GOLD2023

Bottom Line Inc

Get In, Graduate, Go Far

aka Bottom Line   |   Jamaica Plain, MA   |  https://www.bottomline.org/

Mission

Bottom Line partners with degree-aspiring students of color from under-resourced communities to get into and through college and successfully launch a career. Our vision is to create a far-reaching ripple effect, launched by the transformative power of a college degree and a mobilizing first career, that will uplift individuals, families, and entire communities. We expect our students to earn a bachelor’s degree, accumulate no more than $31,000 in debt, and be employed or continuing their education 6 months after graduation. On average, our students begin their careers earning double the amount of their families' income.

Ruling year info

1997

CEO

Mr. Steve Colón

Main address

500 Amory Street Ste. 3

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Dave Borgal

EIN

04-3351427

NTEE code info

Student Services and Organizations (B80)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

A college degree is a key engine of social mobility. Bottom Line serves the students who most need assistance to realize a college degree: those from low-income backgrounds who are in the first generation of their family to go to college. Our students have the desire and potential to earn a degree, but lack the support structures necessary to navigate the college application process and persist through graduation. The odds for students from low-income backgrounds earning a college degree, establishing a meaningful career, and gaining economic security are disturbingly low. While access to a college education has increased slightly over the last few years, actual college completion rates have not. As a result, students remain unable to realize their potential as young adults, and our workforce remains without enough diverse talent equipped with both soft and industry-specific skills.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

College Access Program

Students begin working with Bottom Line during their junior or senior year of high school. At first meetings, students discuss their interests, aspirations, academic history, and family circumstances with a Bottom Line counselor. Once students commit to our program, counselors help them navigate every step of the college application process. While the specific services Bottom Line provides differ to suit individual needs, our counselors typically help students in five areas: college lists, essays, applications, financial aid, and making a college choice. Counselors build a strong relationship with each student during regularly scheduled one-hour meetings, which allows them to support students through any obstacles that arise during the application process. When college acceptance and financial aid award letters arrive in the spring, Bottom Line helps each student review their options to select a college that best suits their academic, financial, and personal needs.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups

After college decisions are made, students who elect to attend a ""target school"" are invited to join the College Success Program. A target school is one of 54 colleges in MA, NY and IL that a large percentage of our students attend. As a first step to succeeding in college, students participate in transitional programming during the summer before their freshman year. Counselors work with students in groups and individually to prepare them for the academic rigor and cultural shock of college. This programming includes several workshops and events, as well as enrollment assistance, financial aid advising, and general problem solving during individual meetings. Once students arrive on campus, Bottom Line becomes a financial aid advocate, academic advisor, career counselor, and mentor. We offer consistent support to students in four areas: Degree, Employability, Aid, and Life (DEAL). Assisting our students in earning a degree means helping them select a suitable major, monitor their academic progress, develop strategies to improve their performance, and connect with tutors, advisors, and on-campus resources. We assist students in renewing financial aid annually, but also help year-round to resolve problems with tuition bills, determine how to pay balances, and encourage appropriate decisions that will allow students to avoid excessive debt. Additionally, Bottom Line helps students secure internships and part-time jobs, create and update their resumes, and build a unique brand that will allow them to leave college employable. Lastly, Bottom Line offers parent-like guidance and mentoring. The strong relationships counselors maintain with students enable our organization to offer consistent support and help students through unexpected obstacles, such as illness, pregnancy, debt, a death in the family, academic probation, or transferring to another college. This comprehensive support is provided for up to six years or until a student graduates.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Awards

College Access Organization Award of Excellence 2010

National College Access Network

Innovation Award: College Success Program 2011

College Board

USA Funds Trustees' National Award for College Success 2011

USA Funds

Innovation Award: College Access Program 2012

College Board

The Pesonalized Learning Award of Excellence 2015

College Board

Affiliations & memberships

National College Access Network 2007

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Percentage of students who earn a college degree in six years or less.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

College Success Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This represents the % of students who completed their college degree in a given year in 6 years or less.

Percentage of students who enroll in a 4 year college in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

College Access Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This represents the % of high school graduates in Bottom Line's College Access program who enrolled in college the semester following HS graduation.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

As one of the first college support organizations to focus on completion, Bottom Line now produces best-in-class graduation rates that eliminate the significant gap between low-income students and their wealthier peers. We operate regional programs in Massachusetts, New York City, and Chicago that collectively serve almost 7,000 students. We plan to open two new sites in major urban areas and almost double our footprint to 11,000 students by 2020.

Bottom Line is on track to serve 11,000 low-income, first-generation college students annually by 2020. We aim to help them earn their degrees while providing them with the tools they need to enter the workforce career-ready. With our strong experience and results in college completion, we are now positioned to become an early leader in career-readiness upon graduation.

Our ultimate goal is for 80% of our students to graduate from college in 6 years or less prepared for a career.
The following annual goals inform our progress towards this long-term goal:
• 100% of our high school students (in the Access Program) to be accepted into at least one 4-year college.
• 95% of our first year college students persist and return for a 2nd year of college.
• 75% of our recent college graduates are employed in a full-time job or in graduate school within 90 days of graduating college.

In 2015, Bottom Line formed a National office to provide strategic leadership of the organization, lead program development and evaluation, provide functional training and professional development to all our staff members, and centralize support services to regions in the areas of finance, human resources and technology/operations. The National Team also leads our growth efforts and thought-leadership work. Regional Executive Directors report into National leadership and are responsible for the local implementation of our program model, fundraising, and community engagement. We employ over 150 staff and we are governed by a National Board of Directors, comprised of 12 volunteers from diverse backgrounds and professions that also includes 3 representatives, 1 from each of our regions.
During 2015 we produced a new 5-year Strategic Plan which included a reconfirmation of our Mission. As the organization had grown and the landscape shifted over the past ten years, we realized it was important to re-evaluate and confirm our objectives and goals. We produced five Strategic Priorities to shape and guide our activities and inform our decision making for the next five years. While there are many initiatives that we will undertake to achieve these objectives, the key priorities are as follows:
 Bottom Line will be the leader in college access, college success and career readiness in all markets in which it operates
 Bottom Line will explore adaptations to its model in order to have a broader impact in each city where it works
 Bottom Line will grow sustainably by developing long-term funding plans with diverse revenue options for regional sites and the National office.
 Bottom Line will expand to new markets
 Bottom Line will build upon its status as a national thought leader on college access, college success and workforce development.

Since our founding in 1997 over 78% of our students have graduated college, more than double the national average for low-income students. Bottom Line provides industry-leading college support and guidance to low-income and first-generation college students by implementing a relationship-based one-on-one advising model. Our counselors are trained, experienced adults, who ensure that their students always have an advocate and mentor to help them succeed. In our Access program, our counselors work closely with high school seniors to identify suitable colleges based their interests, their academic ability, and affordability. Then we work with them to complete compelling applications and apply for financial aid. In our College Success Program, our counselors work with students to reach important milestones across the four key areas that are most likely to lead to college success: Degree, Employability, Aid, and Life.
Despite our recent growth, we've maintained an effective model through central and consistent leadership. With regional offices in three of the country's largest cities and plans to expand to two new cities over the next three years, our vision is to continue transforming urban communities by cultivating thousands of career-ready college graduates. As our regional teams grow, we are also expanding the size and scope of our National team to provide the necessary support. Through our continued investment in the training and support of our counselors and the use of data to assess, innovate, and refine our program model, Bottom Line will help first-generation students break their cycle-of-poverty and build a talent pipeline that will allow communities in cities to thrive.

In May 2015, we celebrated our 1,000th Bottom Line college graduate. In July 2017, we celebrated our 20th anniversary. Soon we will celebrate our 2,000th college graduate. Despite our rapid growth, our level of service is improving as we are approaching our long-term goal of achieving an 80% graduation rate (81% of our most recent class of college graduates earned their degree in 6 years or less). Like all growing organizations, we face challenges as we scale our programs. We will continue to focus on preserving our work culture and programmatic knowledge as we expand by investing in leadership training and talent development. We realize that we must cultivate our future leaders from within. Philanthropically, we are working to diversify our funding base by strengthening the connection between our program outcomes (student success) and local corporate needs, as Bottom Line college graduates will be the diverse, college educated workforce for tomorrow. Additionally, we are exploring earned income solutions to further bolster our sustainability. To strengthen our brand and work as a community-partner we are increasing our role as a national Thought-Leader. We have begun to align our social media activity across our regions to raise awareness and the organizations' profile in each of our communities. And we have started to publish the results of our RCT Evaluation, which can impact similar programs throughout the country and serve to influence public policy.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Bottom Line Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Bottom Line Inc

Board of directors
as of 04/03/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Auditi Chakravarty

College Board

Term: 2025 - 2022

Kevin Connolly

Senior VP, State Street Corporation

Bob Ballard

CEO, Scholarship America

Paul Busby

VP, WalMart, retired

Patti Saris

Judge, Federal District Court

Michel Paul

Johnson&Johnson, Retired

Barbara Thomas

EVP, Southeast Bank

Brad Couri

Managing Principal, CFI Partners

Mike Volo

Sr. Partner, Cammack Retirement Group

John Bachman

Partner, PwC, retired

Harold Wilde

University President, Retired

Paul Garcia

Executive Counsel, GE

Louisa Holland

Co-CEO, Sudler & Hennessey

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/17/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/17/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.