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The case for investing in proven-risk youth

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Scaling up to further tackle systemic violence

InnerCity Weightlifting (ICW) is a nonprofit that tackles systemic violence in urban Massachusetts by training young people (nearly all of whom have been incarcerated) for careers as fitness coaches. The results are transformative — in 2018 alone, 81% of ICW participants avoided recidivism.

To scale efforts and expand impact and outreach, PwC began a pro bono engagement with ICW to help address fundraising challenges and operational inefficiencies threatening the organization’s ability to sustain its progress.


     In the client’s words

“PwC helped us carve out time to work together and guide the necessary conversations we needed to have to drive the outcomes we wanted. Helping us better calculate ROI and apply a swim-lane approach to staffing was critical to improving our efficiencies.”

Jon Feinman, Founder & CEO, InnerCity Weightlifting
Streamlining and quantifying — strategic planning and ROI

Streamlining and quantifying — strategic planning and ROI

ICW staff were actively engaged and pushing themselves to go above and beyond their traditional job descriptions to deliver on their organization’s promise. Despite this passionate commitment, there was a lack of clarity around the roles, accountability, and ownership of key business functions. This contributed to ICW missing out on growth opportunities like awareness campaigns and networking.

PwC assembled a team of professionals to conduct data analyses, interview ICW staff to help identify pain points and run a series of collaborative working sessions. Working closely with ICW, the PwC team:

  • Guided conversations to gain consensus on which processes to streamline and which key performance indicators to track.
  • Established a swim-lane approach through clear assignment of staff roles and responsibilities to help gain efficiencies in human resource allocation and hiring.
  • Collaborated to identify repeatable and expandable leading practices, plan for resource repositories and draft a playbook.
  • Provided recommendations to standardize student intake and onboard employees and suggested hiring a grants manager to free up coaches to spend more time with students.

Philanthropic donations make up 75% of ICW’s budget, so ICW also wanted to explore how they could maximize fundraising potential. PwC’s data analysts delivered a new way ICW could demonstrate the impact of its work and mission by refining how they calculate ROI on donation dollars and sharing that metric openly to help garner more financial support.

Better fundraising. Deepened impact. Transformed lives.

Better fundraising. Deepened impact. Transformed lives.

ICW incorporated PwC’s suggestions immediately. A newly hired grants manager helped increase their donations from $1.5m to over $2m in one year. This additional position also freed up ICW’s leadership and supporting staff to drive strategy and focus on coaching. Strategic grant management supported more targeted fundraising efforts. ICW also crafted toolkits and playbooks based on streamlining recommendations.

Refined calculations for an ROI metric make it easier for ICW to garner investment and donations. ICW couples their metrics with PwC’s suggested messaging, including specific data around how much money their programs can save society, as well as the need for funds to hire advocates and increase impact. All of these efforts are better quantified with what donations will equal in ROI. With more financial backing and standardized practices, ICW is equipped to serve their students and deliver on their mission — build relationships and offer access to resources that have the power to transform entire communities.

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Shannon Schuyler

Shannon Schuyler

Chief Purpose and Inclusion Officer, PwC US

Jeff Senne

Jeff Senne

Responsible Business Leader, PwC US

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