LIFT

Investing in parents, inspiring possibility

aka LIFT   |   Washington, DC   |  www.whywelift.org

Mission

To empower families to break the cycle of poverty.

LIFT is located in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. and its National headquarters are located in Washington D.C.

Ruling year info

1999

CEO

Ms. Michelle Rhone-Collins

Main address

999 North Capitol St. NE Suite 310

Washington, DC 20002 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

National Student Partnerships

EIN

52-2168409

NTEE code info

Personal Social Services (P50)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

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

Despite promising upticks in income nationwide, financial insecurity is widespread and far too many communities are being left behind. Many families across the nation are living on the brink. For instance, half of all households would not be able to sustain themselves for three months if their current source of income was disrupted. Even more striking, one in five children in the U.S. are poor.

As the parents of these young children navigate complex social service systems, patch together childcare for fluctuating work schedules, and weather chronic financial crises, the piled-up strain they experience may impact their health, ability to aspire for more, and capacity to provide warm, responsive parenting.

Consequently, children born into the lowest income quintile are more likely to remain in the bottom, and over generations, growing gaps lead to entrenched, community-level inequities that make the cycle of poverty that much more difficult to break.

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?

LIFT

LIFT was established in 1998 as an organization focused on connecting people to the resources and networks they need. What we knew then still holds true now: low-income parents and caregivers want what all parents do - to make a better life for themselves and their children. They often just lack access to opportunities and resources. LIFT is committed to helping parents' dreams become children's realities.

In nearly 20 years, we have served more than 100,000 low-income people. LIFT has always valued and respected a member's ability to act in their best interests. We understand that parents and caregivers often know what's best for their families. Their voice and their goals always informs our work.

Today, we have a budget of over $6 million and nearly 40 employees across four regional sites and our national headquarters.

LIFT is located in Chicago (South Side), Los Angeles (Pico Union), New York (the Bronx) and Washington, D.C., communities with some of the highest rates of concentrated poverty.

Population(s) Served
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.

Percentage of families reporting progress on one or more of three measures

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

Adults, People of African descent, Multiracial people, People of Asian descent, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

LIFT

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

% of retained members who have achieved at least one of the following: increased income, decreased debt or increased savings, persisted in or improved education or employment

Percentage of families who increase income

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

Adults, Low-income people, Working poor, Undocumented immigrants, Immigrants

Related Program

LIFT

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This measure tracks increases in household income.

Percentage of families who decreased debt or increased savings

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

Adults, Low-income people, Undocumented immigrants, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

LIFT

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This measure combines both debt and savings since some members will focus on one over the other, based on their circumstance. Excludes car loans, student loans and mortgages.

Percentage of families who persisted in or improved education or employment

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

Adults, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Low-income people, Undocumented immigrants

Related Program

LIFT

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This measure combines both employment and education since some members will focus on one over the other.

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.

LIFT seeks to double down on our holistic program model to strengthen parents' financial, personal and social foundations, and in doing so, improve outcomes for children. In addition, our work aims to contribute to the field-level dialogue about what works for families facing poverty.

By elevating the voices of our members and bringing their powerful stories to the fore, we challenge the public to see parents – regardless of background – as architects of their families' future who are deeply worthy of our time and our investments.

Our hope is that through our efforts and in partnership with a wider field of supporters, committed practitioners, policy makers, and academics, we can create a brighter and richer childhood for the next generation of children – and in doing so, break entrenched cycles of multi-generational poverty.

Fortunately, research on early intervention approaches is promising. Children between birth and age five undergo significant growth and development and are therefore receptive and sensitive to external influences. During their transition to parenthood, parents are similarly sensitive to environmental inputs, presenting an opportunity for timely interventions to have multi-generational effects.

That is why LIFT partners with high-performing early childhood education centers, in an effort to provide holistic services to every member of a family. As these partners work with children, we work with their parents and caregivers to build personal well-being, social connections, and financial strength.

In this effort, we focus on three core program elements: goals, relationships and resources. LIFT coaches build strong relationships with members. With their coach, members develop an actionable plan around family goals centered on financial advancement, such as continuing education and training, establishing bank accounts, and finding quality, affordable childcare and housing. In tandem, LIFT helps our members access resources they need to achieve these goals – including providing emergency funds and cash incentives.

LIFT understands that to be able to carry out our mission and deliver the most impactful programming to our members, we have to ensure organizational capabilities. As such, LIFT continues to prioritize investments in our infrastructure (program design and improvement) and our people (professional development, retention, etc.). Additionally, we are actively working to build stronger partnerships community allies across the nation.

LIFT just concluded a two-year innovation cycle where we tested different program prototypes across the organization. This cycle included a robust landscape analysis, literature review of best-in-class research, and a comprehensive Community Listening Tour across LIFT's four regions. This helped us better understand the needs of our members, the barriers they face, the available services for our members, and where LIFT can provide the most impactful support. After this discovery process, we worked with members to successfully co-develop design statements for programs to directly address barriers to building capacity, meeting short- and long-term goals, and eventually breaking the cycle of poverty. Based on our learnings from the successes of these prototypes, we have now unveiled a single unified program model that's already showing success and increases in member outcomes.

LIFT has continued our work with the Performance Imperative framework to develop LIFT staff members. LIFT as an organization refocused our goals for the year and developed three overarching goal areas: increasing impact for our members, encouraging and developing high performance of LIFT staff, and ensuring financial sustainability of LIFT as an organization. With LIFT staff being one of the focus areas, we are focusing on identifying the strengths of our staff as well as rigorously monitoring for areas that need improvements. For instance, regional and national Program teams will be having a retreat the third week of January to discuss alignment opportunities and creatively build out our program models.

To maximize the impact of our work, LIFT partners with local early childhood organizations to connect with low-income families with young children. While these partners work with children, we work with their parents as they take steps to meet their basic needs and build skills to meet their long-term aspirations. Beyond these on-the-ground partnerships, we also continuously engage other sector leaders in conversations about how to best refine our programming to deliver the best services to our members. For example, LIFT-Los Angeles and LIFT-New York have engaged CFED, a recognized leader in financial capabilities, to target our services to stressed parents working through financial instabilities.

We believe that our intentionality behind the aforementioned areas increases our capabilities for doing this work. This, coupled with a strong organizational budget of $6M+, gives us confidence that we can continue in our upward trajectory.

Since 1998, LIFT has worked side-by-side with nearly 100,000 low-income community members across the country, building trusted relationships and partnering with them to make meaningful steps out of poverty. Over our nearly two decades of work in low-income communities, we have helped members secure thousands of jobs, access hundreds of thousands of dollars in public benefits and tax credits, and complete countless hours of job training and post-secondary education as they strive to reach their economic goals.

Over the last program year (2016-2017), we saw significant program outcomes and goal achievement, including:
*members who worked with LIFT for at least 3 months and saw a positive improvement reported an average savings increase of $950 and an average debt decrease of $2,000
*76 of members who reported below average levels of social support when they first arrived at LIFT increased their social support after working with a LIFT coach
*90% of members would strongly recommend LIFT to a friend or relative, compared to only 80% of clients at similar service providers.

In July of 2017, LIFT launched our four-year strategic plan wherein we unveiled a single unified program model across our four regions (in DC, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles) based on past experience, members' voices and landscape analysis. Over the period, LIFT will service over 25,000 parents and children, ensure two-thirds rise and stay above the Federal Poverty Line, and develop a scaled impact strategy across the whole organization.

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

    LIFT members are hardworking parents who want what is best for their families; however, they face common barriers such as limited job skills, lack of childcare, and/or the general absence of critical support systems and networks. LIFT’s current member demographics reflect systemic challenges that affect members’ financial and social mobility: 100% of members are people of color, 91% are female, 62% of members are single parents, 55% are unemployed when they arrive at LIFT, 73% have a high school diploma or less, and 51% are English Language Learners. $12,680 is the average annual income of a LIFT parent when they first meet with us.

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

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, 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?

    LIFT piloted a virtual version of our coaching program in Washington, DC based on feedback from parents whose schedules did not allow them to meet in person at a LIFT site. In March 2020, we extended video-based virtual coaching services to all members in the cities where we currently operate. Today, through technology such as phone, video, and text we have been able to make services accessible to the majority of LIFT members deeply affected by COVID-19.

  • 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?

    Our system of feedback has ensured that LIFT’s coaches develop strong, trusting relationships with members rooted in dignity and respect. Coaches put members in the driver’s seat, believing they know what is best for their families and can conquer new challenges and risks with encouragement and support. LIFT’s program meets families where they are—not only delivering our programming to be responsive to the daily rhythms of family life in the spaces and places where families already gather and have built in trust (early childcare centers, pediatric offices, community centers, etc.) but also understanding that each family is starting from their own unique starting point and are deserving of tailored individualized financial coaching and programing.

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

LIFT
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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

Subscribe

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.

LIFT

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Gina Coburn

Lee Foley

Capital Hill Partners

Marne Obernaur Jr.

Breakthru Beverage Group

Jon Budington

Global Printing/Global Thinking

Susan Hirsch

Hirsch Family Foundation

Brian Kreiter

Bridgewater Associates

Kirsten Lodal

LIFT

Ted Howard

The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland; The Cleveland Foundation

Deanna Singh

Dohmen Company Foundation

Ben Harper

N/A

Heather Cox

USAA

Michelle Jolin

Results for America

Stephen Rotella

StoneCastle Partners, LLC (SCP); StoneCastle Cash Management, LLC

Gina Coburn

Global Philanthropy Group

Marne Levine

Instagram

Sheila Walker

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Will Darman

The Carlyle Group

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/23/2020

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:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data