When everyone comes out a winner

With $10,000 at stake, a team of young bankers help nonprofit Brooklyn Woods future proof its business

It’s Liz again, back with the final update on the pro bono project my team and I have been working on. After twelve weeks of hard work and learning the ins and outs of Brooklyn Woods’ situation, the time had arrived for our final presentation to the Taproot Foundation and Barclays’ senior management. Not only was our pride in our work at stake, but also the opportunity to win a $10,000 grant for Brooklyn Woods. No pressure!

Prior to our presentation, we transferred our deliverables to Brooklyn Woods and trained them in how to use them. Our final deliverables included a vanity pricing model, marketing framework and a list of prospective clients, which I talked about in depth in my prior post. We provided them with a 12 month plan that incorporates these deliverables into three main areas:  business model implementation, relationship management and new business acquisition. The pricing model allows for increased financial control by tracking multiple projects at once and clarifies the feasibility of specific projects, while allowing BWI to bid more intelligently and competitively. Through the review of existing and future business, BWI can better manage projects and plan for future projects and minimize potential disruptions or delays. Alongside this, BWI will work on strengthening their existing business relationships and developing new clients through targeted prospecting and the roll out of new marketing materials and increased social media presence. The framework for marketing and client relationship management includes a quarterly newsletter, electronic brochure and social media initiatives. This framework showcases both the top quality products BWI makes, as well as the social impact of the product and local roots of the program.

The night of our presentation, we went through the mission of BWI and their social impact on the community and lives of their program’s participants. We then addressed what specific challenges BWI faces and the solution that we had developed. Luckily for our group, we were the first to present before our nerves got the best of us! However, it definitely wasn’t easy to sit through the rest of presentations. All of our colleagues (and competitors in this case) had done an outstanding job working with their nonprofits, and delivered creative, tailored solutions for their own specific challenges. While it was nerve wracking to sit through, it was also inspirational and moving to see the work that had been done and realize that we all won in this situation, regardless of which nonprofit got the money. Each group had created solutions for their nonprofit that would ultimately benefit the communities we live and work in, and drive positive change.

After all of the presentations, the judges determined that we won! We were extremely excited to win the challenge and be able to tell Brooklyn Woods that they had qualified for the $10,000 grant. It is especially inspiring to hear that they are already using the tools we created, which are adding value in a real way for Brooklyn Woods. Brooklyn Woods is thrilled about the grant opportunity and will use the funds for business development that will lead to quality paid transition work experiences for their graduates.  Brooklyn Woods has a bright future and I’m excited to see the progress they make over the next year. Hopefully, when the time comes for me to put down roots and buy a home in New York City, I can order my bathroom vanities from Brooklyn Woods and watch our project come full circle!