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January 2012

Date: 
Thu, 2012-01-05

 

Philanthropic and Business Leadership: An Interview with VPP Board Member Frank LaPrade

Frank LaPrade, Chief Enterprise Services Officer and Chief of Staff to the CEO at Capital One Financial Corporation, recently joined VPP’s board. Staff spoke with him about his thoughts on the similarities between nonprofit and business leaders, the philanthropic mindset of Capital One, VPP’s first corporate partner, and what he hopes to accomplish on VPP’s Board.

Q: Tell us about your professional journey to become the Chief of Staff to the CEO of Capital One.

I started my career out of law school as a commercial and intellectual property litigator at McGuire Woods in Richmond, Virginia. It is a great firm, and I was fortunate to work with a host of talented lawyers, including a few who were mentors and really taught me to think and act like a lawyer. In 1995, Capital One spun off from a regional bank and became a public company. I knew several people at Capital One and was always struck by two things--the amazing quality of the people, and their tremendous passion for building a great company. I joined Capital One shortly after it became a public company and served in a variety of legal roles, ultimately becoming Deputy General Counsel. In 2004 our CEO, Rich Fairbank, created a new position and asked me to become his Chief of Staff. I accepted immediately, and that was the best professional decision I have ever made.

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Being Remembered as a Great Giver; Eddie Goldman's Impact at Friendship and Beyond

Editor’s Note: This profile of Eddie Goldman, a scholar athlete and student at VPP investment partner Friendship Public Charter Schools, was written by Derrick Watkins, Communications Manager at Friendship.

Nearly two months ago during an interview with NBC Washington, Friendship Collegiate Academy football star Eddie Goldman nobly told reporters, “I haven’t really done anything yet.” But if being a five-star defensive tackle with 50 scholarship offers from the nation’s top colleges and universities suggests that Eddie hasn’t really done anything yet, then the rest of us may be in big trouble.

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           JANUARY 2012

Mario Morino
Mario Morino

Let’s Get Down to Business—But Without the ‘Business’ Rhetoric

In the midst of the holidays, the Wall Street Journal published a special report on philanthropy. In appropriate journalistic fashion, the editors framed the report around a provocative question: Should philanthropies operate like businesses?

In a letter to the editor, I expressed my concern that it is deeply counterproductive to Hamlet over whether to be or not to be business-like. I feared the report would rekindle contentious arguments about the relative virtues of businesses and nonprofits, a dynamic described so well by Tynesia Boyea Robinson in her essay in Leap of Reason and by Mindy Tarlow in the Urban Institute’s recent “Tough Times, Creative Measures” symposium (page 5).

In the extended, unedited version of my letter, here’s how I put it:

[Strong performance] is about leaders defining their approaches, rigorously assessing progress, and quickly adapting and improving. These practices are not the sole province of business! Good leaders in any sector want to augment good intentions and intuition with the best data they can get their hands on. They can’t sleep at night when they don’t know whether they’re on course to achieve the results they seek. They’re obsessed with finding ways of doing better what they do for those they serve.

In this era of scarcity, we can’t afford to bog down in squabbles over semantics. We can’t afford to waste precious time on unproductive debates over “business versus nonprofit” or “mission versus metrics.” Instead, we have to take the best of both worlds and effectively blend them to make us much more effective. And we must do it with urgency as a result of the harsh fiscal realities at the local, state, and national levels.

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Philanthropic and Business Leadership: An Interview with VPP Board Member Frank LaPrade

Frank LaPrade, Chief Enterprise Services Officer and Chief of Staff to the CEO at Capital One Financial Corporation, recently joined VPP’s board. Staff spoke with him about his thoughts on the similarities between nonprofit and business leaders, the philanthropic mindset of Capital One, VPP’s first corporate partner, and what he hopes to accomplish on VPP’s Board.

Frank LaPrade
Frank LaPrade

Q: Tell us about your professional journey to become the Chief of Staff to the CEO of Capital One.

I started my career out of law school as a commercial and intellectual property litigator at McGuire Woods in Richmond, Virginia. It is a great firm, and I was fortunate to work with a host of talented lawyers, including a few who were mentors and really taught me to think and act like a lawyer. In 1995, Capital One spun off from a regional bank and became a public company. I knew several people at Capital One and was always struck by two things--the amazing quality of the people, and their tremendous passion for building a great company. I joined Capital One shortly after it became a public company and served in a variety of legal roles, ultimately becoming Deputy General Counsel. In 2004 our CEO, Rich Fairbank, created a new position and asked me to become his Chief of Staff. I accepted immediately, and that was the best professional decision I have ever made. The role has a wide variety of responsibilities, engaging with all of our businesses and staff units across the company on all types of issues. Basically my job has been a combination of being a catalyst across the organization to bring people together to help drive our CEO and business leaders' agendas, as well as being an advisor to the CEO and others. In addition, I have operating responsibility for our Information Technology, Brand Marketing, Digital, and Corporate Development functions, so I am fortunate to have an incredibly diverse job working with a fantastic team.

Q: What philanthropic activities have you been involved in through your position at Capital One?

Since its inception, Capital One has been focused on helping the communities where our associates and customers work and live. We focus on education, financial literacy and community development in communities. Our work doesn't end with writing a check, although financial support of community efforts is a vital part of what we do. We also strive to drive innovation in our philanthropic efforts and to empower our people to volunteer and devote their time, hearts, and ingenuity to our communities. For example, we have helped bring unique initiatives such as Finance Park (a program in partnership with Junior Achievement where students learn about financial responsibility through role play) and student-run branches in high schools where kids learn about banking as they staff a fully functional branch. Through the years, I have been involved either personally or through the company with a number of these efforts, including mentoring in low income schools, working on technology donations to schools, helping build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and various other projects. In addition, in my role as Chief of Staff, I am focused on supporting the company's broader community and philanthropic agenda.

Q: How have your professional career and your interests influenced how you give back to your community?

I am very fortunate to work for a company that is devoted to community service--there's never a conflict between my professional and community interests and they are uniformly supported. And, because of that support, Capital One has opened doors for me (and thousands of other associates in the company) to get involved. It's incredibly energizing to work at a place that believes in community involvement and understands its significance as a matter of corporate and social responsibility.

Q: As Chief of Staff to Capital One’s CEO, you know how important strong executive leadership is to successful companies. What do you think are the biggest leadership and management issues for nonprofit organizations?

I think the biggest challenges for nonprofits tend to vary depending on the organization, just like business challenges can vary. That said, at a high level, I think there is a lot of commonality between the leadership challenges in business and nonprofits. My experience has been that when initiatives are successful in business, they embody several key attributes: (1) there is a clarity about the destination--precisely what you are trying to achieve--and that mission is well-communicated and understood by the organization; (2) there is top down support for the goal; (3) the mission is funded; (4) there is a rigorous plan to execute with clear governance and accountabilities. When those elements come together, magic can happen. If any of them are missing, it can be very challenging to get traction.

Q: Why did you decide to become a VPP board member?

The thing that most fascinated me about VPP was the ability to help organizations build capacity and scalability. Rather than just funding programs through investments and advice, VPP takes promising organizations and scales them up, creating the ability to serve the community in a more effective way. It amplifies the work being done, providing horsepower and brainpower to its portfolio organizations. That approach, rather than just funding projects, made so much sense to me and is not unlike how we look at our venture capital efforts at our company.

Q: What do you hope you will achieve through your time on VPP’s board?

Obviously, I want to contribute any way I can to help make the right investments and support the organizations we fund. Honestly, it would be presumptuous, and likely limiting, to declare what I want to achieve at this point. VPP has so many amazing people on its Board and staff. My hope is to get to know them well, learn from them, and then use my talents and relationships as best as possible to help the team deliver on its goals.

Q:Tell us about your first charitable or philanthropic act.

The first act I ever remember was my mom helping me box up clothes and toys around Christmas to donate to Goodwill. I was young, probably 5 or 6 years old, but my mom taught me an important lesson—the biggest impact of giving actually isn't on the recipient. It's the profound impact it can have on the giver.

Being Remembered as a Great Giver; Eddie Goldman's Impact at Friendship and Beyond

Eddie Goldman
Eddie Goldman

Editor’s Note: This profile of Eddie Goldman, a scholar athlete and student at VPP investment partner Friendship Public Charter Schools, was written by Derrick Watkins, Communications Manager at Friendship.

Nearly two months ago during an interview with NBC Washington, Friendship Collegiate Academy football star Eddie Goldman nobly told reporters, “I haven’t really done anything yet.” But if being a five-star defensive tackle with 50 scholarship offers from the nation’s top colleges and universities suggests that Eddie hasn’t really done anything yet, then the rest of us may be in big trouble.

Towering over most classmates at nearly 6’4” tall and 310 pounds of potential, it’s ironic that the first word most people have used to describe Eddie since his days at Friendship’s Blow Pierce Middle School is “humble.” But humble he is, with a realistic perspective that keeps recruiters on his heels, an outstanding academic career at his fingertips, and a city on the edge of its seat, eager to learn which team he will play for next year. In fact, Friendship Athletic Director and Head Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim said that humility is Eddie’s greatest asset.

“He’s one of the most humble kids on our team. This process is crazy when you’ve got head coaches from some of the schools other kids may dream of going to actually giving him a call,” Coach Rahim said.

Head Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim
Head Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim

Although Eddie is the No. 1-rated defensive lineman in the entire nation, he knows that upon signing his letter of intent, which he will do in February, his No. 1 rating no longer carries the weight it did during recruitment season. The hoopla, signs bearing his name and number, and countless kicks from cheerleaders have to be earned all over again. But Eddie is prepared to do just that.

“I’m not big-headed, because I know when I get to college it’s all going to go away,” Eddie said. While Eddie’s parents are proud of their son, neither is surprised at his accomplishments. They are both graduates of DC’s Dunbar Senior High School, the nation’s first high school for African-Americans. His mother said although she encouraged him to attend their alma mater, Eddie had his eyes on a personal goal to make Friendship proud.

“I tried to get him to go to Dunbar, but he wanted to go to Collegiate. He told me that he was going to put Friendship on the map, and I believed him,” said Sharon Davis, Eddie’s mother. “I hope he goes all the way. This has been his dream for a long time.”

Eddie’s father, Eddie Muhammad, who shares his son’s passion for sports, said that he recognized his son’s potential when he was very young. “Eddie had passion for the game. I always knew he had the potential for success. He was always humble, but Eddie goes hard,” Muhammad said. And “going hard” for him wasn’t limited to the football field. Eddie challenged himself with Advanced Placement classes and honors classes at Collegiate, making sure he upheld Friendship’s expectation that its athletes are as committed to scholarship as the sports they love.

“Eddie is important to DC. He works hard in the classroom and on the field,” said Friendship Chairman and CEO Donald L. Hense. “Our students learn that getting into college and graduating with a degree is every bit as important as the sport they love. Eddie is yet another example of the great things that are happening at Friendship.”

These great things were on display last month at the VPP Holiday Party, which featured speeches by Eddie, Hense, and another one of Friendship’s star football players, Albert Reid. Albert and Eddie thanked Hense for his vision and said they would not be where they are today without the opportunities Friendship has provided.

Eddie is the older brother of two aspiring athletes, 12 year old Tonia (nearly 6 feet tall herself), who plays center for her middle school basketball team, and his ten year old brother CJ, who wants to follow in his big brother’s footsteps in football.

Eddie will be the first in his family to attend college. Tonia says she is proud of her brother. “I watched my brother grow into a super star,” she said as she watched Eddie during an ESPN interview.

Goldman and teammates
Goldman and his teammates

Teammates like wide receiver Antonio Huff and lineman Marquis Roland don’t take lightly the attention Eddie brings to their team. “It motivates me a lot,” said Huff. “To see someone I practice with everyday excel as a player and a man is overwhelming. It brings more publicity to me. I am thankful that he’s helping me out.”

According to Eddie, the greatest feeling comes from giving. In fact, rather than be remembered as a great athlete, Eddie would like people to remember him as a helper. And if that is the case, mission accomplished.

Although Eddie may think he hasn’t done anything yet, his score card is full: he leaves hope to thousands of boys and girls throughout Washington, DC, (including his siblings) that dreams can come true with hard work; he has brought publicity to teammates—increasing their chances to earn scholarships to great schools; he has inspired family and schoolmates to give their very best in life; and most of all, Eddie accomplished his goal of making Friendship proud.

Year Up National Capital Region Completes Second Annual Review of Partnership

Last month, VPP’s first investment partner in its second fund, Year Up National Capital Region (NCR), completed the annual review process and entered into another year of partnership with VPP.

2011 was a year of transitions for Year Up NCR and it ended the investment period with significant results for the youth it serves. A smooth hand-off occurred between former Executive Director Tynesia Boyea-Robinson and current Executive Director Ronda Harris Thompson. During this transition, Year Up NCR was able to maintain its level of performance from the previous year, as well as accomplish additional milestones.

“The partnership between Year Up NCR and VPP remains strong,” said Shirley Marcus Allen, VPP’s lead partner on the investment. “Its innovative work delivering workforce development services to disconnected youth makes it a leader in the region, as well as the nation. All of us at VPP look forward to working with Ronda and her team within the coming year to accomplish their goals.

Year Up NCR built on its program growth from last year, serving 240 students this year, an increase of 50%. Students in the July 2011 class boasted having the highest graduation rate in the history of the site, with a retention rate of 72%. Over 85% of these graduates went on to high-paying jobs or enrolled in higher education.

Another large part of the Year Up investment partnership is alumni engagement and tracking. This year, Year Up NCR implemented its first alumni survey to track the outcomes of the program over longer periods of time and laid the foundation for a broader evaluation of programmatic effectiveness. Year Up NCR staff also made significant strides in connecting alumni with current students and engaging alumni in organizational planning.

“The true reflection of Year Up’s impact is our alumni outcomes,” said Thompson. “VPP’s investment is ensuring we have the infrastructure and resources we need to empower our graduates and promote successful, long-term careers.”

The investment agreement with Year Up will total $4.5 million over 50 months. With the $1.2 million committed for the 2012 period, the cumulative funding to date amounts to approximately $4.1 million, including the initial business planning process.


Urban Institute and VPP Release “Tough Times, Creative Measures”

Sparked by the publication of Leap of Reason by VPP co-founder and Chairman Mario Morino, the Urban Institute hosted a symposium in October to explore barriers to and opportunities for making performance management more common in the social sector. Last month, Urban Institute and VPP released a summary report of this event.

The symposium was part of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy’s fifteenth anniversary series of events. The report includes quotes from over 20 of the industry’s leading thinkers on nonprofit outcomes. The discussion, as seen in the quotes from the report, touches on topics such as: strategies for nonprofit outcomes management, the challenges to implementing these systems, and the need for standards.

You can download the full report on the Urban Institute website here.

Guide Released to Help Practitioners Measure Youth Outcomes

Last fall, the Forum for Youth Investment, a nonprofit policy center that encourages college and career readiness, released “From Soft Skills to Hard Data,” a guide to assist youth-serving practitioners in measuring their outcomes.

The guide focuses on the measurement of “21st century skills,” or skills related to a youth’s social-emotional development (sometimes called “soft skills.”) The guide identifies several different tools to measure these skills and analyzes their usefulness in different contexts. Its purpose is to assist practitioners in their decisions to use tools or certain outcomes in programmatic measurement.

You can access the full guide here.

  

CentroNía Celebrates 25 Years of Educating Children, Youth, and Families

Thanks to Laura Anduze, Communications and Marketing Manager, for this update.

On Saturday, December 5, 2011 over 220 community leaders, government figures, corporate partners, and supporters gathered at American University’s Katzen Arts Center to celebrate CentroNía’s 25th Birthday Bash – an event commemorating CentroNía’s 25-year history serving children, youth, parents, and families in DC and Maryland. The organization began as Calvary Bilingual Multicultural Learning Center, a few steps from its present main campus on Columbia Road, where it initially served 15 children. CentroNía now serves 2,500 children and youth across five campuses in the areas of education, nutrition, and family services.

CNDec11
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, BB Otero, Dennis Davison, Partner at McKenna Long and Aldridge and Chairman of CentroNía’s Board of Directors, and Myrna Peralta, CentroNía’s President and CEO

The event also honored the legacy of CentroNía’s founder, Beatriz "BB" Otero who was appointed Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services for the District of Columbia in February of 2011. The event featured performances by CentroNía’s Studio Rocks Choir, Ritmo Latino Dance Group, and Los Charlys Afro-Latino Band.

"It was a night to remember! You could see it in the faces of the children who performed, the guests, and in the many tributes that took place over course of the evening", expressed Myrna Peralta, CentroNía’s President and CEO. "We were humbled by the testimonies of the many lives we have touched over a 25 year span and realized that CentroNía must continue to support the low-income, working families in our community".

College Summit Featured as a “Harris’ Hero”

Thanks to Vinette Brown, Director of Development, for this update.

On December 29th College Summit-National Capital Region (NCR) was featured on ABC local news during their weekly Harris’ Heroes segment. The story focused on the progress College Summit’s partner school Surrattsville High in Prince George’s County has made in building a college-going culture and increasing its college enrollment rates. The story and video of the segment can be found here on ABC’s site.

KIPP DC Schools Receive Top Ratings from DC Public Charter School Board

Thanks to Lindsay Kelly, Communications Manager, for this update.

KIPPDC Logo

Last December, the DC Public Charter School Board and Mayor Gray announced the results of the Performance Management Framework (PMF), a new evaluation tool created by the DC Public Charter School Board to assess and monitor charter school performance.

KIPP Dec11

According to the PMF, Tier 1 schools meet standards of high performance; Tier 2 schools fall short of high performance standards but meet minimum overall performance; and Tier 3 schools fall significantly short of high performance standards and could face closure for their inadequate performance.

Every school in the KIPP DC network that was eligible to receive a ranking received a Tier 1 rating on the Performance Management Framework.

KIPP DC’s high school, KIPP DC: College Preparatory, received the highest rating of any charter high school. Its three middle schools (KEY, WILL, and AIM) were rated second, third, and fourth amongst charter middle schools in the District of Columbia. Unlike the DC CAS score reports, which only measure absolute performance, the PMF takes into account multiple measures, specifically around growth over time and high school and college readiness, to more holistically evaluate each school.

Allison Fansler, KIPP DC’s President and Chief Operating Officer explained, “It is no small feat to receive four Tier 1 rankings and to have our high school and middle schools recognized as the top-performers amongst the District’s charter schools. Our rankings are a testament to the hard-working students and teachers in our schools who will stop at nothing to achieve success.”

LAYC Children Receive Shoes from Payless Shoes

Thanks to Araceli Curiel Rosenberger, Communications Specialist/ Grant Writer, for this update.

Students at Harriet Tubman Elementary School received an early holiday gift from Payless ShoeSource: a new pair of shoes.

LAYC Dec11
The Students at Tubman Elementary

This year LAYC became a Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids partner. As a community partner LAYC distributed shoe vouchers to families with children in need, including 20 vouchers that went to the children of Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman Elementary School participates in LAYC's Supplemental Educational Services (SES) program, which provides K-12 DC Public Schools' (DCPS) students with academic support in reading, language arts, and mathematics to help them succeed in school and become engaged learners.

Holiday Cheer at Mary’s Center

Thanks to Amy S. Bruno, Development and Communications Associate, for this update.

Mary's Center


Party attendees meet Santa

The annual Mary’s Center Holiday Party had it all: piping hot chocolate served by Mary’s Center Founder and President/CEO Maria Gomez, fun toys for children of all ages, countless paper snowflakes, and an array of holiday lawn ornaments flanking a jolly Santa (who moonlights as Mary’s Center Chief Operations Officer David Tatro).

At the party, children had an opportunity to meet and have their picture taken with Santa, receive a gift, and enjoy refreshments. Volunteers also distributed Gomez’s hot chocolate and made balloon animals to entertain families while they waited to meet Santa. Over 400 children attended the party last month and all left with a full belly, something fun to play with, and a photo of them sitting on Santa’s lap.

In order to provide comprehensive service to this community, Mary’s Center’s dental staff work hand in hand with the Center’s health promotion department to ensure participants also receive all the counseling and support necessary to help them reduce stress and overcome the many challenges they face every day.

Traditionally, the holiday party is such fun that staff and volunteers look forward to it as much as Mary’s Center’s youngest clients. The Mary’s Center family would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

The 200 Hats Challenge

Thanks to Laura O'Connor, Director of Communications, for this update.

Students at The SEED School of Washington, DC got into the holiday spirit this season by participating in the “200 Hats Challenge.” At the beginning of November, students were given a Knifty Knitter loom and were challenged to make as many hats as they could in one week. Before the students went home for the holidays they delivered the hats to three nonprofits serving sick and homeless families and children: Back on My Feet, Martha’s Table, and the Children’s National Medical Center. Check out the results of the 200 Hats Challenge in this inspirational video.

Maya Angelou Public Charter School Students Join on Department of Education Panel

Thanks to Brandon Morris, See Forever Foundation/Maya Angelou Schools – AmeriCorps VISTA, for this update.

Over 1,500 supporters registered to walk with LAYC on the National Mall, November 19th, raising over $17,000 for LAYC’s housing programs. LAYC also expects additional funds from the Fannie Mae Foundation for reaching 1,500 registered walkers.

SFF Jan11
Nataly Anne Del Valle and Kiya Annisse Gregg outside the panel

On Friday, December 9, 2011, the United States Department of Education (USDOE) held a panel discussion for the grantees of its High School Graduation Initiative Fund, a federal grant program focused on dropout prevention and recovery. Two students, Nataly Anne Del Valle and Kiya Annisse Gregg from Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools’ Evans High School Campus, were invited to discuss their past issues with the school, why they became unengaged, and the reasons for their return to school.

They told their stories of how they are overcoming their respective academic and socio-economic obstacles. They spoke passionately about the people that keep them motivated. Gregg finds this strength from her twin sister and Del Valle from her mother. Both young women also emphasized the importance of the Maya Angelou Schools family.

The USDOE discussion culminated in a standing ovation after Del Valle, when asked what advice she would offer to staff members looking to assist students who have fallen off track, said: “Never, ever give up on us. Never.”

“In the world of education and school reform, our students have the most to gain, as well as the most to lose,” said See Forever Foundation and Maya Angelou Schools’ Executive Director Dr. Lucretia Murphy. “They are on the frontlines. They must continue to be made the priority. As educators, we should never forget that.”

Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) is a philanthropic investment organization that helps great leaders build strong, high-performing nonprofit institutions. It concentrates money, expertise, and personal contacts to improve the lives of and boost the opportunities for children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region and cultivates a growing donor community of high net worth families to generate funding and influence in support of these institutions and of social change.
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