Branches, Inc.

Grow Deeper, Climb Higher

aka Branches   |   Miami, FL   |


The mission of Branches, Inc. is "to serve, educate and inspire people through student, family and financial stability services in partnership with our communities." We provide life-changing opportunities to working families to help them and their children break the cycle of generational poverty.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Brent McLaughlin

Main address

11500 NW 12th Avenue

Miami, FL 33168 USA

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Formerly known as

South Florida Urban Ministries



NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is not required to file an annual return with the IRS.


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

At Branches, we provide life-changing opportunities to help working families and their children break the cycle of generational poverty. We fulfill our mission by engaging children, youth and adults with opportunities for them to become better educated, become more financially stable and make long-term, positive life choices. Our focus is on student achievement, family services, and financial stability and our programs serve children, youth, adults and families through our three respective program areas: Grow, Climb and Achieve. Branches serves just Miami-Dade County and considering that nearly 60% of individuals living in this county are either living in poverty or are one paycheck away from disaster, Branches' services are very much needed.

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?

Grow Program (children)

The Grow Program serves elementary students preparing them for lifelong success through enrichment of their minds, bodies and hearts. Our engagement with the students begins after school with tutoring and homework help but continues with enrichment activities including:
•Summer Shade Camp
•Recreational Activities
•Social Skill Development
•Healthy Meals and Snacks
The Grow Program lays the foundation to make a long-term impact in the lives of children by retaining a high percentage of students over many years. Consequently, the learning and the growth that take place in the life of a Branches student in one year becomes the foundation for further personal development and growth the next year. After just a few consistent years of engagement at Branches, students are not only in the mindset of setting goals but they are achieving goals on a regular basis.

Population(s) Served

The Climb Program serves middle and high school students focusing on the development of their individual assets in order to maximize opportunities to become better students and better people. Through the guidance and support of caring staff and volunteers, Branches youth are able to participate in:
•Academic Tutoring & Support
•Life Skills
•Service Projects
•OASIS Spring Break Camp
•Climb thru College Scholarships

Branches' Climb to College & Career initiative specifically focuses on postsecondary success and helps to prepare and assist high school students to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary for that next step after High School. Climb to College & Career provides a series of workshops, mentoring and completion of a postsecondary plan.
The college and career students will also be eligible for a Climb thru College & Career Scholarship designed to enable highly motivated high school graduates who have participated at Branches for at least two years to compete for college to technical/vocational scholarships. This additional support is intended to be an incentive and a reinforcement toward successful pursuit of becoming a postsecondary graduate.

Through workshops and mentoring, youth stay on track to climb in their outlook, climb in school and climb in life.

Population(s) Served

The Achieve Programs target the well-being of the entire community through services fostering financial stability and long term success. Achieve programs are uniquely branded and primarily serve Miami-Dade County and parts of Broward County.
•United Way Center for Financial Stability (UWCFS) – housed and operated by Branches, the UWCFS offers a full range of personal financial coaching services to enable working families to achieve economic stability and success.
•ASSETS Small Business Solutions – provides a range of business training and services for underserved micro-entrepreneurs to help them overcome business challenges and build profitable ventures.
•Ways to Work Car Program – provides financial education for low-income families and affordable loans to purchase reliable used vehicles to meet their critical transportation needs.
•VITA Tax Preparation – offers free tax help to qualified individuals who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing.
•Emergency Services Network – consists of more than a dozen local congregations that provide several forms of emergency services including food pantries, delivered meals and prepared hot meals.

The Achieve family of programs provides a continuum of financial services that equips and enables families to achieve increased financial stability and long-term success in life. Achieve programs create opportunity, stimulate productivity and ultimately lead to stability;

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Community Champion - Kim Torres 2010

Molina Healthcare of Florida

Excellence Award - Public Service 2006

The Children's Trust

Reflections in Excellence 2005

Conrad Miami and Miami Today

Partners in Transformation - Community Service Collaborations 2005


Women Extraordinaire - Isabelle Pike 2011

Southern Business Leader

Outstanding Board Leader - Rod Bell 2013

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Rising Star - Lars Gilberts 2012

South Florida Community Development Coalition

Neighborhood Builder Award 2015

Bank of America

AmeriCorps Program of the Year 2016

Volunteer Florida

Outstanding Board Leader - Ed Deppman 2016

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Excellence Awards- Not for Profit Award 2014


Volunteer Recognition Award- Margaret Cox 2017


Lighting the Way Award 2018


Rising Star Awards - Isabelle Pike 2018

Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

Climb to College & Career Program 2019

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce NOVO Award

Outstanding Volunteerism Award – Jim Morga 2019

United Way of Miami-Dade

Monsignor Walsh Outstanding Human Services Professional Award – Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director 2019

United Way of Miami-Dade

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.

Our Model
The social impact and value we create in people’s lives and in the communities where we serve utilizes coaching and empowerment, is long-term in nature and is holistic in scope.
Coaching and Empowerment – We ultimately want people to succeed in their endeavors and live more fruitful and productive lives. We also believe that motivated people are more likely to benefit from strategic opportunities provided to them. Therefore, Branches has incorporated both coaching and empowerment methodologies in how we engage children and families.
Long-term – Human services have traditionally been transactional in nature. Branches social impact is more substantive and transformational because of the high value we place on achieving long-term outcomes built from ongoing relationships with people.
Holistic – Our program focus is broad enough to address the critical areas in people’s lives such as education, financial knowledge, income, healthcare, relationships and personal values.

Our strategies for success include:
-Developing highly impactful programs that are led by empowered individuals and responsive teams;
-Integrating voluntary service as a means to enhance lives and services;
-Creating community partnerships and convening networks to leverage resources, promote collective impact and address systemic issues; and,
-Establishing deeply engaged neighborhood centers that have an outward focus and impact on the community and region

Branches' staff and leadership team is extremely qualified, passionate and gifted, full of a desire to serve the working poor. Branches also values partnerships immensely because we can accomplish more and make a greater impact together which is why Branches partners with many different organizations in our local community. Branches' Executive Director has been leading the charge since 2001 and this kind of commitment and stability is key when structuring and growing an organization and its services. The most recent Strategic Plan promises more growth and impact and even better and expanded programming for the children and families we serve every day.

Branches' impact in the community has grown significantly over the several years. From two programs serving less than 500 individuals in the year 2001, Branches now has a dozen programs that serve more than 12,000 individuals each year from 3 sites across our community. Thanks to outstanding results, Branches has experienced an incredible inflow of resources to sustain the growth from a budget in 2001 of $108,000 to a current $4.2 million annual budget. Branches provides the most-comprehensive, caring and long-term services to children and youth in this community and is the leader in personal financial coaching. Growth to 2 additional sites should be expected over the next couple years so Branches can serve more working poor families and their children at the highest level.

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

    SMS text surveys, Paper surveys, 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,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

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


Branches, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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

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Branches, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 5/7/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Rodney Bell

retired from Holland & Knight, LLP

Term: 2006 -

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 02/26/2020

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


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Sexual orientation

No data


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