PLATINUM2023

SHADOW PROJECT

Changing Lives for Children with Learning Challenges

aka The Shadow Project   |   Portland, OR   |  www.shadow-project.org
GuideStar Charity Check

SHADOW PROJECT

EIN: 65-1166066


Mission

The Shadow Project exists to make learning more accessible and engaging for children with disabilities, so they can achieve their full potential. We work with special education teachers in predominantly low-income schools to accelerate achievement and foster autonomy for students who are affected by dyslexia, ADHD, autism and trauma. Starting with one classroom, we have gone on to help nearly 17,000 of our community’s most pervasively under-served students to develop essential skills for school and life success, including goal-setting, perseverance and daily reading.

Ruling year info

2003

Principal Officer

Sharon Juenemann

Main address

2154 N.E. Broadway #130

Portland, OR 97232 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

65-1166066

Subject area info

Elementary and secondary education

Education services

Population served info

Children and youth

People with disabilities

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Struggling academically before the pandemic, students with disabilities are now predicted to “regress even more,” according to the Education Civil Rights Alliance. Negative impacts on their reading ability, social development, and emotional well-being are expected to be profound, especially for children in special education from communities of color, who face the double barriers of racism and able-ism and comprise 52% of our students. The Shadow Project is tackling this crisis by: 1) Addressing what special education teachers have identified as their greatest need: keeping their students engaged and persevering with learning. 2) Elevating the voices of children in special education, especially black and brown children who are the most adversely affected by the entrenched disparities in our public education system

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 Shadow Project

GOAL SETTING: Equips special education teachers with a powerful curriculum and resources that put students in the driver’s seat of their own education. As students work towards ambitious goals, they build confidence, motivation, and perseverance — positive habits that will last a lifetime.

READING MENTORING: Pairs children with assistive technology designed for their needs that makes books come alive, plus trained mentors who encourage their progress. This powerful combination leads to increased comprehension, proficiency and a newfound love of reading.

SENSORY SPACES: Provides social emotional supports, such as sensory tools, weighted blankets and movement courses that reduce the impact of trauma, anxiety, and frustration. Educator training helps schools implement the program using trauma-informed, equity-centered systems. With Sensory Spaces, environment, students master skills of calm and focus, so they can fully engage in learning.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with disabilities

Where we work

Awards

People's Choice Award for Shadow Project video, to recognize organizations and indivdiuals striving to make a difference in the world 2010

The Annenberg Explore/Hatch Project

Staewide Education Citizen of the Year 2008

Oregon Education Association

"Making a Difference" award in Education 2011

City of Portland

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 children achieving language and literacy proficiency

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

Children, People with learning disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Low-income people

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Number of students increasing in reading proficiency by at least one grade level. (Not applicable during remote learning.)

Number of students who demonstrate improved overall literacy

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

People with learning disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Low-income people, Children

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of Reading Mentors students reading for 20 minutes or more per day.

Number of teachers who report feeling prepared to address diverse student needs, including learning disabilities and limited English proficiency

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

Children, People with learning disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Low-income people

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Teachers who respond at year-end that our Goal Setting program improves their ability to create a culturally-responsive classroom (average = 85% of partner teachers).

Number of students demonstrating responsible behaviors and work habits

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

Children, People with learning disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Low-income people

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of Reading Mentors or Sensory Space students with more class time spent on-task + number of Goal Setting students improving their self-motivation in class

Number of teachers who report feeling equipped to address issues of disability and inclusion

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

People with learning disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Low-income people, Children

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of teachers at year-end who report that our Goal Setting program helps them create a trauma-informed classroom.

Number of teachers trained

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

Adolescents, People with learning disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Low-income people

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Teachers and other school staff participating in our Goal Setting orientation, sensory tools training, or Learning Ally/Reading Mentoring training. (Highly disrupted by COVID remote learning.)

Number of children able to exercise appropriate control in independent and group activities

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

Children, People with learning disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Low-income people

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of students in all programs improving their self-regulating behaviors

Number of students enrolled

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

Children, People with learning disabilities, People with physical disabilities, Low-income people

Related Program

The Shadow Project

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total numbers of student participants per school year (2020 was remote learning year, 2021 was first year back in school for most students)

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 Shadow Project exists to make learning more accessible and engaging for children with disabilities, so they can achieve their full potential. We work with special education teachers in predominantly low-income schools to accelerate achievement and foster autonomy for students who are affected by dyslexia, ADHD, autism and trauma. Over the past 20 years, we have helped more than 17,000 of our community’s most pervasively under-served students to develop essential skills for school and life success, including goal-setting, perseverance, and daily reading. Just over half of these children are from communities of color, facing the intersecting barriers of racism and able-ism.

We envision an education system that normalizes and celebrates learning differences, and supports every student to thrive in school.

Our programs provide evidence-based tools and strategies tailored to the needs of students with learning challenges. We also support educators in integrating these resources into their curricula, building their skills and cultural competency to provide a trauma-informed, culturally responsive learning environment. We are growing our capacity to equip at least 60 schools per year with programs that will ensure students with disabilities receive the support and resources they need to persevere and succeed. In the long term, our programs will remain primarily school-based, but we plan to continue offering virtual programming to support students wherever they are learning, helping to close the achievement gap for capable learners of diverse backgrounds. Goals include:

1. Scale up programs. This includes GOAL SETTING, which equips special education teachers with a proven social-emotional learning system incorporated into daily curricula to increase student motivation, autonomy, and classroom participation. Our READING MENTORS program brings trained volunteer mentors into schools to help students with reading deficits set reading goals and celebrate progress. Children receive unlimited access to assistive reading technology designed for their needs. Our SUPERSENSORY SPACES create healing spaces within schools and build resilience for students with behavioral challenges, providing an outlet for sensory and movement needs within a neurodivergent-specific structure.

2. Empower parents with tools and resources that help their students manage stress and stay engaged in schoolwork through online and social media communications, and our virtual SUMMER GOAL SETTING program.

3. Elevate student voice, especially from BIPOC communities. Current and past students share their stories through short videos and interviews, inspiring other students and raising community appreciation for a population that deserves to be seen and heard.

The Shadow Project envisions a future where all students with disabilities have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. In adaptable classrooms led by teachers who are trained in trauma-informed, neurodivergent-specific strategies and supported with inclusive teaching and sensory tools, students will thrive in an environment where differences are valued and celebrated.

Unfortunately, enduring social stigma and low expectations have created systemic barriers to success for these capable students, resulting in decades of devastating educational outcomes. In 2022, only 46.5% of Oregon students with disabilities graduated on-time with a standard diploma, vs. 78% of their non-disabled peers. A 2023 U.S. Department of Education audit found that Oregon is one of 28 states not meeting the minimum federal requirements for educating students with disabilities.

The Shadow Project is tackling these pervasive disparities by building on our successful model of partnering directly in schools with special education teachers, occupational therapists, and mental and behavioral health professionals. With a shared vision of equitable and just learning environments, together we will work to replace a “one size fits all” approach with flexible learning opportunities that build a school-wide culture of inclusion and rigor. Our programs provide students with access to a range of assistive technologies, tools, and techniques that honor each child’s learning style, history, and experiences. Our model addresses the whole child, not just the disability.

Per our STRATEGIC PLAN, The Shadow Project is:

1. Increasing participation in diverse partnerships and coalitions led by communities with a shared goal of advancing educational equity;

2. Adapting our program structure and delivery in response to changing student needs, to reflect the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 and ongoing racial justice work in our communities;

3. Demonstrating the scaleability of our service model and its transformative effects on school district culture to show the feasibility and tremendous potential of a statewide program expansion;

4. Building demand for systems-change across Oregon by developing a rigorous evaluation model and sophisticated strategies to communicate our impact on students, teachers, and families.

5. Developing sustainable financial and human resources that support the full implementation of our strategic plan and the long-term success of our organization.

The Shadow Project has a strong track record of developing and sustaining impactful programs. In 2015, we tripled our evidence-based programming from one focus to three, fostering academic and social-emotional success for thousands of children in one of Oregon's most under-served student populations. The Shadow Project is:

UNIQUE: We are the only nonprofit in the country that partners directly with special education teachers to foster autonomy, achievement, and social-emotional well-being for children with disabilities, targeting diverse, low-income neighborhoods.

IMPACTFUL: Years of formal evaluation show that Shadow Project students develop strong academic habits such as perseverance and goal setting; improve their focus in class; manage their emotions and limit disruptions; improve their attendance; and grow in reading proficiency by 1-2 grade levels in the space of a single school year. The Harvard Business School Association of Oregon found that every $1 invested in Shadow returns at least $26 in benefits to students and the community.

CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE AND TRAUMA-INFORMED: Our goal is to transform school into an inclusive place where all students can thrive and belong. We provide schools with evidence-based tools and behavior management strategies tailored to the needs of students with learning challenges. We provide continuous support to new and returning educators to help them integrate these resources into their existing curricula, and build their skills in support of trauma-informed, culturally responsive learning environments.

COLLABORATIVE: The Shadow Project is a founding member of the Early Literacy Success Alliance (ELSA), a coalition of nonprofits that work together to improve outcomes for children who are falling through the cracks of our education system. We also work in partnership with Campus Compact of Oregon, an organization committed to advancing institutional equity.

QUALIFIED: Our Executive Director is also the parent of a Portland student in special education and spent 15 years overseeing federal programs to increase college access and completion for underserved populations. Eleven out of fifteen board and staff members identify as neurodivergent or the close family of a neurodivergent individual, in addition to bringing a wealth of professional experience in disabilities justice and advocacy. Our founder received the Oregon Education Association's highest statewide honor; and authored an award-winning children's book that special education teachers use today in their classrooms.

In the 2022-23 school year, Shadow Project programs served 1,954 students at 53 schools in Oregon and Southwest Washington. We partnered with 6 school districts and 1 nonprofit organization in Multnomah, Yamhill, and Clark Counties. For the first time ever, we rolled out multiple programs across an entire school district in East Portland’s Centennial neighborhood, installing 8 new Sensory Spaces and mentoring 65 of the most discouraged readers in one of Portland's most diverse districts.

Teachers using our Goal Setting program in 2022-23 shared that:
• 71% of students improved their ability to achieve Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.
• 63% of students increased self-regulating behavior.
• 64% of students improved in making responsible decisions.
• 65% of students improved their self-motivation.
• 61% of students improved in managing their emotions.

Our SuperSensory Spaces users reported that:
• 100% of students improved their self-regulating behavior.
• 100% of students learned to calm down more quickly.
• 100% of students improved their coping skills.
• 96% of students improved their focus during work times.
• 92% of school staff reported that SuperSensory Spaces contribute to a safer school.
• 92% of school staff reported that SuperSensory Spaces helped address increased student mental health needs following the pandemic.

In these trying times, we are proud that our programs are supporting teachers, too; 94% of our 2022-23 partners said the additional resources motivated them to continue teaching.

Not even two full months into the 2023-24 school year, demand for our programs has been so high that we're already at capacity. We're responding by hiring new staff, recruiting more volunteers, elevating our fundraising strategy, and growing our community connections. In 2022-23, we served almost 2,000 students. This coming school year, we plan to increase that to 2,500; and by the end of 2026, that number will be 3,000. This is still just a fraction of the students in Oregon and Southwest Washington who can benefit from programs like ours. But every student impacted and served counts as a success. And every student who uses our programs to build confidence, resilience, and a love of learning impacts those around them, helping to create stronger, more inclusive schools, neighborhoods, and communities.

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

    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

  • 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 share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

SHADOW PROJECT
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

13.33

Average of 16.43 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

8

Average of 6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

19%

Average of 15% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

SHADOW PROJECT

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

SHADOW PROJECT

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

SHADOW PROJECT

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of SHADOW PROJECT’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $7,258 $23,995 $59,914 $49,929 $70,205
As % of expenses 1.8% 5.7% 14.6% 10.7% 11.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $6,191 $21,099 $57,411 $43,964 $64,434
As % of expenses 1.5% 5.0% 13.9% 9.3% 10.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $411,854 $445,884 $573,087 $599,212 $569,359
Total revenue, % change over prior year 13.2% 8.3% 28.5% 4.6% -5.0%
Program services revenue 16.6% 11.3% 0.0% 15.3% 18.2%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 15.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 83.2% 88.7% 84.9% 84.1% 81.1%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.6% 0.7%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $404,596 $421,889 $410,804 $467,728 $600,324
Total expenses, % change over prior year 5.0% 4.3% -2.6% 13.9% 28.3%
Personnel 68.5% 59.8% 69.3% 67.8% 48.2%
Professional fees 5.2% 7.8% 9.9% 15.1% 25.5%
Occupancy 1.9% 2.4% 2.1% 1.6% 1.7%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 24.5% 29.9% 18.7% 15.5% 24.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $405,663 $424,785 $413,307 $473,693 $606,095
One month of savings $33,716 $35,157 $34,234 $38,977 $50,027
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $1,399 $0 $14,969 $0 $9,093
Total full costs (estimated) $440,778 $459,942 $462,510 $512,670 $665,215

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 4.0 6.1 9.6 9.1 8.0
Months of cash and investments 4.0 6.1 9.6 9.1 8.0
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 5.1 5.6 7.0 7.5 7.0
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $134,428 $214,120 $328,683 $355,828 $402,290
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $6,699 $8,139 $26,829 $95,122 $8,118
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $14,528 $14,528 $29,497 $29,497 $37,241
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 37.5% 57.5% 36.8% 57.0% 57.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.7% 19.3% 9.5% 2.7% 6.3%
Unrestricted net assets $181,077 $202,176 $259,587 $303,551 $367,985
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $106,435 $187,990 $86,820
Total net assets $181,077 $202,176 $366,022 $491,541 $454,805

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No

Operations

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

Documents
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Principal Officer

Sharon Juenemann

Sharon Juenemann is a 20-year veteran leader of educational equity programs for underserved student populations from preschool through college. She has championed educational opportunities for thousands of first-generation college students, immigrant/refugees, and students experiencing poverty, as an administrator and adjunct faculty member at Mt. Hood and Portland Community Colleges. Her passion for Shadow Project’s mission is fueled by her personal experiences as a parent of a child with learning differences. Sharon has a master of arts in adult education from Oregon State University.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

SHADOW PROJECT

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

SHADOW PROJECT

Board of directors
as of 11/17/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Dedee Wilner-Nugent

Wilner-Nugent Consulting

Term: 2020 -

Beth Gandara

Nurse, Kaiser retired

Leslie Waldman

TV Producer

Tom Stenson

Disability Rights Oregon

Emily Hausman

Communications Professional

Austin Erikson

Business Analyst, Hubspot

Deborah Dogba

CEO, Business Seals Consulting

Elizabeth Kuhn-Wilken

Parent & Community Advocate

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 10/16/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/18/2023

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 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.