Parties with a Purpose -
by Words To Grow On, LLC
Transforming the booming home party biz model into a social change platform that gets people talking to babies, to parents, & each other.
Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)
Featuring Our Business as a Whole vs. Highlighting Innovative Products & Services ~
I have made several changes as a result of using this platform. My mentor, Jake - is great, & helped me clarify and hone the message about the core of my business. I also realized the importance of separating the VARIOUS innovations that our company is developing, & the need to highlight each of them in the competition. Each is unique & our role, experience, & length of time as innovator differs in each of them. In other words, OUR COMPANY AS A WHOLE FOCUSES ON INNOVATION IN MULTIPLE WAYS. To that end, we have 3 submissions in the competition. But for the lack of time, we could have 5 submissions.
The Home Party Example ~
Our proposed Party Platform is a SOCIAL & BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION, while our app - Time2Talk2Baby - is a TECHNOLOGY-based intervention. Both are very different from the SURVEY-BASED, prescriptive menu of personalized suggestions that our "Next Steps for Baby" service offers & our children's books publishing program.
More Compelling Language ~
I'm a bit of a WONK & I tend to write that way. So, after critically evaluating my approach, I have changed up the way I have depicted this project. Reading how others on this platform have presented their information has made it evident to me that I need to approach the description of our innovative products & services differently; putting passion into the message is just as important as stressing the effectiveness of the innovation.
The breadth of groups and individuals contributing to this challenge is AMAZING! This vast collection of early childhood efforts has helped me envision even more ways of collaborating - with everyone!
Name or Organization
Words To Grow On, LLC
We have a team of local advisors that represent home visiting (Dr. Kathy Pillow-Price), early childhood (Geania Dickey and Jamie Morrison), adult literacy (Belinda Sanders), business (Laura Iverson, MBA) and social work (Anna Waddell). We are also leveraging our participation in initiatives with the local Grade Level Reading Campaign, United Way, Arkansas Children's Hospital, the state Health Dept. and two business accelerators to develop our innovation.
Based in Little Rock, Arkansas
What is your stage of development?
Advanced Innovator with 3 to 10+ years of experience in ECD
What is the stage of your proposal?
Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.
Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)
NEGATIVE FISCAL REALITIES REQUIRE NEW MODELS
The amount of resources available for programming & intervention is shrinking, while the problem of poor development remains. Federal monies are being cut & nonprofits are cautioned not to rely on previously recurring funding streams.
Our social enterprise approach disrupts old models of financing for social good programs. We aim to mobilize individuals to earn extra income as independent reps, & help them build a home party business that reaches into their communities with information, support & products for parents & caregivers of 0-3s.
Select an Innovation Target
Network: Connecting people with each other to enhance the reach or effectiveness of new or existing resources.
Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)
Revolutionizing Parent Outreach & Education ~
We have combined Social Learning Theory with gamification & behavioral change models to create a novel, home party platform that disseminates information, promotes parent confidence, & builds consensus & support among family & friends to talk, read, & sing more with 0-3s. Through the use of games, activities, & discussion points that require only simple materials such as a ball, some string, & some blocks, the parties are designed to "get everyone on the same page" regarding the importance of interacting more meaningfully with babies because of the way it impacts children's short term & long term development.
New Model Motivates & Mobilizes ~
Our parties help the community as well by creating income opportunities. As a social enterprise, our approach uses a business model that helps community-based, culturally compatible parents earn extra income through their facilitation of home parties in their area. When participants become an independent, commission-based representative for Words To Grow On, they would make about 30% commission plus bonuses on the sale of products and services.
Bringing Affordable 21st Century Tech to Parents ~
The products we offer consist of the best loved books for babies, but also a curated collection of 21st century tech tools: The Starling Word Counter, The LENA language skill assessment, free coaching apps, & a survey-based, personalized plan to maximize baby's learning environment.
What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)
The level of interaction & exposure to language that 0-3s have with parents & caregivers affects all aspects of their future: social-emotional development, cognition, literacy levels, & physical/mental health. Parents need to have easy access to info about this effect, & a social group that supports their efforts at giving their baby lots of early verbal stimulation. Most parents don't attend parenting classes, so our model brings info & products to homes in a fun, informal, nonthreatening way.
Explain your idea (5000 characters)
Using the universally successful home-party presentation model as a jumping off point, we transform it to promote the social good and provide parents with resources and support by creatively addressing 3 factors that can either impede, or promote early childhood development. 1) Parents' level of information and education; 2) Family norms, guidance & peer support; 3) The psychological framework that mediates a person's perspective & life course: hope or hopelessness, endeavor or ennui. The social & celebratory format of a party brings parents & extended family & friends together to "get everyone on the same page" about what all babies need to thrive, encourage joint efforts on baby's behalf, & introduce them to affordable products & services that support baby's cognition & language development.
OUR OPERATING PRINCIPLES:
1) The reps we recruit & train to become independent business owners & reach out to parents will be culturally compatible to the neighborhoods & communities they aim to serve.
2) Programming will be social and celebratory. A nonjudgmental, fun, & social approach promotes participation, camaraderie, learning, & the development of vital individual, group, & community support systems. Our parties involve participants in activities & games which are informative & fun, promote hope & cooperation in families, are informed by research, & are easy to understand & use. The theme of these parties is Parent Power.
3) The products we offer will be affordable & accessible, meet a variety of needs & preferences, & be evidence-based or evidence-informed. These products range from:
* Low cost board books for babies
* Low cost language skills assessments that we are licensed to provide for children up to 36 months
* A computer-based, personalized guide called "Next Steps for Baby." This survey-based set of suggestions for parents details what they can do in their local area & at home to provide critical language stimulation to their children & to improve their child's readiness for school. "Next Steps for Baby" is developed according to the answers parents provide on a proprietary, online survey that asks about demographics, literacy habits, community resources, attitudes, etc. It is called the Parents Engaging Babies with Language Survey (PEBLS).
* The latest language intervention technology available which provides parents with feedback on the actual number of words that are being used with their baby. Like a "fit bit" for babies, this word-counter ("The Starling") is made from medical grade, water-proof plastic & its accompanying smart phone app allows parents to track interaction, set goals to increase word usage, & provides information on the amount of verbal interaction baby is receiving.
NOTE: While parents can track their own level of interaction, they can also assess the interaction level that others provide their baby - such as when baby is in a care setting. This benefit is especially salient since only 9% of licensed care programs for infants & toddlers are considered to be of high quality. We are licensed to offer this product by the patent-holder.
* FREE smart phone apps (including our own soon-to-be-launched app called "Time2Talk2Baby" as well as curated apps developed by other organizations).
Time2Talk2Baby is an AUDIO coaching app that sends parents a daily 30-45 second audio clip of suggestions, stories, & songs, & encourages use of higher level vocabulary with baby (QUANTITY + QUALITY!). No reading is required, as with other apps. What parents hear from us they can directly apply to interactions with their kiddos.
In 2016 Time2Talk2Baby was designated as one of the top 10 innovations promoting better early development by the Health Resources and Services Agency of the US Department of Human Services. For HRSA's program, called the "Bridging the Word Gap Innovation Competition," we created a prototype and used a randomized controlled experimental design with 90 moms to evaluate its use. Our treatment moms reported that they increased interaction with their babies, gained new knowledge, & even began encouraging others to talk to their own babies. Even more striking, however, were the large differences in developmental outcomes between the treatment babies and control babies. Our findings, as measured by our research collaborators at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, were statistically significant, both in terms of scale score changes (6 points) and differences in the number of weeks the children advanced in their language skills beyond the 9 week trial period (a mean of 7.7 weeks of additional development vs 1.6 weeks in the control group).
Who benefits? (1500 characters)
MULTIPLE BENEFITS - MULTIPLE BENEFICIARIES
* Children increase their vocabulary, improve receptive & expressive language skills, enjoy higher cognitive functioning, develop important social-emotional skills, & are ready for school.
* Parents & families gain information & have access to supportive people and resources. They can track their child's language development easily & regularly, & they can objectively assess how much language their child's caregiver uses with them & then advocate for their child & promote greater interaction at the care center. They, along with community members will understand the power of talk & the path it offers for better development and education levels.
* Trained representatives earn extra money doing cause-related work that impacts families and their communities in positive ways.
* Teachers' jobs become a bit easier as more students start school prepared to learn to read well, and succeed.
As the founder & CEO of the company, I bring years of experience in public health, human services, adult literacy programs, higher education & business. I have a doctorate in adult education & have focused my work on disadvantaged parents & children (my dissertation studied the politics of parent involvement in Head Start. Moreover, as a white female professional, I realize that the voices of women of color need to be present at the table, & so have established a local advisory committee of diverse women who regularly give their input.
What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)
INVESTING FOR IMPACT & IMPROVEMENTS
Based on the successful results of our research and on the feedback of the pilot of our Parent Power Parties we have created and are fine-tuning, our anticipated long-term outcomes include:
- Creation of a national network of peer parent advisers capitalizing on Words To Grow On's commission-based income opportunities
- Development of local leadership and community involvement
- Increased school readiness
- Higher literacy levels in children & adults
- Increased educational attainment
- Better physical health and mental status in families and in communities
- Increased employment opportunities
We know that as each of these community indicators become more robust, people also begin to find their voices, make their needs heard & begin to challenge injustice, whether it be with a landlord, a teacher, a school system, city hall & more. So yes, I see this effort as planting seeds that can build skills and hope in individuals, families, & communities.
LEVEL OF IMPACT PROJECTED
The numbers of people that could be impacted by our home party program is huge, as it the number of jobs we could create that are specifically promoting better early childhood development. If we could reach just 5% of families with 0-3s, we would be organizing 50,000 parties per month. With ten participants per party, 6 million people would get the message yearly. Running only 2 parties monthly would take 25,000 reps.
How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)
IMPACT OPPORTUNITY FOR LOW INCOME CHILDREN
Low income households typically have few or no children's books in the home. Low income typically correlates with low literacy, & when parents don't read well, they resist interaction with books & reading. These parents can benefit from a nonthreatening setting with friends & family that provides messages about ways to share books with their little ones without having to read them. They need to know that just talking about the pictures & making up a story about them gives children exposure to far more words & different kinds of sentence structures than they get through regular interaction.
Getting more books (even 1 or 2) in the home & providing this message can change family dynamics. Parents begin to enjoy their child more as they see their joy in sharing a book.
While the interventions we describe are aimed at parents, the ultimate beneficiaries are the children who begin to receive more interaction with their parents & who may experience less stress & defensiveness from a parent who doesn't want to admit their lack of skills.
In addition, parents who don't read well often seek adult literacy tutoring because they are motivated by wanting to be able to help their children. When parents increase their education it reaps benefits for the entire family.
Moreover, improved parent-child relationships & greater understanding of child development is correlated with a reduction in child abuse.
Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (5000 characters)
USING AN OLD MODEL IN NEW WAYS
Home party programs have been used for 100 years to sell everything from make up, vitamins, cleaning products, jewelry, clothes, & candles. They have been wildly successful & people are attracted to this business because of the potential earnings. While money motivates, many people, especially millennials, also seek work that supports a cause. This new way of using a home party model to do good stands to be lucrative, sustainable & easily brought to scale.
Combining social learning theory & direct sales, Words To Grow On is not a publicly funded program or charity, but a cause-related business that monetizes the work to improve early development. We will reward independent reps with cash incentives to reach into their communities to affect change with home parties designed to enlighten, encourage, & support, instead of just selling products.
HOME PARTIES FOR GOOD
Rather than simply selling, our parties build support for parent's efforts to give their baby the best start in life. Our focus on building a shared experience & knowledge base among family members & friends means parents have the assurance that all those in attendance now understand the importance of interaction & sharing books. And, because the people who attend home parties do so out of curiosity & their connection with the host - our parties stand to leverage those personal connections to improve development. Our parties educate AND sell, all while strengthening community & support.
MEETING PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE
Some facts to consider: People seek pleasure & avoid pain. Embarrassment & shame are isolating. Parenting is hard. Making change is a process. Hope is healing.
The fact is, people would rather go to a fun party in a friend's home than attend a parenting program at a school or community center where they "might" feel judged. Everyone's understanding of what it means to parent is influenced by their upbringing & social network. It can be hard to make changes in those behaviors & support is needed. Since our reps come from the towns & neighborhoods they serve & are culturally compatible to the party attendees, they know the strengths of the community, & can put folks at ease while not blaming, judging, or being condescending.
ENCOURAGING COLLABORATION, NOT COMPETITION
Words To Grow On won't compete with nonprofit and public sector programs already in place. On the contrary, we would seek out active collaboration with these groups and support their efforts toward improved child development and school readiness. For example, they would asked if they want to be included on the list of charities to receive book donations from us. In turn, those programs could let their community of stakeholders know about us. Collaboration opportunities also relate to recruiting representatives. Employees at programs serving young children are typically paid low wages & many staff need part-time jobs to make ends meet. Programs & schools would be encouraged to inform their trained home visitors, qualified child care providers, & teachers with degrees in early childhood about the potential of making extra money as independent representatives.
Our home parties can reach parents who otherwise might not receive important information about child development & access to support. Here's why:
* While there is a push nationwide to increase the use of developmental assessments during well child visits, they aren't yet widely used. Pediatricians are pressed for time, having only 15 minutes or less to meet with patients & parents. And, those parents who use a family practitioner may never have a well child visit done on their child if they are always sent to the health department to get their immunizations.
* Most of the millions of parents with 0 - 3 year olds don't ever go to a parent education program unless they are adjudicated by the court. Those who do may be worried that if they attend they may be seen as having a problem, or committed a crime, so they don't go.
* Many parents don't want to face the fact that their child may be delayed &so they put off seeking help, despite the fact that getting help earlier is most effective. Most children who have developmental lags aren't seen by an early interventionist before the age of 3 (nationwide only 2.75%).
* Lots of information for parents is on the internet, but wide-spread low literacy (as in 68% of 8th graders who read at only the basic level or below) impedes its use. Reading small print on a smart phone makes it even more difficult. For other low income parents, too few minutes on their smart phone plan restricts lengthy use.
INNOVATIVE METHODS & MATERIALS
Not only is Words To Grow On using the classic model of home parties to reach deep into communities, the process that takes place during the party, the activities used, & the results that occur are also novel. (I emailed examples of this IP to you today)
Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)
Four million babies are born each year in the US. At any given time the 0-3 population stands at 12 million. Serving just 1% of this market annually with home parties yields 120,000 parties per year, or 10,000 per month. This would create income-producing opportunities for approximately 5,000 individuals (based on each one facilitating only 2 parties a month).
If we use the assumption that an average of 10 people (extended family members & friends) would attend each small party, that 1% reach equals a total of 1.2 million participants. Reaching over 1 million people EACH YEAR with resources, information about early development & the importance of language, & proven ways to prevent lack of school readiness would be groundbreaking.
REPS' CONNECTIONS CREATE SALES
The reps who facilitate these parties would earn 30% commission plus bonuses. They use their connections and build from there, to recruit hosts & new reps. The direct sales, home party business model is historically very successful here, in part because of this. When a home party program goes viral, they can easily double in size and effect.
Our model, which promotes hope for the future, more confident parenting, & healthy development of babies & doesn't sell the typical kind of products, has great potential for success. This is novel enough, as are the products we offer, that it should grow quickly. We could have a 5% market reach in 5 years. (I sent those projections to you by email)
Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)
Words To Grow On's approach to the problem of poor early development and the need for parent support is simple: We have created a market-driven, cause-related business designed to meet a social need.
FEASIBLE PRODUCT ARRAY
Words To Grow On is using company-created, proprietary products & services in combination with new products created by other companies which few in the nation are currently licensed to sell. Based on this unusual hybrid mix of offerings in a range of price points & the various modalities in which we offer parent education and support, this concept is extremely feasible. Since we are not reliant on one product stream, and since our approach is novel and new, we anticipate that we can grow quickly, test, iterate & pivot if needed after a full launch.
While we have completed a pilot of the party program, we will begin formally testing the platform's specific games and activities using focus groups this winter. The games, talking points, & activities that are used in the party were all specifically developed for this project, and are therefore proprietary. (I have sent an email with an overview of them)
FEASIBILITY THROUGH COLLABORATION
While there are colleagues and advisors in the local area who are interested and supportive, I am the principal player and will be seeking to develop a national advisory board made up of experts. In addition, I am interested in seeking partnerships with nonprofit programs that do parent training, such as United Way's Born Learning or LENA Start. The initial training they provide in child development, in conjunction with their creation of a referral system that would introduce interested parents to our income opportunity, would create powerful synergy for change in communities. Knowing that they were already knowledgeable about early development, our training with them would primarily be about the company, products, and the party format.
FEASIBILITY ENHANCED BY STAFFING
While the components are planned, & we have the resources to evaluate & perfect the processes & activities, this effort would benefit greatly from investment would allow me to have a small staff that can help me put these plans fully into action.
Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (5000 characters)
VIABILITY OF BUSINESS MODEL
Our unique value proposition, along with the tight financial structure of the business model makes this project viable. Words To Grow On is disrupting the traditional early childhood intervention models that rely on government funding & charitable donations by mobilizing community-based, independent representatives who will earn commission reaching out to parents with innovative home parties & community programs and selling proven tools & technology.
CUSTOMER & REP CHANNELS
Outreach and promotion of our home party initiative will be to community groups, church groups, civic groups, sororities, and associations to create awareness, recruit reps & arrange for parties. Because we are grounding the need in terms of educational equity, and poverty alleviation, we will meet with leaders at historically black colleges and universities, GED & adult literacy programs, home visiting programs, poverty alleviation, & community development programs. Presentations will be made PTAs, mothers-day-out programs. Word of mouth in the home party field is especially effective. Social media will be used to create followers, and mass media will be leveraged to highlight the novelty and importance of our effort. We will also place brochures in maternity shops, OBs & pediatrician's offices.
Anticipated early adopters include those customers with the most "pain" around this issue of poor development & school achievement: African American moms, who have great motivation to see something better for their kids. Stay at home moms who want to do meaningful work would be interested, as would Latina moms with a community change perspective. While not interested in becoming reps, we anticipate that moms who are well off would be curious about the new technology & want to give their children every possible advantage.
OUR ADVANTAGE OVER OTHERS IN THIS ECD SPACE
First, because we are a small business, we have complete flexibility to respond to the market, to test & iterate, to pivot our approaches to outreach, & to change the products & services we offer. Governmental & nonprofit programs are constricted by regulations, grants & contracts, and uncertain funding streams. I know, because I worked in nonprofits and higher education for the better part of my career.
UNIQUE TECHOLOGY, PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Secondly, the technology we offer is not readily available to the public. We have the advantage of being embedded in the research & product development community in the field, & our personal connections have enabled us to become licensed as a distributor in two every special enterprises. The first is the LENA Research Foundation, with whom we offer a validated measure of children's language development for ages 2 months to 36 months. LENA is also the creator of the world's first language monitor, a digital processing device that, when connected to the proprietary software, can provide researchers with an array of assessments about a child's language environment within as little as two hours. The second is VerSame's Starling word counter. VerSame is based in Silicon Valley. Their word counter is a wearable, medical-grade- plastic, digital device especially designed for use by parents. Once turned on for the day and attached to a child's clothing, it charts on a parent's smart phone the amount of language being used with that child. This "Fitbit for Babies" provides objective feedback to parents, acts as a reminder to talk more, and allows for goal setting. Words To Grow On is also developing an audio coaching app (Time2Talk2Baby) that has proprietary content. Our experimental testing with UAMS has shown statistically significant results between the language development of the children whose moms who used it, versus those that did not.
Our fiscal structure is streamlined: cash in, cash out. The business model uses a low risk, customer ordering system that requires payment upfront and requires minimal warehousing, and initially, few staff. The Starling costs $150 for the device and app (30% margin), and the LENA Developmental Snapshot language assessment will be $20 each or a series of 3 for $50 (1000% margin). Both of these cost figures have been qualified by customer feedback. We will also be selling children's picture books at the parties (45% margin), as well as personalized "Next Steps for Baby" plans for families that gives them suggestions of activities (based on their interests) of things to do to enrich their child's exposure to language and more learning opportunities. This is our proprietary product; the price has not yet been set. While our app will be free, we will monetize it with family focused advertising. Our rep kits will also be a source of income, however in keeping with ethical guidelines established by the Direct Selling Association, we will not have more than a 10% markup on the materials that are included, or that need to be replenished.
HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (5000 characters)
I initially conceived this idea years ago when I first founded the statewide Reach Out and Read (ROR) program. My early thoughts were to use this as a source of getting book donations, since the pediatric clinics who use ROR need books to give out. Over the years, as time permitted, I put more and more pieces together. As a way to test out the idea, I have made numerous presentations to receive feedback, had countless conversations with others, and formed an advisory committee. I have attended workshops for start ups where my thoughts were challenged as I created at least 6 versions of a lean canvas, developed a new logo, addressed branding, messaging, and product lines.
I have also talked with other direct sales reps who sell Usborne books, Barefoot Books, and Discovery Toys, hoping to collaborate by using them as book suppliers. Unfortunately, this doesn't appear to be practical since they had very few books for the 0-3 age group!
I have also attached a listing of the types of things I have done to grow this idea (See below) . Now, I can't wait to get your support and make it a reality!!
Tell us more about you (3000 characters)
As a young mother 20 years ago, I was surprised when I was encouraged to talk a lot to my newborn son. Happily, I quickly found my voice and immersed him in a world of words and ideas.
At the time, as a doctoral student in adult and continuing education I knew that far too many families struggled with poverty, poor health, discrimination, poor schools, and more. I also fully understood the prevalence of low literacy in the US, and during my dissertation fieldwork at Head Start had personally seen how such difficulties affected family ecology and communities.
HEALTH LITERACY EXPERT
In 1994, as a researcher in the department of pediatrics at a medical school, I became interested in the emerging field of health literacy and the ways low literacy impedes access to care and understanding of health information. It is because of my work in that field that I always view everything through the lens of literacy: Issues of accessibility, readability, clarity, and cultural competence must - in my view - be a consideration in any initiative.
ADVOCATE & LEADER
The health literacy literature is also where I learned of Reach Out and Read, the pediatric literacy intervention that takes place during well child visits. I found the connection between health care service delivery, parental literacy, access to resources, and infant development to be so compelling that I subsequently partnered with a local pediatrician and co-founded our state’s Reach Out and Read coalition. What began in 2002 with one clinic has grown to 41, and we have distributed 500,000+ books.
In my 15 years of leading Reach Out and Read I have acquired in-depth knowledge of child development and language acquisition, and now provide consultation and training at the local, state and national level.
This breadth of knowledge, along with my research background with parents, experience in public health, training in teaching adults, and expertise in health literacy has provided me with a unique perspective on what we need to be doing with parents and caregivers if we are to close the Word Gap.
Words To Grow On, LLC is the result of my understanding of how a parent’s resources, health literacy levels, life skills, and community connections affect their ability to meet their child’s needs, along with the recognition that interventions must recognize and celebrate parents' strengths, be accessible, easy to use, low cost, and ultimately grounded in their social networks (or help them create a supportive group) in order to be a motivational driver that increases engagement and understanding. In addition, creation of this programming needs to include participants themselves, their voices, and experiences.
Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)
I have created a local advisory board that represents home visiting, adult literacy, experts in early childhood, consultants and customers. I am planning on creating a national panel of experts as well. I am actively creating partnerships with nonprofits, community action agencies, children's advocates, hospitals, health departments, public housing, economic development agencies, & adult literacy/GED programs to promote our programming and disseminate our free, evidence-informed app & enroll new parents into it. The bottom line: we all need to work together!
As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)
I am interested in receiving help making connections with key leaders in the field for the purpose of receiving endorsements, building a strong national advisory board of experts, & for establishing MOUs with organizations willing to help enroll parents into the Time2Talk2Baby app. I am also interested in establishing partnerships with economic organizations and other community agencies & groups that can refer & sponsor candidates who apply to become community-based reps (small loans of $60 - $75 to purchase the sales kit), & who can advocate for & assist in the creation of matched-savings IDAs that would help low income reps meet financial goals, and become more financially literate.
Would you like mentoring support?
If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)
See above regarding partners and expertise needed.
Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?
Yes, share my contact information
[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).
[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you prototyped.
We have recently applied to be part of the University of Chicago's Collaboration for Impact Education (CFI) which would provide funding to carry out a series of randomized controlled trials to test for effectiveness of the party program.
Mentorship: How was your idea supported? (5000 characters)
I was thrilled to be assigned to Jake because of the business experience he had. My mindset is typically as an academic, & getting to the core of our business in a brief, encompassing pitch has been hard. He was enormously helpful in this.
As a result, I did make changes in the pitch. I also make big changes in the submission content here on Open IDEO. I separated out the various products we have, because they are each unique. In doing so it stresses the value of each better than addressing them in one entity.
Jake & I have not yet addressed possible opportunities going forward, but I would love to stay in touch and continue to use his expertise. Perhaps he would even agree to serve on the national advisory board I plan to create!