THE POSSIBILITY FUND

Creating a Bright Future for Everyone

Broomall, PA   |  www.thepossibilityfund.org

Mission

The Possibility Fund works with visionary leaders and organizations on the front lines of social change. Our mission is to shift mindsets, transform communities, and produce sustainable results. We collaborate closely with community organizations and institutions to uncover and dispel the history, assumptions, and widely-held views constraining what’s possible. Within distressed communities, we address two pervading challenges—a culture of low expectations and a mindset that assumes failure. Recognizing that mindsets are not fixed opens new pathways for thinking and behaving. When mindsets change, circumstances look different and new solutions emerge. By helping community members act on these new solutions, we create access to the bright future every person deserves.

Ruling year info

2018

Executive Director

David E Pines M.Ed

Main address

401 Parkway Drive

Broomall, PA 19008 USA

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EIN

82-2124676

NTEE code info

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

Management & Technical Assistance (B02)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Through partnerships with community organizations, we provide a framework for uncovering and reshaping limiting mindsets brought on by an ingrained culture of low expectations within distressed communities. By reframing this limiting mindset, we reframe what’s possible for distressed communities. When mindsets change, new possibilities emerge and institutions become more effective in fulfilling their core mission. The most vulnerable citizens of Delaware County, PA live within the Chester Upland School District (CUSD). While under 10% of the county lives below the poverty level, over 37% of Chester does. Starting with education, our initial project is with the CUSD. Frequently landing near the bottom on performance rankings of Pennsylvania school districts, the CUSD struggles to provide quality education for the impoverished community it serves. Our work increases personal and collective capabilities to build the belief, confidence, and reality that they can, and will, do better.

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?

Transforming Chester Upland School District

For 15 years, this school district, in an economically distressed community of 34,000, has been one of the lowest-performing in Pennsylvania, and in court-appointed receivership since 2012.

Past attempts to solve the problem include over 20 years of state intervention and school privatization. Many explanations are given for the persistence of the problem. One commonly-held view is that financial resources are inadequate to improve educational performance—but there is no community-wide alignment on either the causes or potential solutions.

Meanwhile, district staff and community members have been continuously committed to producing academic excellence, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable issues. District, civic, and faith-based organizations work tirelessly to support students, families, and the community, but systemic problems continue.

An unseen major contributor to the problem is a mindset among some school and community leaders of resignation, even cynicism, that “nothing will change,” accompanied by a lack of alignment or mobilization of the entire community coming together as one to solve the problem.

Population(s) Served

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 one-on-one coaching sessions

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Transforming Chester Upland School District

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Coaching sessions support school administration, teachers, and staff in building a school culture that realizes new levels of student achievement

Number of team meeting sessions

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Transforming Chester Upland School District

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Collaborative team sessions where school leadership focus on new approaches to build an environment for academic achievement

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Transforming Chester Upland School District

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Creating safes spaces for community groups and members to have conversations for building new possibilities in the community

Number of teachers trained

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Transforming Chester Upland School District

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Teachers trained in Breakthrough Mindset Curriculum, a program that trains teachers in approaches to impact mindsets in the classroom

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 primary goal is creating the bright future people deserve. The overarching goals for the CUSD are: (1) Every student and every adult feels cared for, valued, and supported, every hour of every day; and (2) Every student graduates from high school ready for college or a career, every student completes middle school ready for high school, and every student completes elementary school ready for middle school. We focus on the education system as a hub for strengthening institutions and building community alignment. Ultimately, we are building evidence to create a model to positively impact other local distressed communities.

Our approach is both cognitive and behavioral. Cognitive outcomes include increases in ambition, expectation, self-efficacy, and social cohesion, along with decreases in cultural apathy. Behavioral outcomes include student achievement and parent and community engagement.

We are building a body of evidence to demonstrate that uncovering the existing mindset in a distressed community reshapes the thinking that limits what’s possible for that community. Our programs focus on increasing personal and collective capabilities to build the belief, confidence, and reality that the district can, and will, do better. The culture and performance of any school district is shaped by the leadership. Developing leaders who regularly take bold stands and deliver extraordinary results raises the expectations of everyone around them.

The Possibility Fund has a budget of over $1 million per year to deliver mindset change programs networks of community leaders. The Possibility Fund works with community institutions to design approaches to reach various community groups. Our programs are being delivers within six schools in the Chester Upland School District. These include:
- The Possibility Inventory, a data-driven approach to measure the current environment and expectations, and inventory opportunities to transform the system
- Breakthrough Course Online, a digital course that delivers the core capabilities to shift mindsets in individuals and systems
- Leading the Mindset Shift, monthly team meetings and individual development sessions that cultivate environments that enable rapid change throughout each school
- Breakthrough Mindset Curriculum, facilitated collaborative sessions with teachers and staff that shift what's possible for students

Each school district leader with whom we worked impacts every aspect of the district—student achievement, school climate, financial performance, and career development for graduates. Over 3,800 faculty, staff, and students are affected by the leaders who participated in Possibility Fund programs. Key accomplishments include:
- STEM High School has two-times the number of students on the honor roll from the previous year
- 74% of an English teacher's high school students improved two grade equivalencies on the Pearson Reading Inventory
- A high-school science class placed first out of eighteen school districts in the Franklin Institute Science Fair
- Early indicators for math Keystone results show below basic scores dropping from 65% to 30% and proficient scores rising from 4% to 21%

Financials

THE POSSIBILITY FUND
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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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THE POSSIBILITY FUND

Board of directors
as of 3/21/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Pontish Yeramyan


Board co-chair

Ludmilla Malmberg