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Strategies for Children, Inc. Organization Name provided in the GuideStar Exchange* as of 09/17/2014: Strategies for Children, Inc.

Organization Name as listed in the IRS Business Master File as of 09/08/2014: STRATEGIES FOR CHILDREN INC

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Boston, MA
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GuideStar Summary

&1002;                GuideStar Exchange Committed to transparency ?
This organization is a Silver-level GuideStar Exchange participant, demonstrating its commitment to transparency.

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&1002; Registered with IRS Legitimacy information is available
&1002; Evidence of Impact Expert Reviews available
&1002; Financial Data Annual Revenue and Expense data reported
&1002; Forms 990 2013, 2012, and 2011 Forms 990 filed with the IRS
&1002; Mission Objectives Mission Statement is available
&1002; Impact Summary Impact Summary from the nonprofit is available
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Basic Organization Information

Strategies for Children, Inc. Organization Name provided in the GuideStar Exchange* as of 09/17/2014: Strategies for Children, Inc.

Organization Name as listed in the IRS Business Master File as of 09/08/2014: STRATEGIES FOR CHILDREN INC

* The GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to regularly update key information directly to GuideStar. It provides richer and broader information about their programs, impact, finances, people and more.
Physical Address: Boston, MA 02110 
EIN: 04-3551406
Web URL: www.strategiesforchildren.org 
NTEE Category: B Educational Institutions
B21 Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions
O Youth Development
O01 Alliance/Advocacy Organizations
Ruling Year: 2001 


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Mission Statement

Strategies for Children, Inc. (SFC) is a non-profit that is spearheading a statewide campaign to ensure that Massachusetts 750,000 children under age 10 have access to high-quality early education and become proficient readers by the end of third grade. SFC partners with communities to ensure that research, policy and practice are aligned to benefit children; promotes evidence-based policies; advocates for and monitors effective allocation of public and private resources; raises public awareness, develops champions for children, and helps inform the national campaign for early learning and literacy.

Legitimacy Information

This organization is registered with the IRS.

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Annual Revenue & Expenses (GuideStar Exchange,
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September 2014)

Fiscal Year Starting: July 01, 2011
Fiscal Year Ending: June 30, 2012

Total Revenue --
Total Expenses --

Revenue & Expenses

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Balance Sheet (IRS Form 990)

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Forms 990 Received from the IRS Additional Information
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Forms 990 Provided by the Nonprofit

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Annual Reports

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Leadership (GuideStar Exchange,
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September 2014)

Ms. Carolyn Lyons

Term:

Since Sept 2012

Profile:

As president and chief executive officer, Carolyn Lyons is responsible for the overall strategic leadership and management of Strategies for Children, an independent nonprofit organization that works to ensure that children in Massachusetts have access to high-quality early education and become proficient readers by the end of third grade. Carolyn joined Strategies for Children as chief operating officer in 2002 after a successful career in business that included serving as vice president of Pearson Education's Learning Network and director of international programming at Continental Cablevision/MediaOne. She earned an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia and graduated magna cum laude from Saint Joseph's University. Carolyn was a member of the SFC leadership team that shepherded the creation of the nation's first Department of Early Education and Care, which streamlined governance by consolidating Massachusetts' early education and child care agencies into a single department. SFC also led successful efforts to establish the Universal Pre-Kindergarten grant program and statute and to create the nation's first state-funded scholarship for early educators. In addition, SFC's advocacy has helped propel substantial growth in the percentage of kindergartners attending full-day programs - from 29% in fiscal year 2000 to 83% in 2012. Massachusetts' successful application for a $50 million federal Race to the Top -- Early Learning Challenge grant in 2011 provided validation of SFC's impact as reviewers cited a number of policies for which SFC advocated. In 2010, SFC commissioned ""Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success"" from Nonie Lesaux, Ph.D., a nationally known expert in literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The report provides the blueprint for the organization's campaign to improve third grade outcomes in Massachusetts by focusing on research-based strategies that promote the language and literacy development of children from birth to age 9. Its recommendations inform An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency and SFC's on-the-ground work to promote best practices in communities across the state. Carolyn has also worked as vice president of EF Cultural Travel in the Netherlands, a consultant with the Continental Consulting Group in Boston, and marketing manager for E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company in Delaware. She serves on the board of the Milton Early Childhood Alliance and Mil Milagros and has chaired the board of the Hattie B. Cooper Community Center in Boston.

Leadership Statement:

After serving as a decade as SFC's COO, I became President and CEO in September 2012. Under my leadership we are evolving from an organization focused on public policies benefiting children from birth to five to a more comprehensive set of strategies benefiting children from birth through age nine. This is a major shift for an organization that has spent the past ten years building a foundation at the state level for a system of high-quality early education and care. The time is right: the policy infrastructure is in place. All that is needed is funding. Where the gap remains, however, is in the intersection of research, policy and practice. We have a tremendous opportunity to serve as a bridge between policies being promulgated at the state level, the efforts of hundreds of thousands of educators working with children in communities across the state, and research that tells us what works and what doesn't. Too often this bridge does not exist, and, as we have seen, despite the efforts of many we have made no progress on a critical predictor of children's success: the ability to read well by third grade. While MA leads the nation on many key educational benchmarks, we continue to have persistent, stubborn achievement gaps. Too many of our children show up for kindergarten behind and they never catch up. Our work is guided by the recommendations from Turning the page and the voices of policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and parents. With respect, credibility, and capacity developed over the past decade, SFC has a tremendous opportunity to apply our strengths to some of the most vexing issues on the education agenda: Why, despite the research on the effectiveness of high-quality early education, have we not yet made the investments needed to ensure that all children have access to its benefits? Why have we not moved the needle on third grade reading? The fact that SFC comes to its reading campaign from early education is a great advantage. Knowing that the path to literacy begins at birth and includes high-quality early education, we think first of building assets rather than remediating deficits. Our work with communities is focused on knocking down walls; on bringing together voices from different sectors, all united in their passion for doing what is best for children; and on realizing that learning begins at birth. We can no longer view children from multiple sectors: child care, housing, education, health. These are our children, and it is our collective responsibility to nurture them and ensure they have the chance they deserve to be successful. That is our work. Moving from business to the policy world, I am struck by how difficult it is and how important for creating lasting outcomes. Of the hundreds of bills referred to the Legislature's education committee this past legislative session, only a handful were enacted. An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency was among them. We are an intermediary organization with the opportunity to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. Our early decision to accept no public dollars gives us critical independence and credibility. It also creates a fundraising challenge, exacerbated by the fact that philanthropies are deciding to cease funding early education policy. I am excited about this work, and I invite you to join us.

Board Chair (GuideStar Exchange,
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September 2014)

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Board Co-Chair

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September 2014)

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Board Leadership Practices (GuideStar Exchange,
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September 2014)
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Board Orientation & Education ?
Why does this matter? Without clarity around their responsibilities and expectations, board members are not positioned to succeed. They may find themselves challenged to fulfill their governance responsibilities or frustrated by the expectations that the organization has set for them. BoardSource recommends that every new board member participate in a formal orientation process, and that all board members sign a pledge or agreement committing to their board service and to all of the responsibilities and expectations that come with service. Ideally, board members also should participate in a formal governance training program prior to serving on a board.

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?
Response Not Provided
CEO Oversight ?
Why does this matter? Oversight and management of the chief executive is one of the board’s most important legal responsibilities. The CEO or executive director is the board's single employee, and - just like any other employer/employee relationship - regular and written assessment is critical to ensuring that the chief executive and board are communicating openly about goals and performance. BoardSource recommends that boards conduct formal, written reviews of their chief executives on an annual basis, which should include an in-person discussion with the chief executive and distribution of the written evaluation to the full board.

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Response Not Provided
Ethics & Transparency ?
Why does this matter? A commitment to handling conflicts of interests is essential to creating an organizational culture of transparency. Boards should create and follow a policy for identifying and handling conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived. BoardSource recommends that organizations review the conflict-of-interest statement and require signed disclosures from all board members and senior staff on an annual basis.

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements within the past year?
Response Not Provided
Board Composition ?
Why does this matter? The best boards are composed of individuals who bring a variety of skills, perspectives, backgrounds, and resources to tackle the complex and strategic challenges confronting their organizations. BoardSource recommends that boards commit to diversity and inclusion by establishing written policies and practices, which include strategic and intentional recruitment of diverse board members, continual commitment to inclusivity, and equal access to board leadership opportunities.

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Response Not Provided
Board Performance ?
Why does this matter? Boards need to regularly assess their own performance. Doing so ensures that they are being intentional about how they govern their organization, which is a critical component of effective board leadership. BoardSource recommends that a board conduct a self-assessment of its performance a minimum of once every three years to ensure that it is staying on track with its roles and responsibilities.

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?
Response Not Provided

Officers for Fiscal Year (IRS Form 990)

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People information was last updated by the nonprofit in September 2014

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Programs

Program: Early Education for All Campaign (GuideStar Exchange,
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September 2014)

Budget:
$600,000
Category:
Education, General/Other
Population Served:
Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Program Description:

The pioneering Early Education for All Campaign is a statewide coalition of leaders from diverse sectors - business, education, early childhood, labor, health care, philanthropy, religion - that works with parents, grassroots leaders and policymakers to ensure that Massachusetts children have access to high-quality early education. Its successes include creation of the nation's first Department of Early Education and Care and establishment of the Early Childhood Educators Scholarship.

Program Long-Term Success:

Unanimous passage and enactment of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care in 2008, which formally establishes UPK in state law.

Program Short-Term Success:

Increased investment in high-quality early education in the FY14 state budget.

Program Success Monitored by:

We have developed a robust internal evaluation/tracking system that allows us to monitor both our policy outcomes and the strategies and tactics we use to achieve them.

Program Success Examples:

Public early education investments totalling $281 million

Program: Leading the Conversation: Turning the Page. (GuideStar Exchange,
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September 2014)

Budget:
$50,000
Category:
Education, General/Other
Population Served:
Adults

Program Description:

Leading the Conversation is one prong of SFC's two-pronged best practices initiative. It is a series of events designed to help leaders and practitioners serving children from birth to age 9 implement the recommendations in ""Turning the Page."" Each Leading the Conversation event features experts summarizing research and offering examples of best practices. Resources permitting, Leading the Conversation will also include webinars and other means to disseminate the information to a broad audience. Judging by the response to the first event (on family engagement), which quickly attracted so much interest SFC moved it to a bigger venue, there is a hunger for this information. The series is designed to complement the statewide policy work that resulted in An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency, which Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law in September 2012 and which is also informed by ""Turning the Page.""

Program Long-Term Success:

It is our hope that as a result of these events and other dissemination strategies we pursue (once we are able to secure additional funding), there will be significant awareness and utilization of the KEY strategies that research demonstrates have the most impact on children's language and literacy acquisition.....ultimately resulting in more children reading proficiently by the end of third grade. This is a stubborn problem which has not been solved over the course of a decade, in Massachusetts or elsewhere.

Program Short-Term Success:

Significant attendance at each of five events we are holding across the state; an qualitative evidence of the impact of the events. Each event delves into a specific recommendation from Turning the Page.

Program Success Monitored by:

we have developed a robust internal tracking system for these events. We monitor key metrics such as attendance, and survey participants both before the event (to understand key issues they would like to see covered) and after (for both feedback on the event itself as well as specific ideas on using the learnings gleaned from the event in their own personal literacy practice.

Program Success Examples:

We held our first event, on family engagement, in November. We originally had planned to host the event at the Boston Foundation, but quickly scrambled to find a new venue when the save the date alone resulted in 80 RSVPS (the boston foundation's room capacity was 80.) We wound up having over 150 very enthusiastic people attend the event at the new location. Approximately half of the participants filled out the evaluation form with very good suggestions re. event improvement and ideas on how they will utilize the learnings.
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Impact Summary from the Nonprofit

After a decade spent laying the foundation for a statewide system of high-quality early education, SFC launched our 10-year campaign to improve reading proficiency in 2010 with the release of ""Turning the Page: Refocusing MA for Reading Success,"" (TtP) which the Boston Foundation helped fund. SFC commissioned the groundbreaking report from a Harvard literacy expert to address a stubborn problem. Research identifies third grade reading as a critical benchmark, but 39% of MA third graders - and 66% in Boston - read below grade level. Among low-income children, 60% are not proficient. Performance is virtually unchanged since 2001. SFC is using the report's framework to guide its reading proficiency campaign at the state and local levels. Our efforts have paid off. In January, Governor Patrick included an unprecedented $131 million in new early education investments in his FY14 budget proposal, using third grade reading proficiency as a frame. Other highlights include: - SFC launched the MA Reading Proficiency Learning network. SFC is partnering with five communities - including Boston - to go deeper and to improve children's ability to read proficiently; - SFC launched Leading the conversation, a statewide series of events which delve deeper into the recommendations from TtP; - Governor Patrick signed an Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency into law. We worked with the legislature to file the legislation, which was informed by TtP. The law positions early learning in the highest levels of state government; - The state was awarded a $50 million federal Early Learning Challenge grant. The grant was a validation of our work laying the foundation for a system of high-quality early education. SFC's 2013 goals are to leverage the governor's proposal to increase investment; to continue developing our ambitious reading proficiency campaign; and to further build our organizational capacity to support the work.

Expert Reviews and Comments

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Evidence of Impact

There are no summaries available for this organization.

This is the organization that led the fight for health care for all Massachusetts' children. This is a smart, effective advocacy organization that gets things done. Nonprofit Senior Staff

Organizational Strengths

There are no summaries available for this organization.

Once again, the leadership is strong and in this organization they have leadership at all levels-- so there are many good leaders on a small staff. I was particularly impressed that they recently changed their strategy based on the fact that they hadn't made much progress with their old strategy. Nonprofit Senior Staff

Areas for Improvement

There are no summaries available for this organization.

They need more funding. Nonprofit Senior Staff
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