FIREWALL CENTERS INC

Now they have a chance.

aka Firewall Centers   |   Davie, FL   |  http://firewallcenters.org/

Mission

Firewall Centers provides daily, after-school tutoring and mentoring services designed to help high-risk students achieve academic success, build character, and transform into servant leaders.

Ruling year info

2003

Executive Director

Andy Fernandez

Main address

P.O. Box 551407

Davie, FL 33355 USA

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EIN

06-1704451

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The program seeks to address two problems. The first is related to the negative effects that residing in impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhoods has on students and their families. Students that come from low-income, minority families are at a higher risk of involvement with crime, drugs, alcohol, and sex.
Students that reside in these disadvantaged areas also have an increased risk for dropping out of school, leading us to the second problem addressed by FWC: the low academic performance rates among low-income students. Only 70.7% of Broward's low-income students are graduating from high school (Broward Schools). Statistics show that low-income students fail to graduate at 5 times the rate of middle-income families and 6 times that of higher-income youth (NCES). Often, low-income students do not receive academic or goal-setting assistance at home because their parents never graduated from high school, may not speak the language, or are underemployed.

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?

Mentoring

Our goal at Firewall Centers is to walk through life with students. We seek to provide them with trained mentors who will be an encouragement and strong support in their lives. Each mentor works with the young person to build a special relationship that will in turn become the foundation for success in his/her life.

Population(s) Served

In order to effectively assist our students with homework and/or other subject areas that they may be struggling with, we partner with the schools, teachers, and parents to provide a cooperative effort that better helps the students reach their academic potential. We work with the students on a daily basis as if they were our own children, assuring that we monitor their progress and motivate them to excel in everything that they do.

Population(s) Served

At Firewall Centers, we take seriously our role as mentors to all the students that we serve. With this in mind, we seek to develop the leadership potential inherent in the life of every student.
Some of the systems that we have developed to accomplish this goal are: 1) A fully integrated curriculum that empowers students to handle real life situations 2) A point-based reward system teaches personal responsibility and to delay gratification 3) Daily service responsibilities teach students the importance of giving back and community service.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Number of students enrolled

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

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is tracked by the number of students enrolled in the program throughout the academic year, as recorded in the organization’s custom database and attendance logs

Number of students showing improvement in test scores

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

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Students will show improved academic performance in literacy. Our goal is for 80% of students to improve assessment scores from pre-test to post-test.

Number of students at or above a 90% attendance rate

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

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is measured through school attendance. Students will not exceed 5 absences in a quarter or 20 absences during the school year (per Broward School standards)

Number of student suspensions

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

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

Our goal is that 95% of students will not receive internal or external suspensions from school. We exceeded it, as 98% of students did not.

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.

Firewall Centers' vision is to transform at-risk students into servant leaders. The agency accomplishes this goal by providing students with the academic and social support they need to transition out of poverty and toward life success. Firewall Centers provides free after-school tutoring, mentoring, and leadership development services to over 500 at-risk middle and high school students at Broward County Public Schools. Currently, over 90% of Firewall students qualify for free/reduced lunch and come from minority families. Furthermore, students reside in zip codes where 50% or more of the population is classified as “very low income" (2010 US Census).

In the next three years, Firewall Centers intends to expand its services to reach 1,000 students across South Florida. The agency's ultimate goal for intended impact is to walk through life with every student that enters the Program, starting in their middle school years and continuing to do so throughout their high school years and as they transition to post-secondary education and/or career. Firewall Centers' staff wants to see that every student graduates and gains the confidence they need to pursue their dreams and reach their greatest potential.

Firewall Centers' long-term goals will be accomplished through the agency's holistic approach to after-school programming that provides each student with the support structure they need to succeed and ultimately become servant leaders who give back and transform their own communities. Through Firewall's essential services, students are given practical academic help, taught life skills, and provided with accountability and encouragement. Specifically, students receive the following targeted services at Firewall Centers:

Academic-
•Daily subject-specific tutoring and homework help
•Online grade-checking through Broward County School's Pinnacle System
•Individualized Success Plans that personalize each student's academic track from middle school through high school graduation
•Standardized test and college/career preparation (i.e. FCAT, EOC, SAT, ACT, etc.)

Character & Leadership Development-
•Life skills taught by businesspeople, community leaders, bankers, and other professionals who visit Firewall's Centers on a quarterly basis
•Point-based incentive system that rewards students for positive academic and behavioral performance as well as teaches them to save and delay gratification
•Integrated curriculum that instills character values and leadership skills
•Community service is expected from all students as “Keep Giving Back" is one of Firewall's core principles – not only daily at sites, but at events such as the Serve-A-Thon
•Internship opportunities for Firewall's high school juniors and seniors and eventually the opportunity to become Mentor staff who tutor their own group of students
•Scholarship opportunities through Firewall's incentive system

Long-term Relationships & Mentoring-
•Consistent presence and safe environment as Centers are operated within schools
•Mentoring from sixth grade through high school graduation
•10:1 student-to-staff ratio
•Mentoring staff are college students who connect to youth in ways that others cannot
•Partnerships and daily communication with parents, teachers, and school staff
•Parent engagement through mandatory workshops and trainings

These activities combined help students develop the mindset and decision-making skills they need to break the cycle of poverty and reach their greatest potential.

At Firewall Centers, there are a great many internal resources as well as external strengths that enable the agency to accomplish its goals. Currently, its executive leadership team consists of nine individuals that are experienced in many of the areas needed for organizational success including: business, education, dropout prevention, marketing, fundraising, graphic design, events planning, and more. Additionally, Center staff that work directly with students each day are college students or graduates that have a passion for the vision of Firewall Centers.

Over the years, Firewall Centers has established partnerships with local municipalities, schools, community organizations, and corporations. The agency recognizes that by maintaining funding from a wide variety of existing sources, including foundations (Community Foundation of Broward, Jim Moran Foundation, Forman Family Foundation, etc.), quasi-governmental organizations (Town of Davie, Children's Services Council, etc.), major corporations (AT&T, Wal-Mart, etc.) and by increasing its effective grant-writing and fundraising practices, it will continue to accomplish its goals and strengthen its work to low-income students in the community. Just in the last five years, Firewall Centers has expanded from one center reaching 40 students to eight centers impacting 400 students on a daily basis for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year. This rapid growth has come as donors have recognized the effectiveness of the Firewall Centers model in producing measurable results in students and have decided that its expansion is a wise investment. Firewall Centers recently hired new development staff that will assist in the fundraising process and will also continue to host Firewall Experience Tours, its annual Student-to-Leader Luncheon, and other special events. Furthermore, Firewall will seek additional funds from foundations, corporations, and individuals and grow membership in its multi-year giving society and raise additional support from committed donors that have made cash contributions in the past. Additionally, the organization will continue to actively encourage in-kind giving from parents, volunteers, and businesses. This will help to minimize the actual costs in areas such as food, student incentives, maintenance, consumables, and cleaning supplies.

The following performance data was produced upon the completion of the most recent academic year: 1) Attendance: 96% of students received at least 100 hours of tutoring, mentoring, and character development services over the course of the school year. 2) Behavior: 97% of students did not receive any out-of-school suspensions. 3) Course Performance: 92% of students maintained and/or improved their GPA in core academic courses throughout the school year and 100% of students were promoted to the next grade level. Firewall Centers has found that using the above student outcomes best evaluates the impact of the program.

Potential risks to Firewall Centers' success are lack of attendance among participants, lack of available funds to support the demand, and increased needs of participants. The slow economic recovery within the poor neighborhoods served by the agency means an increased pressure of students to forego college and work to provide for their family's needs. However, Firewall Centers' strategy to overcome these risks is to consistently increase its ability to serve additional students through effective fundraising activities. The agency also deals directly with the challenge of students' needing to work by helping them understand the longer term value of staying in school and obtaining their education.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • 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,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

FIREWALL CENTERS 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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  • 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.

FIREWALL CENTERS INC

Board of directors
as of 2/6/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Andy Fernandez

Firewall Centers

Andy Fernandez

Firewall Centers

Giselle Bayona

Stonegate Bank

William Marks

Northern Trust Bank

Todd Templin

Boardroom Communications

Shane Smith

TD Bank

Giovanni Moss

Town of Davie

Thomas Lunak

Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale

Guy Brickman

State Farm

JoAnne Daudt

JoAnne Larson Daudt, P.A.

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 02/06/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data