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Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scale

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Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scale

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the third in a four-blog series: read the first blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs, and the second blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Partnerships first.

Techbridge Girls approached our organizational structure with an eye towards long-term sustainability and the rapid scaling of our afterschool model. To support each new geographic office, we hired an executive director (E.D.)in each of our three regions to oversee local fundraising, operations, and programming. The E.D.s supervised a small staff who delivered the afterschool programs. The E.D.s were also supported by a team in our Oakland, Calif. headquarters, comprising a small national development office, communications support, accounting/finance staff, a program design team, and a human resources consultant.

Expanding to serve girls across the country significantly stretched TBG's infrastructure. The growth of each new region and individual program sites meant triple the number of staff to hire, onboard, and support, which proved very taxing to the existing human resources and finance team. Equally challenging was the need for additional funding to sustain the new regional offices, as the NSF funds reduced each successive year, and two major national funders sunsetted. Finally, in year three of our scale-up, our founder and CEO retired, creating  a leadership and strategic planning gap that left supporters unsure of our future and staff without a clear mission.

To address these challenges, we diversified our fundraising priorities and focused on professionalizing our team of internal fundraisers. To do this, we provided fundraising training, added administrative staff in each region, and used our fundraising database and its data analysis capabilities more effectively.

Staff structure also shifted once the new CEO was in place. The new structure ensured each regional E.D. was supported by staff who could advance both our direct services and professional development programs, providing the capacity to pursue a broader programmatic menu and more diverse funders. As each regional team gained new administrative staff, we began building out our national development staff and finance team. These changes, along with stronger institutional fundraising campaigns, helped us achieve a balanced budget by year four and grew the regional offices’ ability to be financially self-sustaining.

We have remained open to modifying the duties of staff positions as new needs arise. We recognize that just as we strive to prepare our girls for careers in the rapidly changing STEM fields, we as an organization must be adaptable and ready to embrace change.

State of STEM learning in Congress and the White House

Rural STEM Education Act introduced in House   A new bill, H.R. 4979 - Rural STEM Education Act, was introduced in the House on November 5 to address the lack of STEM education opportunities for students in rural areas. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Rep. Lucas (R-Okla.) and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/15/19

An exciting, rewarding experience for our youth

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BY: Guest Blogger      07/16/19

Promoting access to computer science for girls

Earlier this month, CBS’s 60 Minutes highlighted the work of Code.org in expanding access to computer science opportunities for girls. The 60 Minutes piece drew public attention to the growing number of tech-related jobs across the country and the lack of women currently filling these...

BY: Leah Silverberg      03/26/19

STEM learning in the president’s FY2020 budget proposal

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BY: Chris Neitzey      03/25/19

Free STEM resources for afterschool programs from Science Buddies

By Amy Cowen, online community manager at Science Buddies. Science Buddies, a non-profit organization providing free K-12 STEM education resources, strives to build STEM literacy by delivering fun and engaging STEM activities to all students, whether it is in school, out of school, or at home....

BY: Guest Blogger      03/08/19

National Leap Into Science Week celebrates science & literacy learning in OST

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/22/19

Participate in new research on STEAM in out-of-school time

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BY: Leah Silverberg      02/21/19

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Get the latest afterschool STEM news in your inbox

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this January. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/24/19

Guest blog: Bridging the equity gap via virtual inspiration

By Shelbie E. Wolfe, AmeriCorps STEM Ecosystems VISTA. For the past 7 years, the Afterschool Alliance has been a proud sponsor organization for national AmeriCorps VISTA projects, supporting State Afterschool Networks and STEM Ecosystems to increase the access to and quality of enrichment...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/27/18

Structuring for scale-up success: Partnerships first

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the second in a four-blog series: read the first blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs. During the last...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/12/19

Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the first in a four-blog series: read the second blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Partnerships first. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs are...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/06/19

Promoting access to computer science for girls

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BY: Leah Silverberg      03/26/19

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

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BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

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BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

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BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Storytelling & mentoring can bring STEM's Hidden Figures into the spotlight

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BY: Guest Blogger      02/26/18

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

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BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Education Innovation and Research grant provides opportunities for student apprenticeships

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BY: Leah Silverberg      11/05/18

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

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BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

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BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

On February 12, the White House released its FY19 budget request. As expected, it reiterated much of the FY18 request, including deep cuts to and elimination of many discretionary programs. This year’s request was made more confusing due to the congressional budget deal reached just days...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      02/22/18

Stay informed about STEM with the Afterschool STEM Hub newsletter

Brought to you by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab Report is dedicated to continuously providing advocates with the tools they need to make the case for out-of-school time STEM learning. The Afterschool Lab Report is sent each quarter,...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/22/18