Mission: Helping all students and their families, with a focus on financially disadvantaged households, by:
(a) Giving inspiration and hope that their goals are attainable;
(b) Assisting them with the financial aid process and awarding scholarships; and
(c) Supporting them in the attainment of their post-secondary goals at the lowest possible cost.

Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1983, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://grasp4va.org/

 2821 Emerywood Parkway
Suite 204
Richmond VA 23294 

  804-527-7726


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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.




Exceptional

This charity's score is 100.00, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

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

88.0%


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

10.4%


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

1.5%


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

0.0%


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

$0.01


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

1.94 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

26.11%


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.
(Less)
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.
(Less)
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.

(Less)

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 W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Kenneth D. Barker, President, CEO

$60,000 (2.58% of Total Expenses)


Elizabeth E. Heggie, Chief Operating Officer

$75,819 (3.26% of Total Expenses)


Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

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:

Scholarships (other) (BMF activity code: 040)

Student loans (BMF activity code: 041)


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.


Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery


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

GRASP did continue to receive donations. We also applied and received the PPP loan and thus were able to employ a full staff.


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

Our major direct program is college financial aid advising with students directly in 87 high schools. Because the pandemic caused schools to become virtual, in most cases, we had to shift our services to virtual as well. Our advisors had to adapt to advising and helping students complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) through video meetings (including screen sharing), phone, email and texting. The other challenge for us with not being in the schools was that the number of students we assisted decreased because we did not have the "in person" ability to connect with students who might not know about our services. Just as the national news indicated that FAFSA completions were down, we felt that same impact as FAFSA completions are one of the main things with which we provide assistance to students/families. FAFSA completion is crucial, as it is the basis colleges use to determine the financial aid package a student receives.


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

Because the pandemic caused schools to become virtual, in most cases, we had to shift our services to virtual as well. Our advisors had to adapt to advising and helping students complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) through video meetings (including screen sharing), phone, email and texting. Additionally, our office staff began working remotely, as well. Virtual training was also done for our annual advisor training sessions which required adjustments from our usual in-person training. The entire GRASP organization maintained a "can do" attitude continuing to support students and working to ensure career and college access for all.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

The shift to virtual programming allowed advisors to meet with students/parents during evenings and weekends which helped many families who may not be able to meet with a GRASP advisor during school hours because of work schedules. Although we hope to be back in school buildings again, we will likely continue to have some virtual hours for meetings to better accommodate people's schedules.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
7/1/20202019 100.00
2/1/20202018 100.00
6/1/20192018 97.17

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.

6/1/20182017 97.17
6/1/20172016 94.34
6/1/20162015 92.21
Rating Version: 2.0
2/1/20162014 92.12

...   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

Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) 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.

Do you work at Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP)? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) reported its three largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$846,497

Spent in most recent FY

58%

Percent of program expenses


GRASP is a non-profit organization specializing with helping students and their families, regardless of financial resources, to develop an educational plan for post secondary education. GRASP's profes ... (More)


$350,860

Spent in most recent FY

24%

Percent of program expenses


Unique among many college access and success programs, GRASP operates several scholarship programs, including at least one scholarship for every school it serves. Students have the option to use these ... (More)


$246,078

Spent in most recent FY

17%

Percent of program expenses


GRASP anticipates continuing to take advantage of the Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program ("NAP") and Education Improvement Scholarship Program ("EISP"). The NAP and EISP programs prov ... (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 Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) is a passing score.

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


Helping all students and their families, with a focus on financially disadvantaged households, by:<br>(a) Giving inspiration and hope that their goals are attainable;<br>(b) Assisting them with the financial aid process and awarding scholarships; and<br>(c) Supporting them in the attainment of their post-secondary goals at the lowest possible cost.<br>


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


Career and college access for all.


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: Increasing GRASP’s visibility throughout the community and the state (VA)

Goal Type: This goal reflects our commitment to further our advocacy work for our organization and or cause area.


Goal Two: Strengthen collaborative efforts to expand the GRASP model to additional schools in Virginia

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Three: Work to bridge the gap for students between high school graduation and college (i.e. workforce credential, associate's degree, bachelor's degree) matriculation and completion

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

GRASP encouraged and has invested in Chief Compliance and Program Officer Anne Michie to participate in Leadership Metro Richmond’s Leadership Quest Program. The program is a ten-month program bringing together approximately 65 business and community members to learn more about the Richmond region’s most challenging issues and how to make an impact. GRASP has also become a member of CNE (Center for Nonprofit Excellence) so that staff can participate in professional development opportunities.

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:
  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Raising Awareness

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

GRASP is involved in career and college advocacy in several ways. We are an organization participant with both the Virginia College Access Network and the National College Attainment Network wherein we collaborate on strategies to help ensure career and college access for all. This includes sharing best practices and advocating at state and federal levels to work toward education optimization for students beyond high school.

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.


Because the pandemic caused schools to become virtual, in most cases, we had to shift our services to virtual as well. Our advisors had to adapt to advising and helping students complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) through video meetings (including screen sharing), phone, email and texting. Additionally, our office staff began working remotely, as well. Virtual training was also done for our annual advisor training sessions which required adjustments from our usual in-person training. The entire GRASP organization maintained a "can do" attitude continuing to support students and working to ensure career and college access for all. Just as the world continues to be impacted by COVID, GRASP is remaining flexible as the new school year begins. Depending on the school system, if the GRASP advisor is able to meet in person with students/families we are able to do that; however, we still have all of our virtual capabilities and are able to meet the needs of guiding students/families through the college financial aid process and toward educational goals.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

...   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

Not Currently Scored

Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

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.


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Culture & Community Report

Unscored

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Not Scored


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.)


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 identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve


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

The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders


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.

Note: The organization did not respond to this question.



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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