Mission: A Better Chance is the oldest and only national organization of its kind changing the life trajectory for academically talented youth of color via access to rigorous ... (More)

A Better Chance is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1972, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.abetterchance.org

 253 West 35th Street
15th Floor
New York NY 10001 

  646-346-1310


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Needs Improvement

This charity's score is 74.36, earning it a 2-Star rating. Charity Navigator believes donors can "Give with Confidence" to charities with 3- and 4-Star ratings.

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

66.0%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

12.7%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

21.1%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

25.8%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.34


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

0.07 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

3.40%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
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Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
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Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

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Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Sandra E. Timmons, President

$370,315 (7.43% of Total Expenses)


Current CEO and Board Chair can be found in the Leadership & Adaptability report below.

Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2019

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Endowment fund or financial services (BMF activity code: 922)


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


A Better Chance reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity

  • Balance Sheet


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

The pandemic led to the cancellation of A Better Chance’s Annual Luncheon, its largest annual fundraiser and community gathering which typically generates over $1 million in vital funding for programming and operations. Demonstrating adaptability, the organization transitioned the gala into a virtual event and raised significant support that bridged 60% of the shortfall from the canceled event in 2020. A Better Chance was able to grow its individual giving and institutional giving, pioneering new partnerships to support its new programmatic structure and begin to develop new competencies in post-secondary educational and career exploration. Cumulatively, A Better Chance was able to exceed its FY 20 revenue goal and raise nearly $3.5M in philanthropic revenue.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

As a result of COVID-19, A Better Chance transitioned all in-person programming to online platforms, leveraging tools like Google Classrooms, Zoom, GoToMeeting, StreamYard, SparkHire, and more. In addition to migrating legacy programming (Summer Leadership Academy, Interview Day, Member School Fairs) to online platforms, the Programs team stood up new programmatic offerings, most notably developing in 2020 (and implementing in early-2021) an inaugural Virtual Career Week that provided Scholars and Alumni with access to career exploration panels, career coaching, and virtual job shadowing. The team also leveraged technology to launch new support resources including new virtual Parent Town Halls (delivered quarterly) to ensure there is a consistent touchpoint with families throughout the year. We also implemented new online resources including virtual office hours and a centralized repository of digitized resources for students and families preparing to apply to Member Schools.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

As a result of COVID-19, A Better Chance transitioned all in-person programming to online platforms, leveraging tools like Google Classrooms, Zoom, GoToMeeting, StreamYard, SparkHire, and more. The organization adapted to the changing conditions caused by COVID-19, by developing and implementing feedback loops (i.e., regular surveys, quarterly parent town halls, and more) to ensure it was able to be responsive to the emerging needs of its Scholar and Alumni community. These efforts also provided ongoing opportunities to assess new programming that the organization was standing up and to drive quality and process improvements. A Better Chance also strategically engaged longstanding and new partners to invest in its new programmatic structure and to collaborate on opportunities to ignite interest in different career paths and provide hands-on learning opportunities through support of enrichment programming, internships, and more.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

A Better Chance will make permanent a robust, blended platform (in-person and online) for program delivery. Given its national scale and community of over 2,000 Scholars and 17,000 Alumni, enhancements in its technological capacity over the last year has enabled A Better Chance to leverage the power of technology to amplify its reach and impact. Regional and local, in-person programming will continue to be an important facet of its services going forward. Online platforms augment existing capacity to bring Scholars, new students, and Alumni together from around the country, surmounting limitations of geography to strengthen engagement, community-building and delivering new core service offerings at scale including resources for post-secondary education and career exploration.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
7/1/20212019 74.36
5/1/20202018 73.90
3/1/20202017 75.40
7/1/20192017 74.20

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

2/1/20182016 71.46
10/1/20162015 76.09
6/1/20162014 83.13
Rating Version: 2.0
11/1/20152014 86.39
8/1/20142013 84.31
8/1/20132012 78.93
7/1/20122011 77.89
3/1/20122010 76.55
2/1/20122010 76.46
9/20/20112010 76.04
Rating Version: 1.0
10/1/20102009 51.47
9/1/20092008 65.01
7/1/20082007 74.86
7/1/20072006 74.78
5/1/20062005 69.06
9/1/20052004 58.57
10/1/20042003 81.83
8/1/20032002 90.84
4/15/20032001 77.72

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

A Better Chance cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



A Better Chance reported its largest program on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


$3,167,544

Spent in most recent FY

100%

Percent of program expenses


A BETTER CHANCE (ABC) WAS FOUNDED IN 1963 DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. EACH YEAR, ABC NATIONALLY RECRUITS, PLACES, & PROVIDES SUPPORT SERVICES TO STUDENTS ENROLLED IN GRADES 4-9 (FO ... (More)


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by A Better Chance is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


A Better Chance is the oldest and only national organization of its kind changing the life trajectory for academically talented youth of color via access to rigorous and prestigious educational opportunities for students in grades 6-12. Founded in 1963, our mission is to increase substantially the number of well-educated young people of color who are capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society. We carry out our mission through our signature College Preparatory Schools Program, which annually recruits, refers and supports about 350 scholars at more than 200 member schools in 29 states. More than 17,000 alumni have now gone on to distinguished careers as physicians, artists, educators, lawyers, politicians and corporate executives.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


Our vision is to be the preeminent resource for identifying, recruiting and developing leaders among young people of color throughout the United States.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: Restructure to focus on our core program in order to organize resources around each critical phase; place 350 new and support 2000 active scholars​, manage 200 Member Schools, accept a cohort of 700

Goal Type: Focus on core programs to achieve mission and scale back on programs not seen as core.


Goal Two: Stand up our Scholar and Alumni Success Team to work on community-building and college and career-exploration initiatives through partnerships. Connecting scholars to 13 internships its 1st year.

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Goal Three: Build organizational capacity; leveraging online tools and resources to connect new students and Scholars from across the country and upgrading our enrollment management, financial and Alumni systems

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

The organization in the past year has invested in its staff's professional development through LinkedIn Learning and Training courses, Management Team and Staff retreats, and support for professional organizations like Forbes Council and AICPA.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

A Better Chance engages with a number of strategies for external mobilization of its mission. One, by developing and implementing feedback loops (i.e., regular surveys, quarterly parent town halls, and more) to ensure it is able to be responsive to the emerging needs of its Scholar and Alumni community. Two, strategically engaging longstanding and new partners to invest in its new programmatic structure, to collaborate on opportunities to ignite interest in different career paths, provide hands-on learning opportunities through support of enrichment programming, internships, etc, and offer volunteer opportunities for direct engagement with scholars; Three, supporting thought leadership within our Orgainztion by encouraging staff, especially Management, to present at conferences like NPEA, moderate events and sit on panels; Four actively posting on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


In February 2020, A Better Chance welcomed a new President and CEO before the pandemic changed so many aspects of our daily life. Adaptability was going to be a central focus for the organization given the shift in leadership, however the pace of change was significantly accelerated by the growing global crisis. The leadership of the organization quickly reached two decisions to meet the moment: First, ensuring that it could deliver the critical aspects of the program virtually and ensure continuity for Scholars and new students. Second, A Better Chance streamlined operations to realize efficiencies for the health and sustainability of the organization during a very uncertain and volatile time. A Better Chance restructured its Programs team with an aim of organizing resources around each critical phase of the Scholar to Alum journey. The organization launched three teams: Schools and Placements Team; Preparation and Success Team; and Scholar and Alumni Success Team. By delivering programming this way, the organization seeks to provide a more uniform, quality programmatic experience for Scholars and parents across the nation and believe these efforts will add further value to the A Better Chance community. A Better Chance leveraged online tools to deliver legacy, core elements of programming online. We also instituted virtual office hours for students and Programs staff and launched centralized online resources so that families preparing for the independent school application process could access information and updates throughout the admissions process. These shifts, among others, helped A Better Chance not only preserve its impact, but also exceed its key performance indicators for the year—with 523 student placements leveraging over $17M in financial aid from Member Schools, induction of 713 new students beginning the journey to apply to A Better Chance Member Schools, and having its strongest fundraising year in the last six years.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Francisco J. Tezen

President & CEO

Theo Killion

Chair

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by A Better Chance is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of an organization's Culture and Community by measuring its Constituent Feedback practices (see report below). Constituent Feedback data provides 100% of the basis for the initial evaluation of the Culture & Community Beacon.


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Culture & Community Report

100

of 100 points

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Full Credit


This organization reported that it is collecting feedback.


Here's how this organization is listening and learning from the people they serve:


How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Community meetings or town halls, Suggestion box/email


How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve


With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?

Our staff, Our board


What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?

It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.

At teh begining of 2021 we added our Scholar and Success Team who work on community-building, college and career-exploration initiatives, and defining Scholar and Alumni support services in the future. This was in response to our scholars and families feedback about wanting my college and career opportunities and our corporate partners wanting to engage with our high school age scholars and college aged alums.



Methodology


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We've partnered with GuideStar by Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.


Charity Navigator awards full credit for this Beacon to every nonprofit that is eligible for an Encompass Rating that completes the survey, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. This data is not evaluated for quality at this time. Validation will be added in future iterations of this Beacon.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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