Capstone Courses and Projects

Brooklyn Arts Council

Arts in Education Administration and Operations Evaluation
"The Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) is an arts and services organization that facilitates programs for artists, teachers, students, families, and seniors throughout Brooklyn. BAC's largest department, Arts in Education (AIE), organizes programs in visual, literary, performing, and digital arts in schools and senior centers. Due to increased funding and program popularity, AIE has grown exponentially over the past five years. With an expansion in programming and reporting responsibilities, AIE's administrative needs have grown but its structure and systems have not. In order to help AIE better facilitate its educational programs as well as meet strenuous reporting requirements, BAC invited the Capstone team to conduct an evaluation and recommend methods to improve its administrative structure and operations. BAC anticipates that the Capstone recommendations will enable it to spend more time developing program goals, conducting outreach to schools, and maintaining relationships with teaching artists. "

Columbia/Barnard Hillel

Expanding Outreach and Impact at a New York City Nonprofit Organization
"Columbia/Barnard Hillel (CBH) strives to create positive and meaningful Jewish experiences for students at Columbia University and Barnard College with the goal of helping them become well­informed adults who choose to lead lives committed to transmitting Jewish values to the next generation. CBH primarily focuses its efforts toward undergraduates and seeks to expand its work with graduate students. CBH engaged a Capstone team to determine the interests of Jewish graduate students for programming and community building through Jewish experiences that are both relevant and meaningful. The Capstone team evaluated and assessed the financial, human resource, physical presence, and overall capacity challenges CBH may face in meeting the needs of Jewish graduate students at Columbia. To generate their findings, the team held a series of key informant interviews, created an online survey, and conducted focus groups. CBH will use the team's findings to develop program recommendations for implementation with graduate students. "

Girls Quest

Examining Definitions and Indicators of Social and Academic Competence for Mission Driven Programming
"Girls Quest aims to improve the social and academic competence of girls ages 8­14 from underserved communities in New York through its summer learning program (SEED). The Capstone team was enlisted to define and determine indicators of ""social and academic competence"" in order to have clear outcomes against which to evaluate SEED and other programs in the future. Through a study of academic and social competence, both from scholarly literature and like­minded organizations, and a workshop with Girls Quest staff and board members, the team facilitated the creation of a definition of social and academic competence that is clear and measurable, as well as specific to Girls Quest. This definition will provide Girls Quest with language to articulate the impact of its program, as well as provide measurable outcomes to ensure the success of future evaluation efforts. "

JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy Foundation

Analyzing Data to Evaluate the Success of the Community Renaissance Strategy Model
"The JPMorgan Chase Foundation utilized a Capstone team in analyzing and implementing its Community Renaissance Strategy, a new grant­making model addressing issues and developing solutions in Community Development, Education, and Arts and Culture across markets that the firm serves. The Capstone team approached the project in three phases. Phase I actively assisted Community Relations Officers with local market analysis and development of busi­ness plans to guide 2008 philanthropic grant making, and created a separate analysis for client review. Phase II was a gap analysis designed to discover to what degree the various market­specific business plans move towards embracing the vision of the Community Renaissance Strategy, and operationalize the vision of the Global Foundation through the proposed grants. Phase III provided the Foundation with analysis and recommen­dations regarding the tools and best prac­tices for the design and implementation of an evaluation and performance measurement framework for the Community Renaissance Strategy. "


Making Volunteers Work: Best Practices in Volunteer Management
"MOUSE is a nonprofit organization that provides technological, leadership, and career readiness opportunities to underserved middle and high school students. The Capstone team was asked to assess MOUSE's organizational readiness and present recommendations on whether the organization should expand its core pro­grams to involve volunteers formally. The team used qualitative research methods to better understand volunteer use and best practices at MOUSE and similar organizations. The team performed a literature review of volunteer management, program design, and best practices, and conducted a SWOT analysis, environmental scan, and interviews with staff members from MOUSE and various nonprofit and private sector organizations currently utilizing volunteers. Research findings served as the basis for recommendations about the appropriateness of integrating volunteers into MOUSE's programs, focusing on topics such as volunteer management systems and best practices, the need for partnerships and networking, and specific steps for planning volunteer program expansion."

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Creating a Next Generation Initiative Model for a Jewish Nonprofit Organization
"The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the Jewish community's premier organization dedicated to rescue, relief, and renewal of Jewish communities abroad. As JDC is strategically planning for its organizational future, it requested a Capstone team to make recommendations concerning a ""Next Generation Initiative"" that will increase awareness among Jewish young adults of JDC and Jewish communities abroad. The Capstone team conducted a review of relevant literature, interviews with key stakeholders at JDC, interviews with other nonprofit organizations engaging young adults, and a survey of Jewish young adults regarding their engagement with the Jewish community. This information was then compiled and analyzed to produce a report of findings and recommendations that will help JDC to address the critical issues currently facing the organization. The report's recommendations provide a firm base for JDC to begin to develop a unique JDC ""Next Generation Initiative"" that will engage Jewish young adults in their mission. "