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There better be an authentic need

Created by Kauffman Foundation.

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Video transcript

- My name is Beth Schmidt, and my organization is called Wishbone.org. I started Wishbone to actually send low-income students on these after school and summer programs that are otherwise pretty much cost prohibitive for that demographic. I never would have actually thought I would start an organization that wasn't on my to-do list in life. When you see a need and you see a gap, and you experience that gap first hand, there's not really a choice to turn away from it. You have more guts and more ambition and more drive when you see something first hand. And I always tell entrepreneurs who are looking to start something, there better be an authentic need that you see. Right, you can't just kind of come up with an idea and not test that need. I was a teacher and so the thing that fueled me right away was seeing the faces of my students. But I think the pieces that keep me really engaged are the ways that we track students, seeing their grades go up and seeing their engagement levels go up, and what a game changer this can be for them. It's interesting to see that a lot of these life long skill sets like confidence and grit and persistence really come from these activities that are pursued outside of school. For a long time even when you win with non-profits, you really don't win. Because you might win it for that year, and then you're doing it all over again the next year. So thinking about sustainability early on in a model I think is imperative. I think non-profits are coming to a new age, and that age is sustainability. And thinking about non-profits just as any for profit company. I think the pitfall to non-profits is when you know you fundraise and fundraise and fundraise year after year, and nobody wins. Your model is not sustainable, you are constantly looking for new people to fund you, and it's not fun for anyone. The positive piece to this is that we're coming to a new age where people and new leaders are really looking at non-profits as a sustainable market. There are ways that we're looking to kind of remain sustainable, as opposed to continually fundraising. And I think that's important to think about when you're looking at scale. It's kind of the new non-profit way.