SCOPE helps build small non-profits

Training on how to run an effective non-profit; consultants advising on the right way to complete federal grant application forms; sharing experiences with other similar non-profits. These are all part of the SCOPE Demonstration Project.

Calvin Mims, executive director of the Ellington White Project, a local youth arts organization, stated he could not put a value of the experience he received through SCOPE. "It taught me how to be open to the ideas of my staff and how to evaluate my organization, myself and my staff with an open mind. It has been tremendous!"

Sonia Plata, director of New Detroit's SCOPE Initiative, describes her role in connecting small, non-profit organizations to the right professionals as "providing depth to an organization, and not just scratching the surface" of their needs.

Prior to being renamed SCOPE (Strengthening Community Organizations to Promote Effectiveness), New Detroit’s grant program concentrated on funding and basic technical assistance. Now, SCOPE offers workshops that include leadership skills, executive training, and board development. By offering administrators the tools and training that exemplify growth, vision and strength, SCOPE is helping executive directors learn how to effectively do their jobs.

In 2001, seven non-profit organizations were chosen to participate in a three-year Demonstration Project as part of the first phase of this program. Selected organizations received a grant totaling $17,500 over three years. The organizations also qualified for an additional $17,500 worth of technical assistance, specific to capacity building. The Skillman Foundation made these awards possible though a five-year funding initiative to New Detroit.

In order to provide this extensive training, Plata established partnerships with Wayne State University's School of Social Work, Detroit Executive Service Corp. and other non-profit consultants to piece together a web of opportunities to strengthen the skills of key staff and board members of each organization. Together, the SCOPE team designed workshops around technology and small business concerns, provided executive mentors for guidance purposes, and prepared organizational assessments for each funded organization.

Plata is encouraged by the progress of the funded groups over the course of the grant. "Some of the groups really moved themselves along this continuum, while others are continually making progress."

Fourteen new non-profit community and faith based organizations have been selected for the 2003 Demonstration Project's second phase. For more information on SCOPE, contact New Detroit at (313) 664-2000 or www.newdetroit.org.