In May 2012, Domus was one of 15 organizations selected, out of 102 nonprofits invited to apply, to participate in the first cohort of a new Edna McConnell Clark Foundation venture called PropelNext to advance the programmatic impact of promising, primarily local youth-serving organizations across the country.
Through PropelNext, Domus received $200,000 and worked for 18 months with expert strategic consultants to help strengthen our program design and build a performance management system. In December 2013, we were selected to receive another 18 months of coaching and financial support based on our initial achievements.
This work will help us fill key capacity gaps which stand in the way of future growth as we sharpen our Family Advocate program model and make refinements to bolster its effectiveness and achieve better results for young people. So far, our work with our consultants has been intense and enlightening. These thought partners have challenged our way of thinking, have asked us excellent questions, and have helped us be more intentional about our program design. Every individual activity within the program design is now backed up by research. Our approach is more streamlined. In combination with our Sanctuary Model work we have ensured that a trauma-informed approach is now present in every activity. After a rigorous examination of what we want for each child and what changes we can reasonably expect given the duration and dosage of our interventions, we have modified our expected outcomes for each child: They are still aggressive but more accurately reflect what we actually believe we must help a child achieve to meet our overall goals for her. We then revamped our Trailblazers Academy Charter Middle School Wrap-around Services model, which provides a variety of services to high-need middle schoolers.
We have made great strides toward sharpening our results-driven culture and becoming more data-driven in our approach to our work. We’re continuing to partner with funders to continue this learning and drive it into every part of our organization.