Educational Institutions

Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children Inc

  • Boston, MA
  • http://www.btwic.org

Mission Statement

The Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (BTWIC) conducts independent and operational research to identify the most prevailing deficiencies in the Massachusetts early education and care system and works with strategic partners to champion and implement solutions that ensure underserved children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Main Programs

  1. Community Outreach and Engagement Initiatives
Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

We focus on the needs of young children (birth to five) throughout Massachusetts, but with a particular focus on the Boston area. This includes children and families from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

ruling year

2002

Principal Officer since 2013

Self-reported

Ms. Marie St. Fleur

Keywords

Self-reported

engagement, child care voucher study, compensation project, early education research

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EIN

30-0037101

 Number

0857029609

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

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

We have a singular focus: early education and care systems change. Our vision is for every child in Massachusetts to enter kindergarten ready to learn. We are results-oriented and believe we can achieve success by engaging in key activities that positively impact early educators and the children they serve. During 2015: * We translated the Early Educator's Roadmap to a College Degree™ into 4 languages: Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole and Portuguese. The Roadmap is an online counseling tool created to equip education professionals with more information on applying for and enrolling in a college degree program. This tool has been used by more than 3,200 early educators since its inception in 2012, and we recently began a series of webinars on how to utilize the tool. The webinars will continue through 2016, engaging a total of 200 educators. * We launched the Put MA Kids First coalition, an Early Education and Care and Out-of-School Time coalition of over 45 leading organizations in the field to collectively seek the support of the Massachusetts legislature and governor for meaningful state investment in our youngest learners, to stabilize classrooms, and to reinforce quality. Its budget agenda was presented to policymakers and the general public in the spring of 2015. The coalition secured $4 million in new funding for quality and $5 million for the workforce in the FY16 state budget. In upcoming months, we plan to expand our grassroots engagement as we prepare for the budget cycle. * Our Child Development in Informal Care initiative examines the characteristics of ""Family Friend and Neighbor"" (FFN) care in Massachusetts. We have completed six Boston focus groups and convened one community forum at the University of Massachusetts Boston, engaging 74 caregivers. Forum attendees participated in hands-on experiential learning workshops and were connected with resources to help them support the development of the children in their care. In the coming year, we intend to host a series of regional forums to engage caregivers in other part of the state. * Through hands-on technology training and one-on-one coaching, our Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center will foster economic stability for a cohort of 20 businesses in 2015 in Greater Roxbury, one of Boston's lowest-income neighborhoods. Better functioning business practices will decrease pressure on center owners, enabling them to focus more fully on providing the high-quality early learning experiences that shape children's readiness for academic success. A second cohort will be enrolled in spring 2016, at which point we will assess the success of both training cycles and consider expanding beyond Boston. In addition we participated on: * The Preschool Expansion Grant Evaluation Advisory group for the Department of Early Education and Care, which oversees the federal government's $15 million investment in Massachusetts. MA is potentially eligible for up to $60 million under the grant, with $15 million over four years to expand high quality preschool programs in five high-needs communities across the state. * Mayor Walsh's Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee, which developed a plan to double the number of Pre-K slots in Boston.

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

Community Outreach and Engagement Initiatives

(1) Early Educator's Roadmap to a College Degree ™, an online tool that helps early childhood educators ""map"" a path through higher education. Translated into four languages, it offers a comprehensive collection of resources EEC providers can use to better understand the higher education system. (2) Child Development in Informal Care, a project that aims to identify opportunities for training and networking for informal caregivers as well as access to developmentally-appropriate activities for the infants and toddlers in their care. We organize community meetings and forums, facilitating roundtable discussions and hands-on workshops for FFN providers. (3) ""Put MA Kids First,"" (PMKF) a growing coalition of more than 45 Massachusetts organizations that seeks to elevate conversation around career pathways and fair wages for EEC professionals while increasing quality in the system starting at birth. (4) Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center, a center for hands-on technology training and coaching to streamline business practices that fosters economic stability for EEC businesses in Greater Roxbury.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Other Named Groups

Budget

$660,385.00

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 have developed a Career Ladder for the early education field and launched a Student Loan Awareness Campaign, which led to our current online Early Educator 's Roadmap to a College Degree™. The Roadmap has been shared with over 16,000 early childhood educators to date, through direct mail, newsletters, webinars, and social media. Through this work, we hope to advance professionalism in the field, not only for the caregivers themselves, but also in the eyes of the public. Many early educators are limited in their ability to provide consistent, nutritious meals because of lack of information on available resources. Additionally, food costs represent a large part of a center's often-stretched budget. Eating to Learn: Increasing Participaton in the Massachusetts Child and Adult Care Food Program helped early educators utilize the USDA-funded CACFP, which reimburses for purchase of healthy foods in care settings. Through our work, gaps in CACFP adoption were identified and addressed, and we have recommended changes to the program to make it easier for providers to access. A report on our findings was released in October 2015. For Child Development in Informal Care, BTWIC conducted outreach and completed six focus groups with FFN caregivers in the Boston area and hosted one larger community forum. We plan to extend this grassroots research framework to other regions before compiling a final report. The outreach is, by far, the most difficult part of this particular initiative, but is also the most important. Informal caregivers often do not have access to the education and resource opportunities provided to caregivers in more formal settings, and often work in isolation. Our report will include recommendations for reaching and supporting this important population. The Put MA Kids First coalition was launched in January 2015. Coalition members reached consensus around the primary goal of supporting quality outcomes through stabilizing and supporting quality educators. Its budget agenda was presented to policymakers and the general public in the spring of 2015. The coalition secured $4 million in new funding for quality and $5 million for the workforce in the FY16 state budget.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    To achieve our goals, BTWIC builds partnerships, convenes stakeholders and employs a variety of strategies to address pressing issues in early childhood education. This unique approach has established us as a trusted leader in the early education and care field. Our strategies towards achieving our goals include: (1) direct engagement with the early education and care field of providers, caregivers, and other stakeholders; (2) conducting grassroots and scholarly research that provides insight into the challenges and opportunities in the field; (3) hosting statewide or local convening opportunities for stakeholders in the field to collaborate and have strategic conversations; (4) developing recommendations from the research and feedback we collect from the field, serving as our framework for action; and (5) creating communications and outreach initiatives aimed at educating the community on the projected impact of our recommendations, so that we generate broad community support for the best practices we strive to highlight or issues we seek to improve or change.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    BTWIC's President and CEO is Marie St. Fleur. She is a former Massachusetts State Representative who served for 11 years in the Massachusetts House, where she was Vice Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means and Chair of Education, steering the establishment of the Department of Early Education and Care. In November 2013, she took the helm of BTWIC from Mary Reed, Founder Emeritus. Volunteer Leadership: An actively engaged 16-member Board of Trustees governs BTWIC and guides its overall direction. Board members represent leadership in the fields of early education, corporate philanthropy, corporate finance, law, human resources, marketing and business development. In addition to the President, the staffing structure includes an executive assistant/office manager, a senior researcher who also oversees special projects, a marketing specialist, and a part-time development manager. Together, the staff offers unique, skills-based assets in research, writing, community outreach and policy analysis. In addition, a Communications Consultant is an important asset to the team. BTWIC employs a collaborative approach to doing this work. We harness all available resources throughout Massachusetts to tackle the needs of the most vulnerable communities, including Boston's neighborhoods of Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Roxbury and several of the state-designated ""gateway"" cities, which are identifiable by pervasive poverty and a substantial achievement gap. Our greatest resources are our colleagues in the field. As such, we employ a deliberate and collaborative strategy to nurture these relationships. Our approach relies on collaboration as evidenced by our advisory group model that requires each initiative begin with an advisory group convened to help guide the direction of our work. BTWIC has developed a reputation as a trusted collaborator and convener, and has brought together numerous other advocates and stakeholders in support of early education in Massachusetts for more than a decade. We value and admire the work of our many partners whose efforts complement ours. For each of the initiatives we are seeking funding we have convened active and involved advisory committees, and/or engaged in intense outreach to garner communities of support from relevant stakeholders. This approach guides our thinking and implementation, and helps to ensure that we have broad community endorsement, both formal and informal, to advance system-wide reform.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    (1) Distribute the Roadmap to a College Degree™ to 25,000 early educators, with 20% of them reporting that the Roadmap was helpful as a tool to enroll in higher education. We also plan to engage 200 educators in total to participate in a series of webinars on the Roadmap. (2) We will complete grassroots research on Child Development in Informal Care, compile a research report that that delineates key recommendations, and support the implementation of at least one recommendation. Specifically, we will convene at least 4 regional town hall meetings with a total of 100 FFN providers in attendance to distribute best practice information. (3) Increase membership for the Put MA Kids First coalition to 60 organizations and raise the visibility of the coalition's work to support increased investment in quality early education and out-of-school time. (4) Enroll 90 small businesses in the Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center, helping them stabilize and grow their businesses financially and helping at least 60% of participants meet their business goals by the end of the program. Surveys are used to evaluate the impact of BTWIC's work in the field and are used in every project. They are created with feedback from our advisory groups comprised of colleagues in the field, tested internally and externally, and distributed via the online tool Survey Monkey or hard copy. We also rely on tools like Google Analytics to determine visits to our website and we track the number of people who open our monthly newsletter and numbers of followers of our blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We have developed a Career Ladder for the early education field and launched a Student Loan Awareness Campaign, which led to our current online Early Educator 's Roadmap to a College Degree™. The Roadmap has been shared with over 16,000 early childhood educators to date, through direct mail, newsletters, webinars, and social media. Through this work, we hope to advance professionalism in the field, not only for the caregivers themselves, but also in the eyes of the public. Many early educators are limited in their ability to provide consistent, nutritious meals because of lack of information on available resources. Additionally, food costs represent a large part of a center's often-stretched budget. Eating to Learn: Increasing Participaton in the Massachusetts Child and Adult Care Food Program helped early educators utilize the USDA-funded CACFP, which reimburses for purchase of healthy foods in care settings. Through our work, gaps in CACFP adoption were identified and addressed, and we have recommended changes to the program to make it easier for providers to access. A report on our findings was released in October 2015. For Child Development in Informal Care, BTWIC conducted outreach and completed six focus groups with FFN caregivers in the Boston area and hosted one larger community forum. We plan to extend this grassroots research framework to other regions before compiling a final report. The outreach is, by far, the most difficult part of this particular initiative, but is also the most important. Informal caregivers often do not have access to the education and resource opportunities provided to caregivers in more formal settings, and often work in isolation. Our report will include recommendations for reaching and supporting this important population. The Put MA Kids First coalition was launched in January 2015. Coalition members reached consensus around the primary goal of supporting quality outcomes through stabilizing and supporting quality educators. Its budget agenda was presented to policymakers and the general public in the spring of 2015. The coalition secured $4 million in new funding for quality and $5 million for the workforce in the FY16 state budget.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

We focus on the needs of young children (birth to five) throughout Massachusetts, but with a particular focus on the Boston area. This includes children and families from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Funding Needs

Foundation and corporate grants for general operating purposes are critical in reinforcing our organizational capacity to support the early education and care community through our targeted initiatives. Grassroots outreach, particularly to the workforce and the informal care community, requires the addition of a deep presence in the community, which takes time and resources. We achieve systems change via community outreach and engagement. The most significant expense is that of staffing. While we are a lean and efficient operation, we are committed to hiring and retaining expert talent in the fields of research, marketing and overall administrative management. Currently, we are seeking funds to hire a bilingual Outreach Specialist, a critical position for BTWIC at this stage. This position will give us the capacity to execute our program objectives, leading to greater impact on the educational outcomes of young children.A major expense for BTWIC is the cost for printing - as communications materials are the cornerstone of how we share the results of our work and engage diverse audiences - while the remainder of our engagement relies on an effective website, social media tools, and other technologies allow us to engage in broad outreach that supplements our work ""on the ground"". Support in the form of funding and on-going technical assistance for technology is critical.

Accreditations

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External Reviews

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Financials

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

BESSIE TARTT WILSON INITIATIVE FOR CHILDREN INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children 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, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Ms. Marie St. Fleur

BIO

Marie St. Fleur joined nonprofit research and advocacy organization Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children in November 2013. Ms. St. Fleur comes to her new position after a long career in public service, where she was known as a tireless advocate on behalf of children and families. Her new role allows her to use her experience as an attorney, legislator, and senior leader in municipal government to support grassroots research on early education and care system advocate for change and expand outreach and engagement of families, providers, policymakers, and government agencies and the public in support of this sector. Ms. St. Fleur was appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino on June 13, 2010, as the Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investment for the City of Boston. In that capacity Ms. St. Fleur led the Mayor Menino Circle of Promise Initiative and oversaw the Department of Intergovernmental Relations, The Office of New Bostonian, The Small and Local Business/Boston Jobs For Boston Residents Policy, and his Diversity and Reentry Initiatives. Former State Representative Marie St. Fleur was first elected to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1999, and is the first Haitian-American elected to state office in the United States. As the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, Arts and Humanities, Representative St. Fleur championed two-way bilingual education and alternative education and led the establishment of the new Massachusetts Board and Department of Early Education and Care. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Representative St. Fleur earned a Law Degree from Boston College Law School in 1987. Ms. St. Fleur serves as Chair of The Advisory Council for the Haiti Fund at The Boston Foundation, and is on the board of directors of the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, and Project Hope. Ms. St. Fleur is a former trustee of the Boston Bar Foundation and past President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. She has been featured on WCVB Television's City Line and Chronicle, WGBH Television's Greater Boston, Boston Magazine and Commonwealth Magazine.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (BTWIC) believes that the road to high school graduation and successful futures begins at birth and high-quality early education and care are the critical first steps to getting there. Our efforts have taught us that there is a need to ensure consistency and stability of high quality early education and care. Moreover, our research confirms that investments made in early education result in improved academic outcomes for children and economic savings to schools and states. Research studies have shown that children who are involved in high-quality pre-school programs are: more likely to graduate from high school; more likely to score higher on standardized tests; less likely to become teenage parents; involved in fewer instances of delinquent behavior as compared to their peers who are not. BTWIC focuses on policy change rather than direct services in an effort to ensure positive futures by enhancing the academic, social, and emotional well-being of all children with a particular focus on low income children 0-5, and engagement of the early education workforce. We focus on difficult policy areas few research and policy reform groups address, and always work toward wide scale policy reforms. Our success lies in convening and collaboration. In a relatively short time, BTWIC has established strong alliances with child care providers, corporate leaders, policymakers, and state agencies leading to significant changes in the way the state delivers early education and care to families living in poverty. Early education is an area in which investments made today will yield positive returns in the short-term and into the future. Children who participate in quality early education programs are more likely to stay in school, have higher career aspirations, and successfully join the labor force than their peers who do not. ""Increasing the likelihood of obtaining a college degree by improving children's early learning opportunities will help position Massachusetts for future economic growth and prepare tomorrow's work force for the changing demands of our economy.""(Richard Lord, Associated Industries of Massachusetts and Alan MacDonald, Massachusetts Business Roundtable). For our children to become the leaders of tomorrow we must ensure that early educators are valued in tangible ways and well equipped to serve the needs of our youngest citizens. This is the imperative of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Atul Varma

BNY Mellon

Term: Oct 2015 - Oct 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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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?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

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


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

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


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BOARD COMPOSITION

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


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

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