The Pathway to Expansion

The Equity in Education Coalition (EEC) is Washington’s only civil rights organization that is focused on building a revolution in education so that a child’s race and zip code are not the predicating factors in defining their success.

When EEC contacted Ostara, the organization was expanding its development operations to include contributed income and earned revenue. The organization needed help articulating its strategic advantage and business model in order to craft communications and strategy for fundraising. To help EEC, Ostara placed a consulting team to help improve their development communications and fundraising strategy in grants.

To start, Karen Hirsch facilitated sessions with Executive Director Sharonne Navas and other key staff members to create EEC’s Theory of Change and Case for Support. This helped create organizational consensus and narrative to fuel fundraising efforts.

Prior to working with Ostara, EEC had experienced success with a few large grants and long-term funders. However, EEC had not completed a comprehensive research project and the organization needed support organizing, prioritizing, and strategizing about grant funders. To help them in this area, Bailey Disher completed in-depth research on existing and new prospects, provided recommendations about how to prioritize prospects and engage funders thoughtfully, and organized an 18-month grant timeline with key steps for grant cultivation, execution, and stewardship.

As a result of our multi-leveled work, EEC staff was equipped with tangible tools to build a grants program, more clarity in telling the organization’s story, and a greater feeling of support in their work.

  • “As a micro-nonprofit, sometimes it falls on me as Executive Director, to be the Jill-Of-All-Trades and that is an overwhelming feeling all of the time. When I met with Karen, Kyle, and Bailey at Ostara, I walked away with more than just tangibles. I walked away knowing I had a full team in my corner.

    Bailey literally changed my life for 18 months. We had initially met about a grant calendar and research and what I received in her first draft was so much more than *just* a grant matrix. I really appreciate that her research was intentional, open-minded, well thought out, and promises more amazing information as we work together on this.

    [Thanks to] Karen for being such an amazing listener and confidant who gently pushed me where we both know I needed to go but was reluctant because of the safety of ‘what was’ and the fear of ‘what’s next.’

    It no longer feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. Neither I nor the EEC would be on such a good pathway if it weren’t for the team at Ostara. Thank you so much — for being available, for being amazing, and for being willing to take us on as clients.”

    Sharonne Navas, Executive Director at the Equity in Education Coalition