Inversant

Empowering Families to Invest in Higher Education

Boston, MA   |  http://www.inversant.org

Mission

Inversant's mission is to ensure that through parental engagement every low-to-moderate income family has the resources and understanding they need to achieve their goals for higher education.

Ruling year info

2010

Chief Executive Officer

Heidi Hancock

Main address

45 Temple Pl 4th Floor

Boston, MA 02111 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Families United in Educational Leadership

FUEL Education

EIN

27-1462229

NTEE code info

Student Services and Organizations (B80)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (O01)

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

A college education can open many doors: to personal growth, higher earning potential, and financial stability. While economic and social status shouldn’t limit students’ educational achievement, they do. Inequity runs rampant in our society: the combination of under-resourced public schools, language obstacles, and cultural differences can create systemic barriers for many families, making it challenging for them to navigate potentially life-changing post-secondary options. Inversant serves a racially and linguistically diverse population of low- to middle-income families. Fewer than 20% of Inversant parents have a 4-year college degree, and many Inversant students are the first in their families to attend college. Despite these challenges, the parents and students we serve share a common belief: investing and succeeding in higher education moves families and communities forward.

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?

Incentivized College Savings

Evidence strongly suggests parents who establish college savings accounts are more likely to see college as a goal for their children, and students from low-income families with $500 in savings are three times more likely to enroll and four times more likely to graduate from college than those without savings dedicated for education. While this amount may seem inconsequential given the high cost of college tuition, the vast majority of Inversant families qualify for financial aid that covers most if not all of their tuition costs. However, there are many hidden costs of attending college—adding up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars—that are not covered by financial aid, including enrollment/orientation fees, housing deposits, and books. These hidden fees can derail a student's college career before it even gets started or get in the way of them completing their degree. Recognizing the critical importance of college savings to help families cover these costs, Inversant actively promotes and facilitates the establishment of college savings accounts (CSAs), supporting families through the process and providing a savings match. As a result, families build trust and familiarity with financial institutions, improving financial outcomes for students and families alike.

In 2019, Inversant served 670 families with 738 students across Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Revere, and Salem—communities with higher-than-average rates of poverty. More than 45% of Inversant families have an annual income of less than $30,000, and another 30% have incomes between $30,000 and $50,000. Among the parents of Inversant students, 17% completed a four-year college degree, 12% completed a two-year degree, and 21% completed some college coursework. Inversant serves a racially and linguistically diverse population of families with 53% Latino, 25% African-American, 10% multi-racial, and 3% Asian. Spanish is the primary language spoken among more than half of Inversant parents.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Inversant Learning Circle workshops cover a broad range of college access topics, including standardized testing, higher education costs, the college selection and application process, how to establish a college savings account, and how to identify and apply for scholarship assistance. Through Learning Circles, Inversant families increase their financial literacy so they understand how to minimize the amount they pay for college. As one Inversant parent commented, “Inversant gave me the opportunity to learn more about how the college process works. The workshops walked us through the information in a way that was digestible and made sense. In addition, as a parent I always felt supported and knew I could reach out if I had any questions. To me, Inversant means knowledge, it means obtaining all the tools necessary to feel confident as a parent in helping your children succeed. I am very grateful for the program.”

With the ongoing public health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Inversant has had to suspend all of our in-person group workshops. To continue serving families, we have accelerated development and implementation of a web-based learning system, so that we can minimize the impact to our program delivery schedule. Knowing that low-income households often face a digital divide that puts them at a disadvantage as far as information access, Inversant will engage families through both SMS and web-based channels, in English and Spanish, and will distribute incentives to encourage adoption. Inversant will use a marketing automation suite, Ontraport, and Twilio (an SMS communication platform), to promote our new web-based offerings to ensure broad awareness and participation. Educational Workshops will take place using a web-based, conversational video product called VideoAsk. We will keep families engaged and learning by providing rapid qualification for incentive eligibility through Ontraport. Having an interactive online learning option will add value long after the current public health crisis ends, as it will provide yet another way for Inversant families to access our services.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

As part of our effort to help families minimize college debt, Inversant works to increase students’ capacity to identify and apply for college scholarships. Inversant recently piloted the Inversant for Higher Education Scholarship, offering ten $1,000 scholarships for qualified Inversant students, payable directly to the institution of their choice. Inversant staff works closely with students as they complete their applications, offering constructive feedback and support. This new scholarship opportunity gives students valuable experience, increasing their ability to successfully complete additional applications. In 2020, Inversant plans to pilot a second scholarship program, increasing students’ access to scholarship funding and application experience. This scholarship will be designed to fill the gap between financial aid and student savings.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Excellence in Innovation Award 2012

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

CollegeKeys Compact Innovation Award "Getting In" 2013

College Board

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 families served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

1,800 families served since 2009

Number of savings accounts used by clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Incentivized College Savings

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Inversant families have opened 2,000 savings accounts to save for college

Number of individuals served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Inversant works with low- to moderate-income families to build their capacity to achieve their higher-education goals. Families come to our program lacking financial resources and with insufficient confidence and knowledge to navigate the higher education process with their children—many who are the first in their families to attend college. Through an effective combination of savings incentives, family workshops, and scholarship assistance, we help families become “conversant” (knowledgeable) and fully engaged in what it takes to apply to, pay for, and succeed in higher education.

We aspire to:
- Enable more families to enroll their students in college.
- Prepare more families to help their students succeed in college.
- Empower more families to help their students graduate from college.

By giving families the tools they need to achieve their higher-education dreams, Inversant works to address prevailing imbalances in society, including unequal access to opportunity and disparities in educational outcomes by socio-economic status. Inversant’s overarching goals include:
- Encourage, empower, and promote smart college-savings habits in low-to-moderate income families.
- Strengthen community and school-based support to increase program awareness, interest, and completion rates.
- Make college affordable and accessible for all low-to-moderate income families through scholarship and grant education

Inversant empowers low- to middle-income families through a three-pronged approach: motivating families to establish matched college savings accounts, providing family workshops and counseling, and helping families apply for scholarships to minimize college debt.

Evidence indicates that parents who establish college savings accounts are more likely to see college as a goal for their children, and students from low-income families with $500 in savings are three times more likely to enroll and four times more likely to graduate from college. Recognizing the critical importance of college savings to help families cover costs, Inversant actively promotes and facilitates the establishment of college savings accounts (CSAs), supporting families through the process and providing a savings match. As a result, families build trust and familiarity with financial institutions, improving financial outcomes for students and families alike.

Family workshops and one-on-one counseling cover a broad range of college access topics, including standardized testing, higher education costs, the college selection and application process, how to establish a college savings account, and how to identify and apply for scholarship assistance. We provide instructors fluent in the participants’ native languages, allowing families to fully and comfortably engage with the material.

As part of our effort to help families minimize college debt, Inversant works to increase students’ capacity to identify and apply for college scholarships. Inversant staff works closely with families and students as they complete scholarship applications for Inversant’s two scholarship opportunities. Students receive constructive feedback and support that helps them refine their writing and presentation skills, in addition to potentially reducing their college debt.

Inversant’s model of direct, whole-family engagement is unique in the CSA program field, and we have proven it to be effective. In the past decade, Inversant students and families have achieved tremendously positive outcomes, demonstrating the power of our saving/learning model and supporting efforts to further expand the program. As part of an institution-wide effort to improve access, Inversant is working to make all of our content available online, providing a flexible way for families with different learning styles, schedules, and personal circumstances to access Inversant’s content.

Inversant’s mission drives us to expand college access opportunities to an ever more broad and diverse audience, and we are prepared to do so. Our service delivery model combines established savings accounts; an engaged low- to middle-income population; and the field and technical expertise to deploy effective remote education and financial aid options.

lnversant has a racially and ethnically diverse staff with native speaking ability in Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Mandarin Chinese. Inversant’s CEO, Dr. Charles Desmond, was the former Chair of the MA Board of Higher Education and brings broad advocacy and partnership development expertise. The 19-member board has backgrounds in education, finance, fundraising, marketing, and governance, and reflects the communities we serve. Inversant’s Board of Advisors, composed of former educators, higher education administrators, as well as Inversant parent program alumni and student alumni, provides additional insight. A team of volunteers further supports the organization’s mission.

In our short history, Inversant has achieved dramatic results for students and families, demonstrating the power of this saving/learning model and supporting our efforts to expand the program further to maximize impact.

- We have taught more than 500 workshops to at least 20,000 attendees.
- Our 1,800 families have saved more than $1.6 million (matched by Inversant to equal $2.8 million) by opening 2,000 savings accounts and intentionally building a habit of savings.
- An impressive 94% of Inversant's high-school graduates have gone to college. Close to 90% remain enrolled in college after one year, a persistence rate much higher than the national average (68.7%).
- At least 74% of Inversant students attending four-year colleges graduate within six years, higher than the national 6-year graduation rate (59%).

Families who join the Inversant program gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to save for college and make informed decisions in their pursuit of higher education. In pursuit of our overarching goal to make higher education attainable for everyone in the United States, we know we must continually refine our approach in response to current events and community needs. The global COVID-19 crisis acted as a catalyst, prompting Inversant to accelerate implementation of a web-based infrastructure that will improve the efficiency of Inversant’s student aid programs, enhance access to remote education, and reduce barriers to programming. We are designing our digital lessons for delivery over smartphone , not just desktop/laptop because we can't assume all participants have computers at home. As we systemize and scale our programs, we will leverage our expanded capacity to serve more families, increasing our impact across the state and, eventually, the nation.

At a recent board meeting, the board and staff affirmed the following priorities for the next several years:

- Increase the number of low-income, college-bound students we serve: Economic insecurity should not keep people from attaining the education and credentials they need to achieve their goals. We will increase outreach and reduce barriers to access, ensuring we serve a growing number of low-income students.
- Develop more robust local partnerships: We recognize that our community has valuable skills and a vested interest in improving the lives of the next generation. We will work with our board and community supporters to increase productive collaboration with local businesses, providing increased opportunities for Inversant students to succeed.

Financials

Inversant
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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
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Inversant

Board of directors
as of 8/27/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Charles Desmond

Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation

Robert Hildreth

Inversant / Hildreth Institute

Sally Currier

Schools for Children, Inc.

Richard Reidy

Boston University

Jon Rotenberg

Eastern Yacht Sales

Robert Cashman

Metro Credit Union

Michael Douvadjian

UBS

Ruth Moorman

Boston University

Fernando Reimers

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Stacy Scott

Center for Understanding Equity

Michael Taylor

Urban College

Dean Atkins

NorthBridge Partners, LLC

Laurent De Greef

Acadian Asset Management

Benjamin Hildreth

Santander

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 06/28/2021

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:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data