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Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues

by Development Solutions Organization (DSO)
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues
Enable volunteer consultants tackle global issues

Our care and concern extends to all those impacted by COVID-19.

At DSO we have the honor of working with inspiring and impactful social impact partners around the world. A bunch of our partners directly support frontline workers, underserved, and/or vulnerable people to sustain their own livelihoods. 

In this report, we want to amplify some of our current partners and their continued courage and changemaking with our communities. Read more about them in their own words. We hope you’ll consider supporting them. 

 

Accountability Counsel

Accountability Counsel amplifies the voices of communities around the world to protect their human rights and environment. As advocates for people harmed by internationally financed projects, we employ community driven and policy level strategies to access justice.

 

Building New Hope

Building New Hope is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh and Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, we partner with a worker-owned organic coffee cooperative, operate two supplemental schools for at-risk youth, and provide high school scholarships for students in need. In Pittsburgh, we engage with local schools and universities, faith groups, farmers, non-profits, community groups, and businesses to promote healthy ecosystems and to spread awareness about how fair trade relationships can help to reduce poverty and inequalities. 

 

Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation

The Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF) is a non-profit organization committed to developing creative and economical solutions to a wide range of social problems in Costa Rica. The CRHF provides opportunities to exchange friendship, goods, services, and financial resources for critical needs among different cultures, socio-economic classes, and language groups.

 

Disaster Accountability Project

Disaster Accountability Project saves lives and reduces suffering after disasters by maximizing the impact of preparedness, response and relief through citizen oversight and engagement, policy research and advocacy, and public education. DAP is working to improve the effectiveness of relief by focusing on the transparency and public accountability of agencies and organizations with critical life-saving responsibilities. By improving the transparency and public accountability of the humanitarian aid/relief sector, DAP is working to make sure donated dollars save more lives. DAP minimizes the devastating effects of disasters by infusing best practices, lessons learned, and public accountability into the operations of communities, government agencies, and disaster relief/humanitarian aid groups.

 

Ek Tara

A registered Trust, Ek Tara began its journey in 2011 with a small group of children and women from impoverished families in the slums of Topsia and Tiljala with a vision to provide high-quality holistic education to enable community transformation. "Ek Tara Creates" is a social enterprise and a sustained platform for women from urban slum communities to showcase and market their handmade products.

 

Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County

The Family Crisis Center helps families get and stay safe. We help families move forward from domestic violence by connecting people to resources, developing capacity and providing support.  We offer emergency safe shelter and advocacy services for victims, groups for perpetrators of violence, counseling and family centered coaching for individuals and families, educational and skills groups, parenting groups, and community and outreach to the community. The Family Crisis Center helps every member of a family be safe and thrive.

 

Kiva Crowdvet

Crowdvet.org aims to harness the knowledge of the crowd to determine which social enterprises to fund. Early-stage social enterprises are stuck in the "missing middle", too big for microfinance, yet too small for traditional banking. CrowdVet.org, a pilot project under the Direct-to-Social Enterprise program, crowdsources the vetting of these loan applications so that Kiva can provide more early-stage social enterprises with access to 0% interest working capital loans. Make social impact virtually. You can sign up to Crowdvet here: bit.ly/startcrowdvet

 

Lab4U

Imagine a world in which everyone has the opportunity to discover the world around them through experimentation. Lab4U's solutions for science education are making this dream a reality and inspiring a new generation of scientists. Lab4U's tools for science education are used by hundreds of thousands of teachers and students from around the world, with proven positive impact on student learning and soft skill development.



OneProsper

We recognize that a girl in India faces many obstacles before she can earn an education. OneProsper takes a holistic approach to solve the crisis in female literacy. We give her time. We provide clean water. We show her respect. We ensure nutrition. We provide school supplies. We provide transportation. We grow family incomes. 

 

School Justice Project

School Justice Project (SJP) is a legal services and advocacy organization serving older students with special education needs who are involved in DC's justice systems. Based on SJP’s vision of a world where all students have meaningful access to a quality education, SJP uses special education law to ensure that older, court-involved students with disabilities can access a quality education. Whether representing clients or working on systemic issues, SJP has improved access to education for hundreds of court-involved students in the District of Columbia.

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Hello,

Before we dive into our featured project, we want to take a moment to honor one of our dear Partners in changemaking - Leila, CEO of Samasource who passed away earlier this week. Leila had a rare form of cancer that sadly took her life at age 37. Leila inspired many of us to make positive and bold impact and help advance equity and opportunity for all. We know this legacy and her many incredible accomplishments will live on strong. Our sincere condolences to her family as well as the Samasource team. 

At DSO we continue to do meaningful and impactful work with local and global Partners and sometimes, we have the joy of convening multiple Partners as more of a social impact community. In this report, we feature our 2019 Design Thinking Session.

Featured Project

Nearly three-quarters of local nonprofits are concerned the real estate market will hurt their long-term financial stability (Survey, Northern California Grantmakers’ Nonprofit Displacement Project).

Upon learning what’s top of mind for many nonprofits in the Bay Area and beyond, DSO members Amy and Lizzie organized a design thinking session with the theme “How might we help nonprofits be sustainable given the reality of increasing costs to operate?”

We were honored to have participants across a range of organizations - Boston Private, Braven, D-Rev, Ecumenical Hunger Program, Gooru, Salesforce.org, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, StreetCode Academy, Thrive Alliance, and UC Berkeley.

In the session we first learned from and deeply connected through each others’ experiences and stories. We then ideated on topics we selected and potential solutions, including: 

  1. Developing more realistic short and long term organizational health plans such as by setting realistic goals based on the lifecycle stage of the organization
  2. Diversifying funding sources such as by better tapping into alumni networks
  3. Doing revenue generating projects such as by renting out nonprofit space to others for events

We then got each other’s feedback on a few more developed ideas and solutions.

At the end of the session, several folks shared that it was helpful to connect in this way and hear about each other’s experiences. 

We’re grateful for the help of our great co-facilitators Erin from studio b:ask, as well as Alissa, Brian, Ravi, and Steven from Salesforce.

Testimonials and Actionable Insights

"Huge thanks for hosting such a great workshop! I really enjoyed the conversation and exercise." - Mayura, Participant

“It was good to connect with people in other organizations doing the same job responsibilities.” - Justina, Participant 

Some actionable insights from Participants:

  • Getting more unrestricted funding - funding that nonprofits can use at their discretion and for general operating support vs. for a specific program(s)
  • Utilizing accessible and affordable co-working spaces - e.g. Spaces for Good, Sobrato Center for Nonprofits - where 73 nonprofit tenants are saving $5.4 million in annual rent
  • Supporting peer organizations more through shared outreach and workshops - e.g. Thrive Alliance sends out a regular newsletter curating opportunities, workshops, resources, etc. across the Bay Area, this can help reduce nonprofit marketing costs 
  • Applying the design-thinking methodology to day-to-day work - e.g. sharing stories and listing insights, doing work in smaller groups


Join the DSO Family

  • Make social impact 
  • Collaborate and connect with talented and passionate teammates around the world
  • Grow professionally and personally 


Get in touch to learn more about us and what we do: inquiries@dsoglobal.org.

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Final Project Report
Final Project Report

Hello!

In this report, we feature our recently-concluded work with the School Justice Project, which is a legal services and advocacy organization serving older students with special education needs who are involved in the District of Columbia’s justice systems.

Featured Project

From October 2018 - October 2019 Development Solutions Organization (DSO), a non-profit consultancy, worked with School Justice Project (SJP) and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (D.C.) to identify key questions to understand the issues that students with disabilities in D.C.’s justice systems face. DSO’s partner from SJP is the co-chair of the D.C. Superior Court’s Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the Court Education Work Group and a member of the Students in the Care of the District of Columbia Working Group (convened by Councilmember David Grosso) while DSO’s partner from PDS is a member of both groups. 

These groups are focused on improving education for court-involved students via cross-collaboration and coordination among a variety of agencies. The Students in the Care of D.C. Working Group introduced several policy and legislative recommendations listed in the Students in the Care of D.C. Working Group Recommendations (2018 Report) that aim to improve educational opportunities and student achievement of court-involved students. One of the legislative recommendations to establish a Standing Coordinating Committee is moving forward and will be in place next year. As stated in the 2018 Report, the purpose of the permanent Standing Coordinating Committee is to allow agencies, local education agencies, attorneys, advocates, and former students to continue to identify challenges and resolve issues that students in the care of D.C. face in order to improve educational opportunities and student achievement.

In D.C., court-involved students experience challenges enrolling in school, obtaining transferable credit, and receiving special education and related services. D.C.’s justice systems’ responsibilities are split between local D.C. agencies and the federal government, resulting in a fragmented system with lack of cohesion between stakeholders and agencies. DSO’s data findings highlight the lack of data being captured and shared by the various stakeholders. The questions specifically explore statistics around students with disabilities, students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and legal representation.

The lack of publicly available information (aggregate and individual student-level data) is especially notable for certain statistics, such as the number of students with IEPs or who previously had an IEP. Moreover, the students recorded in these statistics are highly mobile, frequently moving in and out of the justice system, foster care, and schools. For dual-jacketed students, those who are involved in the juvenile justice system while in foster care, DSO recommends a comparative and bottom-up approach that would entail contacting agencies that are willing to share individual student-level data, identifying points of contact, compiling lists of students, and passing along the lists to other organizations through Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs).

DSO also looked into credit transfer and special education representation. Regarding credit transfer policies, DSO conducted research on case studies of credit transfer and partial credit policies in 11 states. Through studying the policy landscape in each individual state, DSO gathered key issues that match with D.C.’s pain points regarding credit transfer and recommended best practices to mitigate existing problems. Specifically, the states of Maine, Oregon, and California are highlighted. The Texas Blueprint Committee on education is also studied as an exemplary case for sustainable cross-organization collaboration that encourages accountability.

Through the research process, there are still more questions to be answered and statistics to be explored. In the final section of the report, DSO compiled next steps and additional questions that will be useful to the Standing Coordinating Committee, which was codified by the recent Students in the Care of DC Coordinating Committee Act of 2018. Next steps encompass additional data requests to agencies, alternative data extraction pathways, and more subjects of relevance to the key questions mentioned above. These next steps will hopefully provide a launchpad to improve the education experience for D.C.’s court-involved students. Our Executive Summary deck presented to the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee on 9/25/19 is linked below. To obtain more information about the report, please contact SJP’s Executive Director, Claire Blumenson at info@sjpdc.org.

The DSO team was comprised of DSO Engagement Leads Haejin Hwang, Anthony Buchanan, Justin Pizzimenti, Haidi Al-Shabrawey, and Sanjana Padmanabhan, as well as our remarkable student consultants, Alice Ye, Chloe Li, and Javier Guerrero Vicente. Our wonderful partners on this project included Claire Blumenson, Co-Chair of the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee and Executive Director of School Justice Project, Tayo Belle, Senior Staff Attorney at School Justice Project, and Nakisha Winston, Staff Attorney at Public Defender Service for D.C.

Testimonial

Working with the DSO team was an incredible experience. The leadership the team provided on these difficult issues was unparalleled, and the deliverables that the team produced were high-quality, professional, and extremely useful to our organization and the entire DC community. We are so grateful to the DSO team and students for dedicating such significant time and energy to the research and report. They tackled issues we at SJP have been struggling with for years, and their thorough research, quality synthesis of materials, and detailed analysis will have an enormous impact on improving education for court-involved students with disabilities in DC. Thank you, DSO!” - School Justice Project

Join the DSO Family

  • Make social impact 
  • Collaborate and connect with talented and passionate teammates around the world
  • Grow professionally and personally 

Get in touch to learn more about us and what we do: inquiries@dsoglobal.org.

Links:

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Design Thinking Workshop
Design Thinking Workshop

DSO Update August 2019

Hello Supporters!

We are grateful for a productive DSO summer as we continue projects with our social impact partners who continue to do amazing work. 

New this summer we have two amazing volunteer interns Hanxi and Ankita who are revamping marketing and recruiting materials to increase engagement with students, working professionals, and clients. More specifically, they are planning workshops on campus, connecting with student organizations, and developing a new and improved website to attract more people to volunteer with DSO. 

On July 26th, we hosted a Design Thinking Workshop in the Bay Area on the theme of Nonprofit Operational Sustainability. Over 20 people participated, including both nonprofits and nonprofit supporters. Some immediate feedback indicates this workshop was timely and helpful. DSO member Amy Badiani and alumna Lizzie Li organized the workshop. We’re honored by all the participation and thankful for our co-facilitators from Salesforce.org and studio b:ask.

Stay tuned for the results of these summer efforts in future updates.

Featured Project

Since last October, our D.C. team has been working on an important project to improve education for young people in the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems in Washington, D.C. Many young people, especially youth with identified special education needs, who are detained, committed, incarcerated or placed in the care of the government experience a variety of disruptions to education, which makes it difficult for them to achieve their educational goals. In D.C., there are a number of groups working to ensure these students within D.C.’s justice systems are well served. Public Defender Service (PDS) for D.C. is a model defender organization that seeks to “provide and promote quality legal representation to indigent adults and children facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia.” On the education side, School Justice Project (SJP) uses special education law to ensure that older, court-involved students with disabilities can access a quality education.

DSO’s partner from SJP is the co-chair of the D.C. Superior Court’s Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the Court Education Work Group and a member of the Students in the Care of the District of Columbia Working Group (convened by Councilmember David Grosso) while DSO’s partner from PDS is a member of both groups. These groups are focused on improving education for court-involved students via cross-collaboration and coordination among a variety of agencies. The Students in the Care of D.C. Working Group introduced several policy and legislative recommendations listed in the Students in the Care of D.C. Working Group Recommendations (2018 Report) that aim to improve educational opportunities and student achievement of court-involved students. One of the legislative recommendations to establish a Standing Coordinating Committee is moving forward and will be in place next year. As stated in the 2018 Report, the purpose of the permanent Standing Coordinating Committee is to allow agencies, local education agencies, attorneys, advocates, and former students to continue to identify challenges and resolve issues that students in the care of D.C. face in order to improve educational opportunities and student achievement.

DSO is assisting both groups and the Standing Coordinating Committee by conducting additional research to bolster the initial findings in the 2018 Report and outline substantive issues that the Standing Coordinating Committee should consider once it is formed. DSO’s key research questions aim to illuminate the size and scope of the education issues that court-involved students face and identify best practices on obtaining transferable credit. The team has undertaken a significant data discovery effort with numerous D.C. agencies to identify data that is currently available to answer the key research questions and compile substantive issues that will be shared with the Standing Coordinating Committee. The work is complex but incredibly rewarding. For more information about the topic you can explore Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.

The DSO team is comprised of DSO teammates Haejin Hwang, Anthony Buchanan, Justin Pizzimenti, Haidi Al-Shabrawey, Sanjana Padmanabhan, Alice Ye, Chloe Li, and Javier Vicente and our wonderful partners Claire Blumenson, Co-Chair of the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee and Executive Director of School Justice Project, Tayo Belle, Senior Staff Attorney at School Justice Project, and Nakisha Winston, Staff Attorney at Public Defender Service for D.C.

Testimonial

“The DSO team’s data discovery effort has illuminated the complex data landscape of the DC juvenile and criminal justice systems and illustrated the importance of our work for the population of DC court-involved students with disabilities.”

- Haejin Hwang, DSO DC Engagement Lead and SJP Project Team Lead

Join the DSO Family

  • Make social impact 
  • Collaborate and connect with talented and passionate teammates around the world
  • Grow professionally and personally 

Get in touch to learn more about us and what we do: inquiries@dsoglobal.org

Links:

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Rosh Mehta and Jenny Zhu share their analysis
Rosh Mehta and Jenny Zhu share their analysis

Hello!

We’re honored for another DSO-year of working on amazing projects with amazing social impact partners around the world. We also did something that helped us empathize better with what our partners may experience when doing projects with us: we turned ourselves into the client. We asked for help improving our website and improving how we recruit and retain teammates.

Featured Project

Our 2019 social impact case competition focused on improving how we recruit and retain teammates at DSO. Students are an active and core part of our organization, and we engaged 10 student teams from Carnegie Mellon University and Robert Morris University to share their ideas and solutions. It was a very insightful “for Students by Students” approach. The case competition resulted in immediately implementable improvements to DSO’s website and GlobalGiving page, as well as a tactical 6-month action plan for creating a more engaging and simplified recruiting process, developing partnerships with universities and local communities, and enabling more student leadership. The case competition also ended with many participants signing up to join DSO!

To make this case competition a success, DSO partnered with Carnegie Mellon University’s American Marketing Association and Undergraduate Consulting Club. Carnegie Mellon Professor Joy Lu and Academic Advisor and Program Manager Dr. Stephen Pajewski helped prep the students and helped judge the case competition respectively. We’re so grateful for everyone’s hard work (on all aspects from smooth logistics to overall experience), creativity, and guidance to make this an energizing and helpful experience.

Congrats to the first-place team: Matthew Guo, Ankita Kundu, and Hinna Hafiz! (our ‘DSO Family’ messaging up-front and center is because of their insights)

DSO teammates Kelly Mok, Maria Rymer, Anthony Buchanan, Saurabh Sanghvi, Marcy Held, and Amy Badiani helped put the case together, participated in judging, and discussed social impact with the participants.

Testimonials

“I loved learning about DSO’s mission. It’s inspiring to see people at all stages of their career come together to work on social impact. The case competition presented a unique challenge that required us to think outside of the box and combine our experiences with marketing skills. Our strategy was to expand upon the potential of students, increase the presence, and develop more personal connections. We presented on ideas such as leveraging student networks, informalizing the interview process, and targeting alumni at prestigious companies. The DSO team was encouraging and gave thoughtful feedback throughout the process, which made the case competition an absolute joy to work on.” - Roshni Mehta, Case Comp Participant & Student, Carnegie Mellon University

"The case competition was great! The teams all approached the problem differently and we are already implementing several suggestions - improving our website, better showcasing our value proposition and great team members, and simplifying our student outreach. We look forward to some of the team members joining DSO to co-create their vision with us."  - Anthony Buchanan, CXO, DSO

Join the DSO Family

  • Make social impact
  • Collaborate and connect with talented and passionate teammates around the world
  • Grow professionally and personally

Get in touch for a chat to learn more about us and what we do: inquiries@dsoglobal.org.

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Organization Information

Development Solutions Organization (DSO)

Location: Washington D.C. - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @dsoglobal
Project Leader:
DSO Team
Washington D.C., Washington D.C. United States
$7,170 raised of $30,000 goal
 
134 donations
$22,830 to go
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