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Midnight Golf Program flourishes after shifting focus

When the Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. narrowed the focus of a workforce development contract to two Detroit high schools in 2014, Midnight Golf Program faced a turning point.

Should it narrow its focus in order to follow the dollars?

The Bingham Farms-based nonprofit had served as a workforce program provider to the DESC for seven years, providing underserved high school students from Detroit schools with a broad array of programs including tutoring, SAT and ACT training and workforce readiness training such as interview skills building. It also managed a summer work experience for the youth in its program, identifying employers for youth placements, checking in weekly with employers and student employees and managing the payroll process for the program.

It had seen funding reduction the two years prior to the contract’s expiration and in 2014 saw the scope of what the DESC was bidding out narrowed both programmatically and demographically to a workforce-driven after-school program, provided only at Cody and Osborn high schools.

Its board decided to walk away from the DESC contract, which represented about a third of its roughly $1 million budget at the time, Founder and President Renee Fluker said.

To continue to meet its mission, it needed to identify new revenue, and a grant from a family foundation gave it the ability to restructure its fundraising strategy.

Midnight Golf began focusing its entire organization on developing new sources of funding with a goal of diversifying its revenue sources. Every staff member, board member and mentor participated in fund development training.

It transitioned from a working board that had traditionally helped with programs to one focused strictly on governance and fundraising. Directors began hosting personal fundraisers centered around events like Painting With a Twist and organizing the nonprofit’s annual bowl-a-thon fundraiser.

At the same time…[continue reading]

Sources: Crain’s Detroit Business &  Jacob Lewkow