Insights, News

GreenLight Strategy Sessions: Engaging our portfolio and advisors through targeted problem-solving

Apr 24, 2017

San Francisco Bay Area


As GreenLight’s portfolio organizations grow in our communities, they often grapple with strategic questions involving local growth and sustainability. Springboard Collaborative faces such questions as they enter their third summer of work in the Bay Area. To help local Springboard Collaborative Executive Director, Jeff Feinman, think through these key issues, GreenLight brought together a group of advisors for our first-ever portfolio organization strategy session. In order to further take advantage of the expertise of our cross-sector, impact-oriented advisory council, we convened a core group to meet and help Jeff think through Springboard’s growth in the Bay.

Springboard Collaborative was chosen to scale to the Bay Area with GreenLight in 2015 to fill the unmet local need of summer learning loss. Lower-income children tend to experience a loss in their learning gains during the summer months, a time when their higher-income peers have access to expensive academic summer activities. This leaves these students starting the school year behind their peers, and makes it even more difficult for them to reach grade-level success. Springboard combines teacher professional development, family engagement, and innovative curriculum to offer a 5-week literacy intensive to elementary school students. Springboard students on average see a 3.2-month gain in learning by the end of the intensive, compared to an average 3-month loss amongst low-income students around the country.

Springboard’s pilot summer in Oakland Unified School District was extremely successful, serving almost 500 students and families. This past summer, Springboard quadrupled their services in Oakland, serving over 1500 students. Now, Springboard Collaborative is primed to pilot their model in San Jose and San Francisco, while continuing to serve their Oakland students. GreenLight’s advisory council worked with Jeff to consider different financial models to make Springboard’s growth both feasible and sustainable for local districts, while continuing to achieve greater scale with Springboard’s ambitious growth plan. They also discussed Springboard’s founding local advisory board, which Jeff is currently cultivating.

After the session, Jeff reflected on the experience, stating “The strategy session helped to reinforce my instincts around certain organizational challenges for which I needed additional perspective.  The group was totally engaged and gave their opinions freely.  I left with fresh ideas to bring back to our leadership team for further consideration, and will be following-up with several of the guests who expressed interest in supporting our work as board members.”

We look forward to introducing these strategy sessions as another key way that GreenLight’s investment goes beyond dollars – truly investing our time and talent, as well as our advisory council, to ensure our portfolio organizations have a strong, sustainable foothold in our local communities.

If you are interested in working with Springboard Collaborative’s local board, contact Executive Director Jeff Feinman at [email protected]