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Nam Ngo & Rainier Scholars

Posted by seattle

This fall a young man boarded a plane bound for Massachusetts.  With a full scholarship to Williams, he will be the first in his family to graduate from college.

Nam Ngo is a Rainier Scholar, and he is among the first cohort of scholars now attending schools here, and across the nation.

In 2002, Rainier Scholars was in their first year as an SVP Investee.  At that same time, 12-year old Nam met his 76-student cohort, the first for Rainier Scholars.  Six years later, Nam is at Williams, Jaimie Li is at Dartmouth, Anthony Greene is at Occidental…the list goes on, and Rainier Scholars has grown to include 350 students of color.

SVP’s formal relationship with Rainier Scholars ended in 2007, but when we returned in 2009 to interview their staff, we found that the systems and connections have lived on.

Partner David Habib still helps maintain the database that he developed with fellow Partner John Fine, and Rainier Scholars has built upon the evaluation and assessment tools developed during their partnership with SVP.  SVP Partners have also stayed connected, becoming major donors, joining the Resource Council, and helping Rainier Scholars build a strong network of donors and community advocates.

“Emily Anthony has become one of our real champions in the community,” says Sarah Smith, associate director of Rainier Scholars.  Emily served as one of Rainier Scholars’ Lead Partners, and is still an active volunteer and donor.

“We talk a lot about our students believing the possibility of great things,” continues Sarah “and I feel like SVP really bought into the vision of what we were trying to develop.”

In Their Words: SVP Impact

By Calvin Lyons, Executive Director (2005-2009) & Mary Bristow, Development Director

In June 2006, we reflected on the start of our last year of funding with SVP and the impact this five year relationship has had on our young organization. We shared quotes from staff and Board members who have been with RS since the beginning. The common threads from all the feedback focused on three primary areas of impact – building organizational credibility, supporting the development of infrastructure and systems, and helping to define program measurements and outcomes to effectively communicate to potential funders and donors.

During this past year as we reflect on a most significant change, we continue to highlight the program measurements. As we grow and develop and implement new program phases and components, the foundation of asking “how do we measure our success” is critical.

Since our mission is to support college graduation and we have yet to send any of our students to college, it has been important to articulate the milestones and the benchmarks that indicate we will be successful in fulfilling our mission. As we grow and develop, we are creating new measurements, designing effective evaluation measures, and refining the systems of analyzing the data we have to make programmatic adjustments. This approach has been nurtured by SVP and it has served us well.

During this past year, SVP volunteer David Habib worked with key staff on updates to the Student data base which is the life blood of our tracking systems and program measurement outcomes.

We were able to refine reporting strategies and create further controls and systems for utilizing the information. Through discussion and requests, new reports were created to assist in measuring the efficacy of specific program phases.

Additional work with ORS led to increased opportunities to identify new ways to measure and evaluate the positive impact of the eleven year program cycle.

We believe our ability to demonstrate skill development and academic success, combined with effective communication regarding educational access issues creates a compelling case for support from both community leaders and donors. Our inaugural fundraising event solidified this belief as we were blessed with overwhelming support.

Read more in the Rainier Scholars Case Study…

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