In December, Social Venture Partners (SVP) Boulder County announced renewed Catapult investments in three local nonprofits – Community Food Share, KGNU Community Radio and WOW! Children’s Museum. (SVP’s longest-running initiative, Catapult is a pro bono consulting investment that strengthens local nonprofits from the inside out – from board governance and leadership development to strategy, fundraising, communications, technology and more.)
Now comes a follow-up series of blogs – one for each renewing nonprofit – sharing more detailed perspectives about our work together … and our collective, community-wide impact.
WOW! Children’s Museum
“The Catapult investment renewal was great news for our organization, and for the children and families who learn through play at the museum,” says WOW! Executive Director Jennifer Hinderliter. “We are so grateful for SVP’s support and expertise as we continue to grow our capacity and deepen our impact in the community.
“This year, we’re working hard to make the museum as accessible and welcoming as possible, which includes making sure the cost of admission isn’t a barrier. Our Play for All membership for families with low-incomes costs just $10 per year. We’ve been promoting this membership through our community partners and have seen a 60% increase in the number of participating families – 83% of which have household incomes below $50K, which leaves no room in their budgets for luxuries like museum visits. This donor-supported membership program makes museum visits possible for 560 of our member families.”
Continues Hinderliter, “This year, we also want to make the museum more accessible to our youngest visitors – ages 2 and under. They are so excited to explore the museum, and would benefit from having a dedicated space without getting trampled by the bigger kids. In September 2019, we plan to open Micro University [MicroU]. We believe that infants and toddlers are born scientists, critical thinkers and learners, so we’re creating a learning lab for our ‘micro’ audience. This new exhibit will have age-appropriate lab equipment to help children build their skills. Young infants will watch colorful bubbles move through giant test tubes, and older children can press buttons to make those bubbles jump, spin and turn.
“A climber and tunnel with stairs and peepholes will allow growing infants to practice moving large muscle groups. Our large mirror and cruising bar will provide infants that are learning to walk the opportunity to practice those skills. And an oversized microscope and slides and dramatic play equipment – such as lab coats, goggles and plastic beakers – will complete the lab.”
As SVP Lead Partner working with WOW!, Vicky Johns says the organization has gone through “a big re-focusing.”
“The organization is now more clearly and intentionally education-focused, including greater outreach to our Latino community,” she says. “Next year, WOW! will work to bring to life its early childhood vision in ways that get our community excited … as well as raise its profile in the community, especially among donors.”
Johns adds that working on board engagement and board development are also top priorities. “The museum has really begun to shift toward more of a fundraising board, which is incredibly important for this organization. It’s an exciting time to be partnering with the museum, just as they’re on the cusp of getting to the next level in terms of their role and impact in the community.”
Next up, we’ll learn more about SVP’s work with Community Food Share.