Community-Centered Growth in the Midst of a Pandemic

by | Jul 23, 2020 | Insider

From the start, Inversant has committed to making higher education attainable to everyone in the US.

As we enter a pivotal crossroads in the organization’s ten-year history, we stretch further into that mission.

We recognize that moving from a founder lead and funded organization to a community and donor-supported organization takes a coordinated effort.

In this edition, we share how:

  • We’re navigating through this evolution.
  • The steps we’re taking to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on our families.
  • How we’re advancing community efforts through local advisory groups.

Read on to learn how we’re creating community-centered growth in the midst of a pandemic. With your care and support, we continue to serve our families and advance our services.

PROGRAM UPDATES

Online Workshops

During COVID-19, we’ve ramped up one-on-one phone conversations with families. As the programs team reaches out, we’re hearing stories of:

  • Isolation. Low and moderate-income families feel isolated during COVID-19. They don’t believe financial aid is available to them.
  • Fear. They feel as if they’re on their own with little to no support.
  • Frustration. Many express frustrations over a complicated education and financial aid system. They need an easier way to navigate the process, now more than ever.

To that end, we’re working to simplify and demystify higher education. We recently launched our first iteration of online workshops.

Through Video Ask, we’re able to provide a transparent and personalized solution. Families can interact, engage, and learn from our team from the comfort of their own homes.

We’ll continue to refine this process as we expand our workshops. It’s an exciting time even amid so much uncertainty.

Pizza Party

We know how difficult the last several months have been for Inversant families. From graduation ceremonies to prom, coronavirus wiped out so many once-in-a-lifetime moments.

What it left was a large space where signature coming-of-age moments should be. As Inversant parents and seniors shared their devastation, we knew we had to act.

In a matter of weeks, our team organized a virtual celebration. Not a makeshift moment, but a household graduation party complete with:

  • Commencement Speech from CEO, Charlie Desmond
  • Remarks from Founder, Bob Hildreth
  • Certificates of Completion for Inversant Students and Parents
  • Congratulatory Message from Inversant’s Staff
  • Words of Wisdom from Inversant Program Interns
  • Animated Collage of Message and Photos from Student Parents

And all was pre-recorded for families to watch and enjoy with pizzas delivered straight to their door.

Beginning on June 22nd and running through July 1st, we celebrated 164 seniors in 159 households.

But we couldn’t make any of this happen without your support.

Our campaign goal for the Pizza Party was to raise $5,000.00 to cover pizza, delivery, and other party expenses. We far exceeded expectations raising a total of $7,863.00!

Thank you to everyone who contributed time, effort, and, generous donations!

ADVANCEMENT UPDATES

Alumni Assistance Fund

The unprecedented nature of the Coronavirus pandemic is calling for extraordinary measures. That’s why Inversant Founder, Bob Hildreth committed $50,000 to the Alumni Assistance Fund.

The fund was set up to support unexpected expenses, making them accessible to families in need.

Over the last several months, we’ve spoken with families devastated by COVID-19. One family shared excitement over their daughter’s acceptance to her dream college.

One week later, that enthusiasm turned to worry when both the father and mother had lost their jobs. Sure, they could tap into their college savings fund, but then what? How would they realize their daughter’s dream?

That’s why we moved quickly to launch our new Alumni Assistance Engagement campaign. As coronavirus continues to hit our high-risk communities the hardest, we’re determined to:

  • Support our Inversant families, ensuring we support their immediate needs.
  • Disburse $50,000 in assistance funds to Inversant Alumni suffering from job loss, illness, and other devastating effects of the virus.

Our initial outreach includes a survey to gauge the impact on current and previous families. We’ll ask a series of questions with customized follow up to determine eligibility.

We have over 900 alumni families and look forward to supporting each one of them!

Will you join Bob in the “Chairman’s Challenge” and help us match his commitment of $50,000? 

Look for further details to join the challenge coming up soon!

BOARD UPDATES

Board Director

Are you the next Inversant Board Director? If you’re interested in exploring board service, our nominations and vetting process is underway.

To apply, you can nominate yourself or nominate someone you know. Send an email to [email protected] to share your interest.

If Board Director isn’t your cup of tea, we’re also looking for Advisory Group members.

Advisory Groups

We’re in the beginning stages of our community advisory groups. The goal of each group is to inform and guide Inversant as we look to open up programs to entire communities.

These advisory groups provide critical local knowledge and insight. We’re eager to learn and grow through these invaluable partnerships.

With cross-sector advisory groups across the Boston area, we will:

  • Create a community feedback loop that informs our programs team. As we expand our workshops, we’ll learn how to adapt to meet community needs.
  • Advance community involvement as we begin to extend services into new sectors. We’re only as strong as our community!
  • Deepen community involvement with key organizational stakeholders, our Inversant families.

DONOR SPOTLIGHT

This year we welcome Eastern Bank back to Inversant’s circle of supporters. Founded in 1818 and headquartered in Boston, Eastern Bank has 120 locations in eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire.

Eastern Bank serves by providing financial support to over 1,500 local nonprofits. Inversant is proud to be in that number. Through the generosity of their Charitable Foundation sponsorship and grant efforts, Eastern Bank partners with community organizations to improve financial literacy.

Thank you, Eastern Bank for all you do. We truly appreciate the support you’ve shown throughout the years!

YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT

We’re living in unprecedented times. As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, we focus on the silver lining in our current situation.

To borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens, it’s a melancholy truth that it takes a deadly pandemic to unite us.

We see that bonding happening daily. From students to their parents, educators, and our team here at Inversant… we’re all in this together.

Thank you for your continued support. We’re on a mission to give agency to our families. By giving Agency, we are creating Agents of Change.

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