CHESTER COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION GRANT PROPOSAL SUMMARY SHEET

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1 I. CHESTER COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION GRANT PROPOSAL SUMMARY SHEET One page only. This page will be shared electronically with Grant Committee Members & Fund Advisors. Note: If Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia s Common Grant Application is used, the CCCF s Summary Sheet MUST accompany application. To obtain an electronic version of this application, visit Date: September 12, 2015 Contact Information: Organization Name: Orion Communities Address: 247 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA Contact Phone: Fax: Website: Year Incorporated: 1980 Contact Name: Kris Keller Contact Title: Executive Director Has your nonprofit ever applied to the Community Foundation? Yes _x_ No Not Sure Has your nonprofit ever received funding from the Community Foundation? Yes _x_ No Not Sure Donor Advised Fund(s) Fund for Chester County x Don t know/not sure Field/s of Interest: Arts, Culture & Humanities Environment/Animal Welfare Education Health x_ Human Services Religion Organization Information: Geographic Area Served (If not all of Chester County, specify primary Chester County regions served): Greater Phoenixville Area is focus but Orion will serve anyone in need in Chester County. Describe Population Served and Annual Number of People Served: Orion serves the poorest of the poor. Incoming client contacts increased dramatically since Orion s reorganization in Expectation is Orion will serve over 500 people in Mission: Orion Communities is a community based non-profit organization that provides interim case management, outreach and supportive services to residents who are experiencing poverty, illness or disability. Orion connects residents in the greater Phoenixville area to services that engender hope, dignity and self-reliance. Proposal Summary: Orion Communities client, partner agency, donor and volunteers connections have increased rapidly in the past 9 months and our physical space and record keeping systems need to be upgraded for improved efficiency at all levels of the organization. Currently in matching gift campaign - $1 gift = $2! If Capacity Building Proposal: Mission, Vision & Strategy Governance & Leadership Strategic Relationships Fundraising & Development X_Operations Other: Annual Budget $ 112, _ # of Full-Time Equivalent Paid Staff 82*_ % of budget for program expenses 6 # of Board Volunteers 13*_ % of budget for administrative expenses 10 # of Active Non-Board Volunteers 5 % of budget for fundraising expenses _2000+_ # of Volunteer Hours 100 % total **Please note: our professional case managers are volunteers thereby keeping our program costs down. Orion does not receive government funding which also keeps our administrative cost low enabling Orion to be a low cost provider to our neighbors in need. Top 3-5 funding sources: Community Coalition, Phoenixville Comm. Health Foundation, Connelly Foundation, Bard Foundation Grant Amount Requested from CCCF: $ 5,000.00

2 Dec '14 Jan '15 Feb '15 Mar '15 Apr '15 May '15 Jun '15 Jul '15 Aug '15 Chester County Community Fund Capacity Building Grant Request Orion Communities 2015 Organization s history, goals, key achievements and distinctiveness In Dec 2014, Orion Communities had less than 40 incoming client contacts. By Aug 2015, those contacts had grown to over 340 for the month! That tremendous growth to serve our neighbors in need is the reason for this capacity building grant request. Orion Communities has a long history of serving those in need in the Greater Phoenixville Area. Thirty five years ago, Orion began with a primary focus of working with people with disabilities and helping to find them employment. Since that time Orion has responded to unmet needs in the community, expanding our focus to include people experiencing poverty and illness as well as disabilities. Orion has a particularly strong history of working with individuals and families who might fall through the cracks of other agencies because they don t meet the guidelines/regulations of many organizations. In early 2014, with support of local foundations, funders and advisers, the Board of Directors decided to return Orion Communities to its grass roots. The Board stepped in to take over dayto-day operations. Orion became a volunteer run and operated organization with the office hours reduced to 20 per week. The intent of this transition was to understand the needs in the community at the street level and to restructure as a sustainable non-profit model. By the end of 2014, it was clear that Orion filled an unmet need in the community to work with the most vulnerable of our neighbors. With the continued support and encouragement of donors and clients, Orion increased office hours by 50%, began raising money for the Community Emergency Fund, hired a part time office manager/volunteer coordinator, recruited a volunteer Executive Director with an MBA and management experience plus signed on an experienced non-profit Board treasurer. In June of this year, after a very successful first time major event at the Colonial Theater and with continued increases in clients, Orion increased the office manager s position to 5 days per, added a bilingual summer intern with a BA in psychology and decided to hire a part time Executive Director by October. The graph at right shows a dip in clients during July the believed causes are a possible summer lull but more likely due to increased efficiencies in the office with increased staff. In August the numbers continued their previous trajectory. At the beginning of 2015, the office was staffed with 1-2 people but now we have 3-4 staff and volunteers in the office every day and 2 people for evening hours Phone Walk ins

3 The reality is 40% of American s between 25 and 60 years of age will spend one or more years of their life at or below the poverty line during that period of time (Philadelphia Inquirer, October 28, 2014). But people are resilient and often in 1-2 years they have again moved out of poverty. Orion helps this large segment of the population get back on their feet as well as assisting those with ongoing income or financial challenges. Due to the tremendous response of client and partner agencies trusting the newly reorganized/reinvigorated Orion and new funding sources having confidence that Orion can and will support our most vulnerable neighbors, partner agencies have referred to Orion Communities as the community hub of local health care service. We have wonderful partners in northern Chester County and, depending on the complexity of each client s situation, we collaborate with others to make the best use of resources (time, energy and money) to support our most vulnerable neighbors. Orion s growing funding base has resulted from several key steps. First, demonstrating increased financial consciousness and controls in the organization. The next step has been to demonstrate that Orion was meeting an unmet need in the community as is shown by our current metrics. And third has been creating new revenue streams such as new donor relationships and new events beginning with the successful concert Music For Everyone held at the Colonial Theater in June of this year. Our Community Emergency Fund has grown from zero to an average of $3500+/month for imminent and critical needs for life essentials. Funding request: Orion Communities is requesting $5,000 from the Chester County Community Foundation to improve our operations in response to our growing case load. We want to continue to be responsive to new requests from our vulnerable population while increasing operational efficiencies and communication outreach. Orion has a fabulous team of experienced volunteer case managers, partner agencies to collaborate with and a dedicated and resourceful staff. We recognize our need to increase capacity for our programs and to do so in incremental and efficient steps. Orion s grant request is threefold: Management Systems, Physical Space and Community Emergency Fund. 1) Management Systems Contact management system(s) for client, donor and volunteer information. The previous administration did not keep a mailing list and the first donor list was created from return address labels and scraps of paper found in the office. We have implemented systems - paper file and excel/word - for keeping track of clients, donors and volunteers. These have become cumbersome and inefficient as our record keeping and management needs continue to increase. Payroll system. Our initial hires were contract hires as we needed to ensure long term employment. This Fall we are hiring staff as employees which includes increased payment to staff responsibilities.

4 Accounting system. We are currently using QuikBooks and this is expected to meet our needs for the foreseeable future. 2) Marketing & Communications This past year, the outreach focus has been rebuilding relationships in the community with clients and partner agencies. Orion has reached out to partner agencies to share information about the new organization, personnel and emergency funds available for our neighbors in need. Clients word-of-mouth have also spread the word that Orion is here to help. Our next outreach is to funders and volunteers to allow us to increase our positive impact. This includes both marketing materials and participation with local events and organization such as community festivals and Time Bank. To the best of our knowledge, Orion has not prepared an annual report in its 35 year history. With the dramatic reorganization and rebirth, Orion will create an annual report that captures both its solid program foundation as well as the good news of current work to be a sustainable non-profit organization. 3) Physical Space 1-2 additional telephones and dedicated phone lines for our clients. Our clients can have hour long phone calls to reconcile utility bills, talk with Legal Aid, and hold job interviews. Our current 2 phone lines and 1 fax line capacity have reached their limits. 1 copier/fax for dedicated client use. Orion s clients use our computers to create resumes, fill out job applications, and even create business cards and flyers. Clients also need to send documents to other service agencies or legal offices. When the client numbers were few, we could control confidentiality issues but the incredible influx makes it possible that a client may inadvertently picked up printouts from Orion s single copier that were meant for the staff. Wall partitions. Currently there is one space for a private conversation, we would like a second consulting space and an office for the new executive director (The Board has asked the current volunteer ED to continue with the paid position ED s office this year has been at the conference table which has been an acceptable short term solution). Desk and storage for director. Note: Orion is considering moving to a larger office. We are trying to take balanced and incremental steps toward expansion. The items listed above are essential whether we move to a larger office in 3 months or 3 years. A grant from the Chester County Community Foundation will specifically be used to address the growing number of people coming to Orion for assistance. A local pastor said Orion is essential and so it seems. Every week, more clients reach out to us for assistance and more agencies refer individuals and families to our door. Orion is unique in that we do not receive government funding so we catch the individuals and families that can fall through the cracks of other agencies due to geographical boundaries, family size, time since last job, or organization mission. This funding will allow us to continue to reach the most vulnerable in the community.

5 How impact and results will be demonstrated Automated client management systems will allow us to more readily access files, improve accuracy/completeness of files, identify gaps and trends in client services, and report metrics. Automated donor records will improve efficiencies in raising funds to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in the community. Automated volunteer records will ease staffing for special events and to meet needs in the office. Costs - Combined client and donor management systems range from clunky for free to $100/month/user (with 4-6 users that would be expensive). Volunteer staffing should be accommodated with most client/donor systems. We are currently evaluating payroll systems in the $ /month range for unlimited or up to 10 users. Research has indicated that an outside payroll organization will charge approximately $700 per year. Additional telephone capability, copier/fax with ink and office furnishings will enable our clients to more readily work toward their goals to move towards of self-reliance and financial stability. Approximate costs $ first year. Budget estimates for 2016 Management Systems Client and donor contact $ Payroll $676 Marketing & Communications Outreach $ Annual Report $ Physical space Technology $ Office furnishings $ TOTAL $ Costs over $5000 will be covered by the matching gift. Matching monies received that exceed funds needed will be added to Community Emergency Fund to address the increasing clients and their requests for critical life essentials such as food, shelter and clothing.

6 Current strategic plan Orion Communities does not have a formal strategic plan but has a grant pending to fund this process in the coming year. Annual Report Orion has not prepared annual reports. Due to the transitions of 2014, a report was not prepared for the past year though we intend to prepare an annual report in 2016 for the current year. Attachments: Copy of 501 (c) (3) federal tax-exempt letter List of Board of Directors, with their affiliations Itemized organizational operating budget with actual results for prior fiscal year and current fiscal year to date

Field/s of Interest: Arts, Culture & Humanities Environment/Animal Welfare Education _X Health Human Services Religion

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