10,000 Degrees advances to final round in national competition

Social Impact Exchange to Select Organization Most-Ready and Worthy of Expansion

(San Rafael, CA – May 23, 2011) 10,000 Degrees, an organization with a 30-year history in providing financial, technical and personal support to low-income students to help them earn a college degree has advanced to the final round of the Social Impact Exchange’s –2011 National Business Plan Competition. Entrants are growthready organizations needing assistance to scale their operation. The Competition identifies social sector scaling initiatives with demonstrated impact and readiness to grow then grants the winners up to $100,000 in both financial and consulting awards. 10,000 Degrees is one of the three finalists in the “Early-Stage Growth” category.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be selected as a finalist,” said 10,000 Degrees’ President, Kim Mazzuca. “At 10,000 Degrees we built a lean, mean college graduate machine. This opportunity will help us take our college success solution to scale.”

After a name change and rebranding to reflect its broader mission to serve more low-income students, 10,000 Degrees, formerly Marin Education Fund, began expansion of its college planning and preparation programs to Sonoma County and Solano County. During the 8-month evaluation process, entrants developed and submitted business plans on how they would scale their operations and serve more people. Mazzuca will present before the conference audience and respond to Q& A before a panel of judges at the final round of the Competition at the 2011 Annual Conference on Scaling, June 15 th – 16 th in New York City. Awards will be presented at a ceremony at the close of the Conference.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for all of us,” said President Mazzuca. “Each student, each story and each degree contributes to massive change.”

Judging for the competition is conducted on a pro bono basis by professionals from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Organizations are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated quality, effectiveness/impact (including comparison of results and costs to similar programs), and ability to meet social goals in a timely fashion
     
  • Marketability & scalability– evidence of demand in the marketplace, a plan for reaching potential customers/users and the potential for significant scaling
     
  • Expansion readiness – feasibility of the business/operating model for scaling, process and systems in place, transferability (if geographic scaling), and potential for success
     
  • Strength of the management team and governance structure
     
  • Rigor and feasibility of the financial model including sustainability over the long term
     
  • Evidence of systems to track, monitor, and assess the performance milestones articulated in the business plan

BACKGROUND
The Social Impact Exchange (SIE) consists of the Growth Philanthropy Network and Duke University’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (CSPCS) at the Sanford School of Public Policy and its Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at the Fuqua School of Business. SIE’s purpose is to:

  • Share and develop knowledge that leads to successful execution of local, national and international scaling efforts
     
  • Facilitate increased financing of scaling initiatives through collaborative funding opportunities and venues
     
  • Develop infrastructure that helps build the field of scaling social impact

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