Back 2 School America

Chicago, IL   |  www.b2sa.org

Mission

The mission of Back 2 School America is to create and support educational opportunities that enrich the lives of children across the USA.

Ruling year info

2010

CEO

Matthew Kurtzman

Main address

1946 W. Irving Park Rd., 2nd floor

Chicago, IL 60613 USA

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Formerly known as

Back 2 School Illinois

Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation

EIN

27-2492956

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

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 United States there is a tremendous inequity when it comes to education. Children from low-income families typically do not have access to good quality schools and the resources to achieve a first-rate education. Children that don't get a good education tend to grow up with more problems and are less equipped to live happy, healthy and productive lives.

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?

Back 2 School Program

The annual program provides school supplies to deserving children so they have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. Since inception the program has distributed 9 million school supplies, in the form of Back 2 School kits, to more than 300,000 underprivileged children.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
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.

Our primary goal is to level the playing field and make sure children have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. Over the next five years (2022-2026), our goal is to increase the number of kits we distribute annually so that we are reaching at least 50,000+ students. Each of our Back 2 School kits contains approximately 30 essential school supplies, such as pencils and pens, folders, and notebooks. Our long term goal is to make sure that all children that living in low-income households each year have the vital school supplies necessary. While our Back2 School program is about providing the actually school supplies students need, it is also about building their self-confidence, since self-esteem is a critical element in a child's ability to achieve academic success and success in life. Our Back 2 School kits contain a "Note of Inspiration" which along with the school supplies let's the recipient know they are worthy of learning.

We recognize that the benefit of a solid education for a child is paramount in their ability to achieve success, success as defined by their ability to have more options, more opportunities and to make better choices. Ultimately, this benefits society as a whole.

While we are a young nonprofit, we have continued to grow each year. One way we do this is to take advantage of any media opportunities which in turn helps promote our name and our brand.

Another way we've been able to grow is by adding more community partners to distribute kits. When we first started the Back 2 School program we only worked with the YMCA of Metro Chicago. Now we have many more partners including Operation Homefront, Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS), Illinois Department of Child & Family Services (DCFS), UCAN, Vietnamese Association of Illinois, Neighborhood Boys & Girls Clubs, United African Organization, AUSL, Chinese American Service League, Heartland Alliance, Chicago Public Schools and others.

In 2015 we added a Build-A-Kit program, which has showing tremendous results, as we are getting more companies to support our school supplies program by engaging their employees in the assembly of the the kits. This program continues to be a significant factor in our ability to get more kits out to more kids in the years to come. In the summer of 2018, we launched Back 2 School America, after successful tests of expanding the Build-A-Kit program as well as our Buy-A-Kit program to other states.

In 2019 we add a "We Appreciate Teachers" program because we recognize the critical need for good teachers and the ability to retain them in the profession. Shining a spotlight on teachers and the import work they do will hopefully serve to keep good teachers teaching and help recruit new teachers to the profession.

In 2020 we embarked on a program to increase the size and diversity of the Board of Directors as a way to increase our stakeholder base.



We have undergone a transformation in a number of areas over the past 24 months that has had a measurable impact on the organization that will help to achieve the stability and growth necessary to achieve our stated goals.

We have increased the size of our Board of Directors by more than 30% in the past year. We also increased the diversity of our board by adding more women, more younger people, a person of color and individuals from different industries. These changes to the board have already produced desired results. We have implemented a new committee structure, put more controls in place, improved our fundraising efforts and have started to do more long-range thinking and planning to ensure the long-term success of the organization.

Our stakeholder base is growing through a series of initiatives. We've dramatically increased the number of sponsorships offered, which has brought in a notable amount of new corporate support. We've added new programming such as our "We Appreciate Teachers" contest, "Notes of Inspiration" - Home Edition and are in the process of launching a holiday Back 2 School kit. Each of these are helped garner more attention from potential supports and from the media.

In 2022 we are unifying under the name Back 2 School America, which will allow us to operate more efficiently and reduce some costs. It will also serve to better secure funding from national companies and organizations.

We have distributed over 9.0 million school supplies to more than 300,000 children in Back 2 School kits since inception.

In addition to increasing the number of children we served, we've grown the size of our database, donors, and supporters.

We've diversified our Board of Directors, increased it's size and contributions.

While we have made great strides we still have a long way to go to, in particular to reach our goal of making sure every child has vital school supplies.

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?

    We hand out school supplies to Community Partners and their constituencies in Chicago and beyond. We also serve schools directly in underserved neighborhoods throughout Chicago.

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

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

  • 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 strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We contact community partners to follow up with them, hear their struggle, and see how we can help them. Once we hand out school supplies we would like to hear back from them to hear about the positive impact it created in their community.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    By asking for feedback and following up with people who lead community organizations we deepen the relationship. It helps us understand the struggle low-income families and their children face and further encourages us to find donors who will help us help them.

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,

Financials

Back 2 School America
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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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  • 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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Back 2 School America

Board of directors
as of 06/13/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Tricia Poisson

First Bank Chicago

Term: 2021 -

Abby Hans

Hans Management

Matthew Kurtzman

Back 2 School America

Michael Krajcer

Deloitte

Scott Hershman

West Suburban Currency Exchanges

Bill Peltin

Bill Peltin & Associates

Tricia Poisson

First Bank Chicago

Glenn Browne

Braun, Browne & Associates, P.C

Melissa Cooper

Associated Bank

Katherine Anderson

Wintrust Bank

Jonathan McCulloch

Belgravia Group

Jeremy Bush

The Chartis Group

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.

  • 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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/11/2021

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
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.