GOLD2023

Strong Women, Strong Girls, Inc.

aka SWSG   |   Boston, MA   |  www.swsg.org

Mission

Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG)’s mission is that every girl sees a path to success SWSG leverages the power of multi-generational mentoring relationships through experiential and strengths-based programming, empowering women and girls to realize their potential.

Ruling year info

2005

CEO

Natalie Martinez

Main address

89 South Street LL02

Boston, MA 02111 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-2321377

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

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

Inside every girl is strength, creativity, inquisitiveness, and a powerful voice. However, girls are up against societal obstacles that can limit their development and prevent them from reaching their full potential. Our program combats these forces by providing a girl-centric, supportive environment in which girls and young women can express their strengths and pursue their dreams.

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?

Core After-School Mentoring Program

SWSG's core after-school mentoring program connects caring college women volunteer mentors with elementary school girls from Boston and Pittsburgh's most under-resourced communities. Mentors help to empower girls with opportunities for exploration, self-expression, and growth in a safe environment. Each year, SWSG leverages a cohort of 350 college women as mentors to 775 girls in Boston and 180 college women as mentors to 630 girls in Pittsburgh. The cornerstone of this model is a standardized curriculum that engages girls with female role models. Over the course of weekly 1.5 hour after-school workshops, pre-adolescent girls explore a total of 20 diverse female role models. This year girls learned about bravery through Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafazi, trailblazing through American Little League Baseball pitcher Mo'ne Davis, and advocacy through Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayer. These strong women teach girls that it is possible to overcome obstacles, drive success, and break down barriers. SWSG strategically engages girls prior to adolescence, and prior to a corresponding drop in self-esteem around age 9. Our data shows that increased attendance to our program indeed predicts greater increases in self-esteem. Our goal is to help girls maintain their naturally high self-esteem and broad outlook of possibilities for their future.

To supplement the weekly mentoring workshops girls also attend two field trips each year to local college campuses. Field trips allow the girls to step onto a college campus, sometimes for the first time, to inspire critical thinking and dreaming big. Interactive activities help the girls become passionate about new topics to inspire them and expand their awareness of college and career pathways that may interest them.

In the spring semester, girls and their mentors put the skills they learned from the core curriculum to good use by engaging in a capstone community service project. This provides girls with the opportunity to use creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills to identify a social problem in their community and work collaboratively to solve it. For many participating girls, this is their first opportunity to view themselves as a community leader.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

The Strong Leaders Network taps into the large network of successful professional women in the Greater Boston and Greater Pittsburgh areas. Last year, Boston engaged 150 women and Pittsburgh engaged 100 women. This network supports the civic engagement and leadership competencies of our college mentors. These women attend themed networking events for college mentors, support the mentors' field trips to local colleges and museums, build capacity through fundraising and employer giving, and volunteer at events. Program goals include: helping SWSG campus chapters reach their goals; providing opportunities for college women to meet outstanding women; engaging area companies to provide leadership opportunities for high potential women in their companies; and fostering a community of strong women, creating cycles of mutual empowerment.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Young adults

JUMP is a pilot program in Boston. JUMP expands the pipeline of support that girls receive from SWSG. Middle school girls who have aged out of the core mentoring program can apply to serve as a Junior Mentor, directly assisting college volunteers with program delivery to pre-adolescent girls. Junior Mentors receive continued access to the support of an all-female community, mentoring relationships, and strong female role models. Junior Mentors also attend bi-weekly workshops to cultivate new skills. The goal is to further strengthen Junior Mentors’ desire for civic engagement, leadership skills, college and career aspirations, and self-esteem.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Woman of Distinction Award- Presented to Lynne Garfinkel, Executive Director SWSG Pittsburgh 2009

Girls Scouts Western Pennsylvania

Woman of Achievement Award- Presented to SWSG Founder and President, Lindsay Hyde 2009

National Coalition of Girls Schools

Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year - Presented to SWSG National Director of Program Operations Meghan Trombly 2009

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

Women of Achievement Award- Presented to Lynne Garfinkel, Executive Director SWSG Pittsburgh 2008

Celebrate & Share

Upstander Award - Presented to SWSG Founder and President, Lindsay Hyde 2008

Facing History and Ourselves

Social Innovator - Presented to Strong Women, Strong Girls 2007

Root Cause Institute Social Innovation Forum

Jefferson Award for the Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35-years or Younger - Presented to SWSG Founder and President, Lindsay Hyde 2007

Jefferson Awards for Public Service

Stark Young Leadership Award-Presented to Lynne Garifnkel, Executive Director SWSG Pittsburgh 2010

Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

American Express Scholars-Presented to SWSG Founder and President, Lindsay Hyde 2010

American Express

Community Service Organization Award 2010

Wilkinsburg Boys & Girls Club

Philanthropic Business of the Year 2010

Stay Classy

Communication Award 2011

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

Leadership Award/Megan Trombly 2011

Comcast

Excellence in Hispanic Education 2010

Cervantes Awards for Hispanic Education

Social Innovation Fast Pitch 2013

Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh

Affiliations & memberships

MENTOR: National Mentoring Partnership - Respondent 2007

Greater Pittsburgh Non-profit Partnership 2012

Classy Innovator Award 2016

The Boston Award 2017

The Boston Club Advancement Award 2017

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.

Success for SWSG means that our girls will grow up to become the next generation of female leaders. These are the leaders who will advocate for the safety and wellbeing of girls and women and ensure that girls of color have access to the same resources as their white peers.

Boston and Pittsburgh, for all of their unique differences, face the same problem: a lack of diverse female leaders in key decision making bodies. SWSG aims to improve the pipeline of potential female candidates to compete and be selected for these decision making roles. According to recent research, girls face various significant obstacles, which often arise in adolescence, to pursuing and maintaining leadership positions. A girls' self-esteem peaks at around age 9, with most women not regaining that same level of confidence until age 35. This drop in self-esteem leaves girls open to a variety of negative long-term consequences, such as eating disorders, smoking, and binge drinking, that can keep them from excelling at their academic, vocational, and personal pursuits. Furthermore, recent research has found that girls often do not view themselves as leaders nor are they provided with the appropriate opportunities to develop leadership skills. Critical to helping girls develop into successful, well-adjusted, healthy, and happy strong women are the mentoring relationships and specialized programming provided by SWSG.

In addition, SWSG is engaged in multiple cross-city capacity building activities through the year 2020. Using our ASPIRE 2020 strategic plan as a guide, SWSG is aiming to build the capacity necessary to successfully grow and ensure long-term financial health.

Our Aspire 2020 Strategic Plan tackles the following strategic goals:

By 2020, SWSG will have incorporated a culture of philanthropy into all organizational elements to ensure a broad, diverse and sustainable donor base

By 2020, SWSG will have developed and implemented clear and efficient processes and procedures for all operations and communications

By 2020, SWSG will have researched and established clear programming priorities that consistently offer the maximum relevance and impact, making SWSG a premier after-school girls organization serving girls

By 2020, SWSG will have developed and implemented the data systems for analyzing and sharing relevant and compelling data, maximizing our ability to make the case for our program and allowing us to continue to learn and thrive

By 2020, SWSG will have defined its plan for geographic expansion and created a sustainable road map beyond Pittsburgh and Boston in order to enable more girls to realize their inner strengths

By 2020, SWSG will have established a governance structure best suited to achieve the vision and mission, with diverse and accomplished Board members and a pipeline of leadership that leads, inspires, secures resources and ensures accountability to all its stakeholders

Since 2004, SWSG has facilitated over 100,000 mentoring relationships. Our preventative model connects elementary school girls (grade 3-5) with supportive college women mentors from local partnering universities. Using a standardized curriculum, girls meet with mentors for 1.5 hours after school each week (September - April) to explore a total of 20 diverse female role models and skills exemplified by these women. As examples, girls have learned about bravery through Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafazi, trailblazing through local American Little League Baseball pitcher Mo'ne Davis, and advocacy through Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayer. Theses strong women teach girls that it is possible to overcome obstacles, drive success and break down barriers. Our data show that increased attendance to our program predicts greater increases in self-esteem.

In each location, SWSG has cultivated dedicated stakeholders committed to fulfilling our mission including dedicated college chapter partners, elementary school and community partners, donors, volunteers, and other non-profits in the education and youth development fields. Our volunteer mentors in particular are essential to our success. They provide thousands of dollars of in-kind support each year and allow us to maximize our use of SWSG staff time to provide oversight, mentor training, program execution, and evaluation/improvement.

SWSG has two dedicated Regional Boards of Directors that provide guidance and support on local program and fundraising activities. There is also a national Executive Board of Directors that provides oversight for financial and capacity building activities. In addition, the creation of our Aspire 2020 Strategic Plan supports improvement of capabilities in all areas: development, governance, programming, infrastructure, data evaluation/collection, and expansion.

While SWSG has moved the needle on self-esteem and leadership for girls we serve in both Pittsburgh and Boston over the last decade, there is more work to do. Even as we continue to add new sites to serve additional girls, our program waitlist continues to grow in both cities, demonstrating the need for our mentoring program. The SWSG Aspire 2020 Strategic Plan has focused attention on the key areas that SWSG must strengthen, and we have set up a structure that ensures constant monitoring and evaluation of the progress of our goals. As part of this we are investigating how to expand the reach and impact of our highly replicable mentoring model so that communities and girls can benefit from this free program beyond Pittsburgh and Boston.

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 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 share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, 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

Strong Women, Strong Girls, 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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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.

Strong Women, Strong Girls, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 12/01/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Aleya Jennings

Fred Rogers Productions

Lori Benventuto

Ernst & Young, Pittsburgh

Hank Cochran

Arconic, Pittsburgh

Aleya Crable Jennings

Fred Rogers Productions

Mary Pryshlak

Wellington Management Company

Tamaira Ridgely

United States Steel Corporation

Erin Greco

FedEx Services

Samantha Callahan

K&L Gates

Stacy Splistone

UPMC

Meredith Klein

GNC

Lucia Page

Comcast

Lindsay Andrews

Louis Plung & Company

Della Tyler

State Street

Sudhir Chepeni

Akamai Technologies

Tiye Cort Odima

Breakthrough Greater Boston

Rachel Willis

BlockFi

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 12/1/2023

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
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/13/2023

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • 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 disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • 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.