Educational Institutions

Bottom Line Inc

  • Boston, MA
  • www.bottomline.org

Mission Statement

Bottom Line was founded in 1997 to address the low college graduation rates among disadvantaged urban youth. Our services help low-income and first-generation students get in to college, graduate from college, and go far in life. We achieve this mission by providing students with consistent, one-on-one counselor support from college applications until college graduation.

Main Programs

  1. College Access Program (MA)
  2. College Success Program (MA)
Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

In each of our service regions (Boston & Worcester, Chicago, and New York City) we serve low-income and first-generation college students from every neighborhood.students from every neighborhood. We continue to support these students as they attend 25 colleges across Massachusetts, 10 in Illinois and 20 in New York.

ruling year

1997

Principal Officer since 2015

Self-reported

Mr. Virgil J. Jones

Co Principal Officer since 2015

Self-reported

Mr. Greg Johnson

Keywords

Self-reported

College, education, disadvantaged, low-income, retention, access, high school, graduation, mentoring, counseling, scholarships, degree, success, persistence

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014.
Register now

Also Known As

Bottom Line

EIN

04-3351427

 Number

6123667025

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Student Services and Organizations (B80)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Many elements negatively affect student persistence in college: delaying enrollment after high school, being financially independent, caring for dependents, and working full-time. These circumstances are common among low-income and first-generation students, who often come from schools and families that lack a reliable source of knowledgeable advice and steady guidance pertaining to college. As a result, these students have strikingly low success rates. For example, only 29% of low-income college students across the country graduate college within six years, and just 30% of Black and Latino college students from one of our service regions (Boston) graduate within six years. To address this issue, Bottom Line provides the support of a role model, counselor, and mentor and helps students overcome academic, financial, and personal challenges that they face as they journey to and through college. Since our founding in 1997, 78.5% of our students have graduated within 6 years. In 2010, an independent evaluator found that Bottom Line students were up to 43 percentage points more likely to graduate from college than their peers (see "independent research" field below for more details). In 2014, Bottom Line began a more rigorous assessment of our programs' effectiveness and launched a long-term, randomized control trial evaluation (RCT), conducted by Professor Ben Castleman of the University of Virginia. This study will allow us to demonstrate the effectiveness of our high-touch service model. We will track the academic progress of students from the Control Group (eligible students who do not receive our support) against those from the Treatment Group (eligible students enrolled in Bottom Line). This is one of the first rigorous evaluations to be conducted of college success programs in the country. We believe that it will make our services more efficient, attract support from major funders, and provide insights which will benefit the education community as a whole. During the 2015-2016 school year, Bottom Line supported over 4,965 high school seniors and college students from Boston, Worcester, New York City and Chicago. In Boston, we continue to execute a five-year initiative within the city's poorest neighborhoods - Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan - to establish a permanent network of long-term guidance to and through college for low-income, first-generation students from these neighborhoods.In the 2016-2017 school year Bottom Line is supporting 6,190 high school and college students. In Boston & Worecester we will be working with 3,292 high school and college students. We are pleased to share that the majority of 4-year college students from Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan will have a Bottom Line counselor from their first day of college until they graduate. Our New York City team will be supporting 2,239 high school and college students and our Chicago team will be supporting 659 high school and college students.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

College Access Program (MA)

Students begin working with Bottom Line during their junior or senior year of high school. At first meetings, students discuss their interests, aspirations, academic history, and family circumstances with a Bottom Line counselor. Once students commit to our program, counselors help them navigate every step of the college application process. While the specific services Bottom Line provides differ to suit individual needs, our counselors typically help students in five areas: college lists, essays, applications, financial aid, and making a college choice. Counselors build a strong relationship with each student during regularly scheduled one-hour meetings, which allows them to support students through any obstacles that arise during the application process. When college acceptance and financial aid award letters arrive in the spring, Bottom Line helps each student review their options to select a college that best suits their academic, financial, and personal needs.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$976,618.00

Program 2

College Success Program (MA)

After college decisions are made, students who elect to attend a ""target school"" are invited to join the College Success Program. A target school is one of 24 Massachusetts colleges that a large percentage of our students attend. As a first step to succeeding in college, students participate in transitional programming during the summer before their freshman year. Counselors work with students in groups and individually to prepare them for the academic rigor and cultural shock of college. This programming includes several workshops and events, as well as enrollment assistance, financial aid advising, and general problem solving during individual meetings. Once students arrive on campus, Bottom Line becomes a financial aid advocate, academic advisor, career counselor, and mentor. We offer consistent support to students in four areas: Degree, Employability, Aid, and Life (DEAL). Assisting our students in earning a degree means helping them select a suitable major, monitor their academic progress, develop strategies to improve their performance, and connect with tutors, advisors, and on-campus resources. We assist students in renewing financial aid annually, but also help year-round to resolve problems with tuition bills, determine how to pay balances, and encourage appropriate decisions that will allow students to avoid excessive debt. Additionally, Bottom Line helps students secure internships and part-time jobs, create and update their resumes, and build a unique brand that will allow them to leave college employable. Lastly, Bottom Line offers parent-like guidance and mentoring. The strong relationships counselors maintain with students enable our organization to offer consistent support and help students through unexpected obstacles, such as illness, pregnancy, debt, a death in the family, academic probation, or transferring to another college. This comprehensive support is provided for up to six years or until a student graduates.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$1,801,227.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    We are committed to scaling to serve as many low-income, first-generation students as possible and delivering the highest quality service. Our goal has always been for at least 98% of our high school seniors to be accepted to college and for at least 80% of our college students to graduate within six years. 98% of our most recent class of high school seniors have been accepted to college, and 83% of our most recent class of college students graduated within six years - more than double the average graduation rate for low-income students nationwide. Within Boston, we are in the final year of a five-year growth plan to build a permanent network of college support to ensure students from the city's highest-need communities graduate from college and obtain meaningful employment once they graduate. We plan to accomplish this by expanding to serve 1,600 students from Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan each year by 2016 (in addition to serving 900 students from the surrounding area); partnering with other organizations to create a high school-through-college network of support; and conducting an awareness campaign to change the perception of college within these communities. By the end of the initiative, the majority of students from these areas attending four-year colleges will have a Bottom Line counselor providing guidance throughout their entire time in college. In the long term, we hope to have a community-wide impact on Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. In our first year of the initiative, 87 students from these communities graduated with Bottom Line support. By 2019, that number will triple and 240 students from these areas will graduate. These students will return to their communities with a degree, create businesses, start families, and buy homes. Community members will see that obtaining a college degree is attainable and desirable - and that Bottom Line is there to ensure students graduate. In the near future, we are especially interested in ensuring that students are fully utilizing their degrees. We are working to partner more closely with employers to prepare students for the modern workforce. Please see ""programs"" section for more information about our plans to create a high school to career pipeline in Boston's highest-need communities.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Bottom Line is growing at the local and national level. In Boston, we are in the midst of our campaign to double the number of college students we support in the city's poorest neighborhoods, Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. In New York, we are tripling the number of students we serve over the next three years. At the national level, we opened the latest Bottom Line site in Chicago in 2014 and plan to open at least two more offices in metropolitan areas by 2019. We are also launched a long-term randomized control trial evaluation of our programs' effectiveness. For more information about our strategies, evaluation and results, please see our impact statement and CEO statement in the ""overview"" section of this profile.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Our model is proven to help students get into college, graduate, and obtain meaningful employment and/or a graduate-level education. As an organization, we strongly value data and measurable outcomes and continually evaluate and improve the effectiveness of this model. Historically, 78.5% of our college students have graduated within six years, and 79% of our most recent class graduated within six years. In addition, we have strong veteran leadership at the national and local levels stewarding our growth. For more information about our staff and board leaders, please see ""management"" and ""governance"" sections of this profile.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Bottom Line is a data-driven organization committed to regular evaluation of our services. In the short term, we will continue to monitor our students' progress towards a degree through both overall persistence rates and their DEAL status - their academic, vocational, financial, and emotional well-being. We will gauge our progress by the incremental growth of Bottom Line graduates from Boston and, more specifically, by the growing number of graduates from Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.For more information about the way we monitor success using our databases, please see the ""program"" section of this profile.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    In May 2015, we will celebrated our 1,000th Bottom Line college graduate. Our level of service is improving in quality as we scale, and we are approaching our long-term goal of achieving an 80% graduation rate. Like all growing organizations, we face challenges as we scale our programs. We need to preserve our work culture and programmatic knowledge as we expand to new locations. In addition, we are working to diversify our funding base and bring in additional corporate connections and individual donors while exploring fee-for-service opportunities. We are also seeking to tell more people about our work and have begun to align our social media activity across our regions to raise awareness and the organizations' profile in each of our communities. For more information about awards we have received, please see the ""management"" section of Bottom Line's profile.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

In each of our service regions (Boston & Worcester, Chicago, and New York City) we serve low-income and first-generation college students from every neighborhood.students from every neighborhood. We continue to support these students as they attend 25 colleges across Massachusetts, 10 in Illinois and 20 in New York.

Funding Needs

In Boston, we are in the final year of a five-year, $5 million campaign to double our impact within Boston's most disadvantaged communities. The Lewis Family Foundation has pledged $2.5 million to launch the campaign, and the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation has pledged an additional $1 million. We are now seeking investors for the initiative to help us build a true citywide network of college support. The following amounts provide support to students in the described ways: $6,000 can support a student from college applications until college graduation (five years of one-on-one support) $1,000 guides a high school senior through the complex application process or supports a college student over the course of a school year$250 provides a last-dollar scholarship to a student who cannot afford books Bottom Line also relies on local companies to hire students as interns and full-time employees. We provide companies with a pipeline of young, diverse talent, free of charge. Our mission is simply to help our students begin their careers by gaining meaningful work experience. If you are interested in hiring a Bottom Line college student or alum, please contact Sara Cofrin at (617) 524-8833 or scofrin@bottomline.org.

Accreditations

Affiliations + Memberships

National College Access Network

External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

The review section is powered by Great Nonprofits

Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE BOTTOM LINE INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Get all this now for free
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Operations

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

Bottom Line Inc

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Principal Officer

Mr. Virgil J. Jones

Co Principal Officer

Mr. Greg Johnson

BIO

Virgil is an experienced executive with a record of fundraising growth, business management and proven expertise in providing access to higher education and in leading not-for-profit operations at all levels. He operates effectively in fast-paced environments, building and managing exceptional teams that focus on meeting organizational growth and performance targets. Prior to joining the team at Bottom Line, Virgil was President of LINK Unlimited Scholars, an educational not-for-profit organization. For fourteen years he oversaw operations on a day-to-day basis, coordinated fund-raising, developed and implemented new programs, provided fiscal, strategic and board development, mentor recruitment, finance, program execution and strategic direction. Under Virgil's leadership, the organization graduated over 1,000 students and increased revenue from $1.2 million to $3.5 million. Virgil led a $6 million capital campaign to fund new headquarters and establish and manage a $3.5 million endowment. Virgil is a member of the Governing board for the University of Chicago Charter School and a board director at Beverly Bank & Trust Company, a Wintrust Community Bank. He is also a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, a 30-year-old not-for-profit organization that cultivates Chicago's business, public and civic leaders through a deeper understanding of the issues facing the community and each other, helping them to build a better Chicago. Virgil earned an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an M.A. in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union, and a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Since our founding, Bottom Line succeeded by identifying a clear need in the community - low-income, first-generation students were not graduating from college - and providing an effective solution - long-term, relationship-based guidance. As we refined our curriculum and rubric, we have steadily built what we believe is the most sophisticated, impactful access and success support programming in the country. Like many of organizations, we engage students with talented, well-trained staff. However, our model consistently delivers results that are among the strongest in the college access and success field. The following qualities separate our organization from our peers: 1. We provide consistent support from the beginning of the college application process until college graduation or for up to six years. Our program advises students long after other organizations' support drops off. 2. Bottom Line's College Access Program stands above most in quality and efficiency. We support students one-on-one rather than in groups. Each high school senior is paired with a full-time counselor who personally guides them through the application process.3. After outlining our programs, improving our services, and gaining 17 years of experience supporting low-income and first-generation college students, Bottom Line has a concrete model for college retention. Now we are aggressively expanding to bring this model to as many students in the Boston's most disadvantaged neighborhoods as possible. In Boston, our goal is to support 2,600 high school and college students annually by 2016 and to provide the majority of low-income 4-year college students from Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan with a Bottom Line counselor. This initiative has the potential to help break the cycle of poverty in three of Boston's most disadvantaged communities. Beyond increased income, research shows that those holding a college degree also experience increased life expectancy, better general health, and an improved quality of life for themselves and their families. Further, these communities will benefit from each college degree attained through lower rates of incarceration, higher rates of volunteerism, and higher voter participation rates. Greg Johnson COO"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Kevin Connolly

State Street

Term: July 2016 - July 2019

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?