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Dress for Success

Together We Rise: How 3 Organizations Came Together to Support Mckaila Wright

IMPACT Community Action’s mission is to reduce poverty by providing hope-inspiring help and real opportunities for self-sufficiency.

The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

 

UpRys’ employer of record service provides our nonprofit workforce programs and employers with onboarding, offboarding, and employment management in order to minimize risk exposure, provide workforce flexibility, and reduce administrative effort. The UpRys employer of record platform mitigates risks for employers, nonprofits and employees.

 

Mckaila Wright is a young woman whose early years were filled with challenging circumstances. She left high school to help with family obligations—filling her future with uncertainty and hopelessness.

 

As part of their youth empowerment services, IMPACT provides paid work experience opportunities to youth in Franklin County. UpRys helps IMPACT achieve their mission by providing critical back-office functions to support their youth program.

In early 2019, Mckaila reached out to IMPACT for help and was selected to be an intern at Dress for Success. UpRys Vice President, Workforce Solutions, Tracy Stearns, also serves as a Dress for Success volunteer.

 

Tracy and Mckaila met at IMPACT: “I was very impressed with Mckaila’s positive attitude, drive to succeed professionally and desire to enhance her life” said Stearns. “I knew immediately that with the right tools and support she would do great things with her life and I wanted to help.”

 

As an intern at Dress for Success, Mckaila has learned many key professional skills such as inventory management, project management and technical proficiencies. She credits IMPACT, Dress for Success, and UpRys with helping her gain a set of soft skills that will help her throughout her career and her life including:

  • Responsibility
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Time management
  • Budgeting
  • Perseverance
  • Professionalism

She has also learned the importance of a LinkedIn Profile and is working with her mentors at all three organizations to build one that showcases her new skills and accomplishments.

Before, I could not see a future. I used to live only for today. Now I know there is a tomorrow and I look forward with excitement and hope.

-Mckaila Wright

Mckaila Wright has big dreams and the future looks bright. She is currently attending Focus Learning Academy to complete her high school education and earn her diploma. After that, she plans to attend Columbus State Community College to pursue a career in Human Resources or Nursing. “I really like to help people and find solutions to problems,” said Wright. “I also want to give back by helping young people in my community. I hope that by sharing my story and letting them know help is available they will see a brighter future
is possible.”

When asked about her thoughts on the future, Wright’s answer was quick. “With all of these wonderful people supporting and encouraging me, I know I will succeed.” Stearns agrees “It is truly inspiring to see what can happen when individuals, nonprofit organizations and companies work together to help our community thrive.”

IMPACT Community Action

Exceptional Service is Key to a Successful Partnership

IMPACT Community Action’s mission is “to reduce poverty by providing hope-inspiring help and real opportunities for self-sufficiency.” Each year, IMPACT serves more than 20,000 families and individuals in Columbus and Franklin County who are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

As part of their youth empowerment services, IMPACT provides paid work experience opportunities to youth in Franklin County. Over the years, the in-school (ages 14-18) and out-of-school (ages 16-24) programs have grown to a capacity of more than 200 individuals.

 

While the program has been very successful, an unfortunate side effect was that the added administrative burden shifted focus away from mission-oriented activities. As the program expanded, it became increasingly difficult for the fiscal department to efficiently administer payroll and effectively maintain records. Accurate records are particularly important for IMPACT since programs are funded by outside agencies who require extensive reporting and perform regular audits.

 

We provided support for all three phases of their youth program, including:

 

Preprogram Activity

  • Staff orientation and training
  • Worksite validation
  • Budget assistance
  • On-boarding program participants

 

Program Delivery

  • Collect/validate required paperwork
  • Youth work permit management
  • Payroll administration -Program compliance tracking/reporting

 

Post Program Activity

  • Reports for audit use
  • Unclaimed funds follow up/reports
  • Off-boarding program participants
  • Program debrief

I love that UpRys is multi-faceted. As the program grows, UpRys takes on more responsibility and assists us with program development and promotion. This allows us to remain focused on our mission and continue moving IMPACT forward. We definitely value the relationship with UpRys as well as the services they provide.

-Cassandra Fletcher, Program Manager

The IMPACT/UpRys partnership began 5 years ago. Over the years the partnership has evolved and become stronger.

 

“As our program has expanded, UpRys has always gone above and beyond to meet our needs” said Cassandra Fletcher, IMPACT Program Manager. In addition to the day-to-day activities, the partners meet monthly to provide status updates, evaluate processes and uncover any additional needs. Interaction with UpRys is not limited to these meetings, however. “We work very closely with Tracy Stearns, UpRys, Vice President Workforce Solutions and the rest of the UpRys team” said Fletcher. “We appreciate being able to contact Tracy if an issue comes up and know she will take care of it right away. She stays in constant communication with us and has exceeded our expectations.”

As part of the youth empowerment services, IMPACT provides work experience opportunities to foster youth in Franklin County. “A payroll situation arose with these individuals and UpRys implemented a unique solution to ensure foster youth were paid timely and securely” said Fletcher.

Per Franklin County Children’s Services, foster youth are not permitted to have their own bank account. Therefore, cash cards are the preferred method used to issue paychecks. However, it quickly became clear that providing them with an instant issue cash card with no name and mailing the permanent card was not going to work.

According to Fletcher, since foster youth move from placement to placement, there is no guarantee they will be at the same address when the permanent card arrives—making them easily intercepted or stolen. UpRys worked with the cash card provider to have the permanent cards mailed to UpRys allowing IMPACT to hand cards directly to each individual. “Without the creative thinking and hard work of the UpRys team, this would not have been possible,” said Fletcher.

Be Counted On Foundation

Uprys Partnership: Building Equity & Inclusion

Gerry Hammond is the CEO and Founder of the Be Counted On Foundation, the social enterprise In The Number, and the Hammond Golf Academy. Gerry was in need of UpRys guidance and manpower to help get the Foundation off the ground, update In The Number’s website and messaging, and streamline the three organizations. UpRys provided the structure and support to ensure the client was positioned for success.

UpRys helped Gerry Hammond by providing support for all three of his entities that would fall under the Be Counted On Foundation’s umbrella. The goals for the partnership included:

  • Refine messaging to differentiate the Foundation and In The Number
  • Update In The Number website to provide customers with a consistent, efficient shopping experience
  • Structure the financials for the three organizations to provide better tracking of expenses and income
  • Create brand awareness through social media marketing and special events

 

UpRys and the Be Counted On Foundation have been partners since the summer of 2020. During that time Hammond’s three organizations have evolved into three identifiable entities. The UpRys team successfully accomplished the following:

  • Provided In The Number with a seamless, up-to-date website for purchasing and information
  • Created awareness and officially launched the Be Counted On Foundation through a fundraising marketing campaign and the One Game For All fundraising event
  • Created synchronization across the three brands to allow for easy-to-digest selling for clients and donors
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As a one-man-band and not a lot of resources, I was struggling. I heard about UpRys as a company to come in and provide the structure around the different entities that I had and put me on a path and a trajectory towards north. After only two months, I was further than I had been in ten years. It was a breath of fresh air to have a team provide expertise in so many various areas, and provide the caring and consideration of one’s life and business… I feel very blessed to have been introduced to UpRys.

-Gerry Hammond

As a way to help build awareness and service youth in the community, Gerry Hammond wanted to host a fundraising event at The Golf Depot to officially launch the Be Counted On Foundation. The event would provide youth an opportunity to receive golf instruction at no cost by the support of community sponsors. The event would also help establish the Be Counted On Foundation in Columbus. “The One Game For All Golf Exposition and Clinic was really designed to give youth an opportunity that they’ve never had” said Hammond “It’s time for us to stand up and start working together rather than against each other. That’s what the Be Counted On Foundation is all about.”

 

The event took place at The Golf Depot on June 5th and was open to 100 youth in the community. Through the help of area sponsors including partnerships with local media, Gerry was able to raise significant funds that the Be Counted On Foundation allocated towards scholarships for youth to offset the cost of the Hammond Golf Academy Top 20 Program. UpRys provided Gerry Hammond with the marketing support to ensure the event n was a success and establish the Be Counted On Foundation.

 

As a result of working with UpRYs, the Be Counted On Foundation has significantly substantiated the Be Counted On Foundation in the central Ohio community, improved brand identity and productivity, and reevaluated best practices to effectively run a multi-faceted organization.

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