Zeno

Math Powered

Seattle, WA   |  http://zenomath.org/

Mission

Zeno is a Seattle based non-profit building a family math movement in Washington State. Zeno's mission is to spark joy and inspire a love of math in young children and families through racial equity, family engagement, and play, all centered in the experiences of communities of color. We envision a racially just world where every child and family are a doer and lover of math.

Ruling year info

2006

Executive Director

Maile Hadley

Main address

1404 East Yesler Way Ste 204

Seattle, WA 98122 USA

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Formerly known as

Explorations in Math

EIN

20-5570858

NTEE code info

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In the arc of a life, early learning can open future opportunity. Washington State is home to some of the most successful companies in the world. When you survey the landscape and forecasted labor market, some of the most promising pathways to family-sustaining wage jobs are in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.[2] By 2030, 84% or 79,742 of STEM WA job openings are projected for WA State. The challenge is not all students are afforded important STEM education opportunities—these gaps are especially wide for students of color, students from rural and low-income backgrounds, and girls. Black and Hispanic workers continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Black people make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but represent 9% of STEM workers, while Hispanics comprise 16% of the U.S. workforce but only 7% of all STEM workers. STEM workers typically earn about two-thirds more than those in non-STEM jobs.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Family MathWays

Family MathWays is our flagship program combining preschool math games, parenting adults, and community partnerships along with five key practices for math learning:
· Allow children to EXPLORE.
· PLAY with children encouraging hands-on
· TALK to children using math vocabulary
· Start where a child is and BUILD on their current understanding
· CONNECT math ideas to a child’s everyday habits and activities.
From school districts to Family Childcare
Our Family MathWays program inspires a love of math in children before they start kindergarten. Each program cycle includes:
· 8 preschool games for each enrolled child.
· Game modeling/trainings for parenting adults.
· Family math events (virtual and in person) that engage parenting adults in their child’s learning.
· Coaching for providers and partner staff on how to integrate math practices into existing services.
· Professional development sessions that connect math to literature, racial equity, social emotional learning and more!

Population(s) Served
Families
Children and youth

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Zeno has outlined 3 high level goals in our 2021 - 2024 Strategic Plan:
1. Expansion - Reach families across the country with children ages three to five through partners ready to inspire kids to love math through play, family engagement, and racial equity. We believe that math is too important of a life skill to allow any child to grow up believing they aren’t good at math. We plan to deepen our work in Washington by identifying new partners, while also opening our programs and services to new collaborators nationwide. Together we will help our communities develop a love of math and possess to the
confidence to proudly proclaim that they are math people.

2. Spark Joy - Measurably increase joyful and inspirational math experiences for young children, providers, and families. Beyond test scores and kindergarten readiness standards, a child’s future success in math begins with how they feel about the subject and their math abilities. Our work focuses on creating positive math experiences in young children’s early lives, so they possess a positive attitude towards math. With increased confidence and a
playful disposition towards math we believe children of color can interrupt systems of racial oppression that would have them believing they aren’t good at math.

3. Build the Math Movement - Engage in partnerships to surface, amplify, and promote the truth that children and families of color are doers and lovers of math. Math is a foundational skill in every culture and community across the planet. A simple truth, hidden behind racist narratives and stereotypes. As we move forward with our mission it’s important that we engage in conversations about the state of math in our communities and elevate the truth we already know that children of color are doers and lovers of math. A new narrative is essential to shifting how our communities feel about their math abilities, making their children benefactors of a new narrative and greater possibilities.

Through our Family MathWays program, we strive to create a world where everyone knows they can do math. Our equation for success is simple:
1. Start Early—Math at the highest levels of academic pursuit is more than computation. It’s a language and a way of thinking, and just like language it’s easiest to acquire while young.
2. Include Families—We believe that parenting adults are a child’s first and most influential teacher, and we know that culturally responsive engagement with families is critical when you are working with families from diverse communities.
3. Work with Partners—Zeno honors community experiences and works closely with partners that have long-standing community relationships. We know that working with community partners is the most effective and efficient approach to reach the most families.
4. Center Racial Equity—We all share a common duty to dismantle the racism within our institutions, policies, and beliefs that prevent our society from advancing as an equitable nation. All of our work – from program and game design to our staff and board – considers the impact of race, place, language, and culture.
5. Make it Fun— Research emphasizes play because it encourages children to take an active role in their learning. Play is the work of childhood. Zeno designed games provide the inspiration and easy connection to foundational math concepts. The games create structure, focus and engagement opportunities for children with their parenting adults.

Zeno values equity as our society will thrive when each of us can fully develop our potential without resistance from our external environment. All of our work – from program and game design to our staff and board – considers the impact of race, place, language, and culture and how that is directly linked to experiences, attitudes, and mindsets about math. We carefully design our Zeno math games, training materials, and communications to include visual representations of BIPOC experiences and inter-generational familial units. We host co-created trainings in multiple languages working with trusted community partners to adjust content for cultural nuance and relevance, as well as translate our math game instructions into 10 languages.

With a Black leader of a majority people of color team, a majority people of color board, and an organization with a mission focused on communities of color, we continue to position ourselves to represent the visionary ideals of our community with the authenticity and passion that comes from a shared lived experience and direct feedback from families and partners. Our model honors, uplifts, and builds upon the dignity and inherent strengths of the communities we serve.

Founded in 2003 as Explorations in Math, Zeno was created by Akin (nee, Norman) Alston and a group of parents at Wilder Elementary School in Woodinville, Washington. Akin, a mathematician and engineer, had a deep understanding of the power of math and the importance of building a child's confidence in math early through play. He believes math is an equalizer for children in disadvantaged communities. 
Prior to our early learning work, Zeno served families across racial and socio-economic groups, with a tiered partnership cost model providing reduced costs to schools primarily serving low-income children and families. Our staff had been primarily white women for most of the organization’s history, leading to a strong focus on economic inequity and general lack of analysis of the impact of systemic racism on the experiences of children and families of color navigating the education system. Shortly before our shift into early learning, the organization began doing more internal work to bring a racial equity lens to not only our constituent focus but the composition of our staff.

Over time the racial makeup of Zeno’s staff and a recognition that systemic racism limits opportunities for success for children of color throughout their academic experience has strengthened our resolve to effect change. This organizational transformation led us to update our mission and programs to focus on the role of race, place, language, and culture on a child’s early math experience, recentering Zeno on Akin’s founding vision of math as an equalizer.

Our Family MathWays program began in 2014 when our board and staff recognized that children participating in our elementary math programs were entering kindergarten with very different levels of math skills and confidence. We developed our Family MathWays program as a small pilot, reaching 250 families in Seattle in 2015-16, and the program grew to reach 500 families in our next program year (2016-17). By 2017-2018 our program had expanded to reach over 1,500 families across King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties. Our organization also determined at this time that the Family MathWays program, with an intentional focus on families of color in low-income communities, would be our core work going forward. With this shift, we were able to continue growing year over year. From September 2018 – August 2019, we reached 2,200 families monthly through 35 preschool classrooms, 5 ParentChild+ (home visiting) programs, and 30 FCC (in-home childcare) centers, with an additional 1,110 families receiving games on a less frequent basis and attending one-time community events. Today we reach 6,000 families through 150 partner sites across Washington State.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Zeno values equity as our society will thrive when each of us can fully develop our potential without resistance from our external environment. All of our work – from program and game design to our staff and board – considers the impact of race, place, language, and culture and how that is directly linked to experiences, attitudes, and mindsets about math. We carefully design our Zeno math games, training materials, and communications to include visual representations of BIPOC experiences and inter-generational familial units. We host co-created trainings in multiple languages working with trusted community partners to adjust content for cultural nuance and relevance, as well as translate our math game instructions into 10 languages.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Zeno
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Zeno

Board of directors
as of 10/20/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jay Goyal

Actively Learn

Term: 2021 -

Mike Greene

Microsoft

Jay Goyal

Actively Learn

Kevin Hu

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Taj Bendford

KeyBank

Manuela Crowley

Philanthropist

Nikki Freeman

Microsoft

Bill Ketchum

Turner Construction Company

Heidi Stolte

Stolte Family Foundation

Megan Scott

CREO

Michael Ong

F5 Networks

Heidi Stolte

Stolte Family Foundation

Belinda Smoth

Symetra

Carolyn Landel

University of Texas at Austin

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/20/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/20/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.