s outreach could and should serve many different communities to have the broadest impact. It is apparent that HSBC is a wide range of students in our market, and this likely will strengthen and drive new partnerships with schools and educators.
Contact: Peter Truschke, firstname.lastname@example.org