Alumni Project Spotlight
EDMO’s mission is to make equitable, high-quality STEAM & SEL education programs accessible to all communities in order to cultivate curious, courageous, and kind humans everywhere. EDMO has been serving young people since 2004. In November 2019, EDMO sent their leadership team to Marin LEO Cohort 2.
Through application of the LEO tools, the team realized the educational system upon which they had built their camps was inequitable as was their program design. They left resolved to use their power to be a greater force for equity.
Just as EDMO was about to pilot an in-person, equity-focused camp in the San Rafael City Schools district this summer, Covid-19 struck and school campuses were shut down. In this moment of crisis, EDMO leaned into its universal values identified at LEO and redesigned itself into an equity-focused online learning platform. They made sure that programs were designed for every type of device, especially smartphones and district-issued Chromebooks. The organization also introduced a revolutionary new pricing model based on trust, dignity and love – Honor System Pricing. This model shifts the power dynamic of financial aid completely. Families are given the opportunity to stand in their values when they enroll. People choose whether to pay full price, donate more, or apply a 50% or 80% Off "Honor Code" for instant financial aid. There are no applications, no forms, and no waiting to be approved.
EDMO went with this model despite having to lay off over 80% of their full time staff. Because their values were so aligned with the mission, however, the staff members continued to work as volunteers. As a result of their collective efforts, EDMO served over 5,000 kids across 45 states and 7 countries this summer. Kids of every racial and socio-economic background collaborated, learned, listened and had fun together online. In addition to the Honor System Pricing camps, EDMO also partnered with four Bay Area school districts to offer completely free online camps.
They received hundreds of positive reviews and notes of gratitude from families. They also received local and national and press and earned the 2020 Excellence in Summer Learning Award from the National Summer Learning Association. Now EDMO® is partnering with parents, school districts and organizations to create equitable access to online education year-round.
As they say: EDMO® is not just a summer camp. It’s a movement. Let’s build a more Curious, Courageous, and Kind world together.
Advancing Racial Equity Caucus
Solano County Health & Social Services
One of our LEO projects was the creation of equity workgroups (called caucuses) that were implemented at Solano County Health & Social Services to work collaboratively across our workforce to develop strategies to eliminate gaps in socioeconomic and health outcomes experienced by marginalized communities in our County.
Doing Everyday Things Differently For Results
Marin Promise Partnership
At Marin Promise Partnership we've made it a priority for staff members to attend LEO and have encouraged our Partner Organizations to attend. As a result, we've seen positive practice changes internally and have benefitted from common language at collaborative action meetings across the Partnership, from cradle to career.
Internally, as a Backbone Staff we have used the "Breakdown to Breakthrough" tool to tackle several equity challenges and are now ending staff meetings with the constructive feedback prompts of "increase, decrease or retain." The Partnership, as a whole, is now centering our values at the beginning of meetings by sharing our "stands", describing our work together as systems shifts, and ending meetings with requests for action.
Panthers Get Degrees Program
I applied what I learned at LEO when I created the "Panthers Get Degrees" program. This program works with the students of Marin City that attend Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy and transitioning into Tamalpais High School. We hold workshops to educate the 8th graders on high school and how to prepare for college and career. Once in high school we have monthly workshops and monthly one on one intakes with our students.
Our aim is to give students the support they would receive if they were wealthy. I used the Leo tools to make sure that this 10,000 Degrees program put equity at the front. Since we have launched the program, we have seen a rise in students, on campus involvement, confidence and academic performance. By the fall of 2021 I will be able to see how many of our students will be eligible for 4 year colleges.
North Marin Community Services
At NMCS, we envision a strong community with opportunities for all, supporting 8,400 people/year to achieve success at home, at school, and in life. We are a merged 501c3 nonprofit of the Novato Youth Center and Novato Human Needs Center. As stewards of this 48-year nonprofit, we stand as allies in solidarity with those who are advocating for racial justice to eliminate systemic racism. For two years in a row, NMCS has sent over 12 staff and volunteer Promotores to participate in Marin LEO Cohort 1 and 2. While we had been advocating for underserved populations for over a decade, LEO helped us look at our advocacy and leadership efforts through a new equity framework lens. We added our voice in an amplified way to the call for action to repair systems of inequity in our community, creating more opportunities for the BIPOC community in human services. We are more confident leaders, calling out and being conscious of power dynamics, inequities, and injustices. We are very proud that our culture now fosters inclusivity, equity, and has changed from a formal review process to real time feedback (after asking for permission). We have also seen incredible growth in the leadership of our Promotores, with clear recognition and steps towards courageous action. We have strengthened our inclusive hiring practices and professional development trainings, including adding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) questions in interviews, DEI overviews in new employee and board orientations, and offer ongoing trainings. We also accelerated the minimum wage increase at a rate higher than the State of California and Marin County. In 2017, we implemented a $15/hr minimum wage; it was then increased to $15.50/hr and now at $17/hr effective Nov 1st, 2020. We will continue to stand in our values and shift systems for community change. www.northmarincs.org