Capstone Courses and Projects

Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers

Evaluating and Planning for Expansion
Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers (CBSBB) is a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring services to New York City’s children regardless of religious affiliation. The unique program focuses on strengthening each child’s entire family by providing family-focused counseling, skills building workshops and one-to-one mentoring. CBSBB requested a Capstone team to evaluate three expansion options and develop an in-depth environmental scan for the most feasible option. The team researched and appraised the impact of current CBSBB programming, examined similar organizations in target communities, performed cost analysis for each option and evaluated the compatibility of CBSBB’s intensive program among different communities and demographics. Additionally, the team assessed the specific needs for mentoring services within the expansion zone, identified potential partnership organizations and provided recommendations for implementing expansion over the short and long term, including any adaptations to the current program that would increase the success of the expansion model.

Child Mind Institute

Development of a "Parent Excellence" Program
Child Mind Institute (CMI), an organization dedicated to finding effective treatments for childhood psychiatric and learning disorders, requested a Capstone team to assist in the creation of a Parent Excellence Program (PEP). The team focused on understanding and exploring opportunities for CMI to become further involved in parent engagement. The team conducted an extensive literature review, interviews with executive administrators, and multiple surveys. The information collected demonstrated that families today look very different in terms of size, proximity, and diversity, compared to families a few decades ago. Additionally, the team discovered that societal factors such as social media, the sluggish economy and the political landscape are also distinct to this generation. The team concluded that all of these factors have the potential to put a well-funded, evidence-based organization like CMI in a unique position to become the leader in parental education, and supported the creation of a PEP that incorporates these findings as an integral first step.

Housing Works Thrift Shops

Informing Strategic Decision-Making Through Sales and Staffing Data Analysis
Housing Works, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those affected by HIV/AIDS, operates Thrift Shops around the New York City area. Housing Works requested the Capstone team to analyze existing sales, staffing, and customer survey data in order to inform its most pressing strategic decisions including upcoming shop lease expiration, fluctuating staffing levels, and pressure to continue growing. The team visited and analyzed Housing Works’ Product Distribution Center, which sorts and distributes all clothing donations, and made recommendations for how it might change or improve current practices in order to increase profitability and reduce overhead cost. By incorporating research about changes in consumer preferences, the unstable economic environment, and wealth density in the Thrift Shops’ respective neighborhoods, the team worked to produce a comprehensive presentation and Executive Summary report outlining analyses and recommendations to be employed by the Thrift Shops’ senior management and Board of Directors.