DETROIT CREATIVITY PROJECT

Learning to improvise is life-changing.

aka DCP   |   Venice, CA   |  www.detroitcreativityproject.org

Mission

Six in 10 Detroit schoolchildren live in poverty. Many students will face challenges because of that. They have lower literacy rates, are more likely to skip school, and less likely to graduate than their peers outside the city. We're on a mission to change that. Through The Improv Project we're giving these young people tools to succeed at school and in life. Improv training helps our students build confidence and communication skills. It also shows them what's possible when they keep an open mind, practice, and persevere. Their teachers tell us these young improvisers attend school more regularly, participate in class, and are making academic progress. The best part? These lessons endure after improv class ends.

Ruling year info

2014

President

Marc Evan Jackson

Executive Director

Dr. Beth Hagenlocker

Main address

PO Box 1236

Venice, CA 90294 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-4485478

NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Performing Arts (A60)

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

We believe every child should have the opportunity to succeed, no matter where they live or their family's income. The majority of the students we serve are economically disadvantaged. Many are counted in the following statistics about Detroit schoolchildren: Six out of ten school children in the city live in poverty. That rate increased 25 percent between 2008 and 2015. Only 1 in 10 children are proficient readers when they reach 3rd grade. And 1 in 4 won’t graduate from high school. Unless something changes there is an enormous risk that despite all their potential, many of these youth will grow up and continue to live in poverty. The Improv Project offers these young people the tools they need to change that story. Please read on to learn more about our programs and how they are helping provide tools to Detroit's young people.

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?

The Improv Project

The Improv Project is a ten week course in theatrical improvisation provided at no charge to middle and high school students in Detroit. The program has been offered both during the school day and as part of after-school programming. A gift of $170 provides a child's tuition for one semester of improv training.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

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

Economically disadvantaged people, Adolescents, Children, Preteens

Related Program

The Improv Project

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Improv Project involves public school students in Grades 3-12 in Detroit, Hamtramck, and the Downriver area. Note: School closures and remote learning impacted enrollment in 2020 and 2021.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed social skills (e.g., interpersonal communication, conflict resolution)

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

Economically disadvantaged people, Adolescents

Related Program

The Improv Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Reported as a %. This data is being collected by University of Michigan as part of a 3-year study. The study is showing a statistically significant impact on social skills and reduced social anxiety.

Number of youth who demonstrate motivation to learn

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

Adolescents, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

The Improv Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Reported as %. UM found that student comprehension of the main principles of improvisation was 88 percent. Student engagement is another proxy for motivation. 94% report being engaged in the program.

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.

The Detroit Creativity Project engages young people in Detroit and neighboring cities through the art of improvisation. Our mission is to inspire and empower our students to reach for their potential through creative experiences that foster social and emotional learning and build literacy.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has been shown to positively impact academic outcomes, as well as promote behaviors like sharing and empathy, improve attitudes toward school, and reduce anxiety and depression.

The arts are also increasingly recognized as a valuable component of STEM programs, or STEAM, because they foster a curiosity for learning and creative approach to problem solving.

We focus on developing and funding quality programs for Detroit area students who would not otherwise have access because of where they live or their family's income.

We established an Artistic Advisory group in 2016 to develop a new applied improv program that would more directly foster social and emotional learning for our students.

That new course was piloted with 74 Detroit high school students in the winter of 2016. We plan to bring this program to 4 schools this fall.

We have developed a set of school selection criteria to ensure that our programs serve youth who would not otherwise have access to this type of programming.

We evaluate our programs twice yearly, and include feedback from students, classroom teachers, and our teaching artists to continually improve our programs and ensure their compliance with State performance standards for the performing arts.

Our partners for The Improv Project and the applied improv program include:

The Schools. Each school provides classroom space and a school representative, who is our program liaison.

Y Arts, the arts division of YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. We collaborate with Y Arts to administer our programs. We work closely with Margaret Edwartowski, Executive Director of Arts, to provide daily program oversight, conduct staff background screenings and orientation, coordinate program evaluation, and help facilitate annual professional development for the teaching artists.

The Institute for Arts Infused Education, Marygrove College. We will be using new evaluation tools developed with Mary Lou Greene, Director of the Institute for Arts Infused Education at Marygrove College to evaluate our programs in 2017-18.

The Improv Project began in 2012 with 100 middle and high school students and now serves over 750 youth annually. Our students represent a diversity of ethnic and cultural groups from Detroit, Hamtramck, River Rouge, and Dearborn. Most of our students live in under-resourced communities and are considered economically disadvantaged by federal measures.

We continue to expand our programming by developing relationships with new schools and nonprofit service organizations who are interested in providing youth improv training.

The UM study shows that we have the greatest impact when our students are engaged in our programs. We continue to focus on strategies to improve student participation and their overall school attendance. In April 2016, Dr. Paul Hernandez led our teaching artists in a full day of training in techniques to more fully connect with at-risk youth.

We are committed to working with our partners and Detroit area improv theaters to promote increased diversity in the improv community and in our teaching artist team. We do this, in part, by seeking out opportunities for our graduates to perform and further their improv training. We are currently working with a local improv theater on a plan that would provide tuition support for our graduates who are interested in continuing their improv training.

We began an internship program in 2017 to work toward increasing the diversity of our teaching artist team. Our senior teaching artists have been mentoring an intern artist who brings Spanish-speaking capability to our teaching staff.

This fall we are also collaborating with a new partner to provide our teaching artists with a series of workshops focused on social justice and cultural competency.

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We offer our programs to youth and young adults and the adults who work with them. This includes students in Grades K-12, students returning to earn their high school diplomas, school-based therapists, educators, and nonprofit leaders.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Students have asked that they be able to take a more active role in leading some of the exercises that are part of our classes. Starting in 2022, teaching artists have given students an opportunity to lead warm-up exercises. This summer, we are bringing together a group of teaching artists and youth from our advisory group to look for ways to build this participation more fully into our syllabus.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We are able to open up lines of communication so they are proactively coming to us with their ideas and input rather than this always being initiated by us.

  • 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 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, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We continue to address this issue by finding new ways to reach people. ,

Financials

DETROIT CREATIVITY PROJECT
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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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lock

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.

DETROIT CREATIVITY PROJECT

Board of directors
as of 06/16/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Marc Jackson

Unexpected Company, Inc.

Term: 2022 - 2025


Board co-chair

Beth Hagenlocker

The Detroit Creativity Project

Term: 2021 - 2024

Tiger Veenstra

Clinical Psychologist

Nancy Hayden Edwards

Green Pastures Studio

Beth Hagenlocker

Grace Veterinary, Inc

Marc Jackson

Unexpected Company

Carl Evans

Glasser & Associates, PC

Jon Carr

Second City Chicago

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 ? No
  • 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 6/16/2022

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
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/13/2022

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 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 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 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.