It's wild to think we're opening our fourth cycle in January 2018. When we first kicked around the idea of the JMB Award, we practiced controlled enthusiasm. We were uncertain how far our idea would take us and how far we could take our idea.
In the past three years, we've gone from supporting one student each cycle to supporting four. We've added a travel stipend, financial capability building, prep test support—and so much more. Now, looking into 2018, we're revving up! We're crafting a three-year report so we can share our growth, achievements and impact in the categories below. For now, here's a glimpse at what we're working on.
- Seeking fiscal sponsorship. We're in the process of securing an agreement to operate under CultureWorks' nonprofit umbrella. That'll allow us to share their exempt status with donors and seek institutional support as well. Through this agreement, JMB Award also retains CultureWorks' HR staff support, marketing and fundraising expertise, legal tools, and insurance. We'll be informed of their decision in January.
- Planning a strategic retreat. We realize we need concentrated time to discuss and refine our mission and vision. We'll hold a strategic retreat in 2018 to examine our impact to date and to map our desired impact for the next three to five years.
- Recruiting a diverse, talented group of mentors. In anticipation of granting awards to more students in 2018, we've filled out our mentor slate and recruited mentors from diverse personal and professional backgrounds. These women come from within education, the arts, and journalism.
- Providing necessary training. In mid-November, we held training to further develop the skills of our current mentors. The focus was on building trust quickly, mentoring across long distances, recognizing our value, and preparing our mentees for summer work and internships. In March, we'll hold onboarding training for our new mentors to acquaint them with our mission and our approach.
- Applying for technical assistance. The National Mentoring Resource Center provides technical assistance to youth mentorship programs. JMB Award is seeking their support to help us further improve and expand our training, matching, and evaluating efforts. We'll be informed of their decision soon.
- Hosting a winter dinner. We're hosting a winter dinner for recipients and their mentors in early 2018. These events give us the opportunity to catch up, share stories, network, and celebrate. At this particular event, we'll return the "notes to self" recipients wrote at our summer event and see how their words of self-encouragement speak to them now.
- Identifying our community. Through our network we've been able to offer informational interviews, provide employment, help restore medical insurance coverage, and get a leg-up on a coveted internship. For 2018, we plan on creating a process for more systematically identifying our community and the ways they can support our recipients.