About the Organization
Chica Project is a youth and leadership development nonprofit founded in 2011 in Boston. The original mission of the organization was to address the opportunity divide facing young Latinas in the US, particularly those living in major urban areas. The concept was timely, given demographic trends in urban neighborhoods. To date, Chica Project has successfully served over 900 participants throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Dominican Republic.
In 2017, Chica Project reached out to ESC as the organization was looking at ways to reach more girls by expanding its programs and services. In order to evolve from a small, grassroots, community-based nonprofit, Chica Project needed to develop a plan to 1) transition to a scalable and sustainable organization, 2) explore the feasibility of bringing programs into school settings, 3) transition its founder to a less operational role, and 4) broaden their mission to address the opportunity divide for not just young Latinas but “every Latina and Women of Color.”
How ESC Helped
The major objective of the project was to enhance the organization’s sustainability in terms of impact, funding, and leadership. The team of ESC consultants reviewed organizational documents and interviewed a broad array of stakeholders, from staff to advisory board members to funders.
Through a SWOT analysis, the ESC consultant team recommended the following steps to address Chica Project’s areas of concern:
- Confirm alignment of mission/values with programs, target market needs and marketing materials
- Standardize programs: including documentation of their school-based program curriculum and implement a new school in 2019/2020 school year
- Staff development: transition from a primarily volunteer organization with fiscal sponsors to an independent organization with primarily paid staff
- Board Development: establish an official board of directors with fiduciary responsibility
By structuring all of the programs with standard documents and policies, Chica Project revised its mission and programming, as well as solidified administrative processes. Chica Project’s unique strength in the market is the delivery of curriculum by facilitators who understand the school’s atmosphere and have personal relationships with the participants. By continuing to develop, streamline, and perfect the training of facilitators, ESC recommended that Chica Project explore the possibility of generating revenue by marketing the curriculum. By developing a delivery model and a business model that focuses on its source of funding, the organization will have a better financial plan and a more well-rounded recruitment profile. In 2018, Chica Project moved forward with their staffing goals and hired a full-time program coordinator. In 2019, Erika Rodriguez, who had been serving as the interim executive director since October 2017, officially became the executive director. Since the initial engagement in 2017, Chica Project has worked with ESC on three additional projects focusing on governance, executive coaching and strategic planning.