Happy 2017! I hope the year is off to a great start for you.
At Catalyst:Ed, we've had an introspective start to the year. I'm incredibly proud of what we achieved as a team in 2016, our first full year of operations. We helped almost a hundred K-12 education organizations address some of their most critical challenges and grew our network to more than 400 outstanding experts, each of whom brings deep know-how in an area vital to education (see our 2016 highlights below). Yet the larger upheavals of the last few months have also led us to question whether we were doing enough to bridge divides and bring equal opportunity to all. How can we democratize access to expertise and make it available to all organizations - big and small, urban and rural - fighting for better outcomes for all kids? How can we amplify the impact of the best talent in the sector? How can we mobilize our assets - our network, our know-how, our technology and processes - in service to the work being done by educators, community leaders, entrepreneurs and funders in so many different areas? These are just some of the questions that we will be grappling with this year. If you have any thoughts for us, just reply to this message - I'd love to grab a coffee or set up a call.
We're also pushing ourselves to think about how best we can support you in your work. As you're taking stock this new year, I'd love to hear from you on your challenges and pain-points. What's keeping you up at night? What resources do you wish you had at your disposal? Whether you have a specific project that you'd like to discuss or want to just brainstorm ideas, we're always happy to hear from you, and we promise to do whatever we can to help. Let us know by filling in this form, and I will personally respond to you.
Finally, thank you once again for your support through this year. Every conversation that we've had has been an affirmation of the important work happening across the country and a reminder about the often hidden talent and expertise that exists in the sector. We are incredibly grateful for the trust you have placed in us and for the continued opportunity to work with you.
Catalyst:Ed connects K-12 education organizations with a national network of experienced and expert education leaders for missio-critical projects. We provide organizations with an infusion of crucial expertise and amplify the impact of the sector’s best talent. More broadly, we are creating an ecosystem of support and expertise that education organizations can tap into - quickly, reliably and affordably.
We've matched over one hundred projects for schools and school systems, nonprofits, foundations and state agencies, around the country. See a list of project areas where we offer support here. We also helped clients source interim senior talent to cover staffing needs during long-term absences or staff transitions.
Our network has grown to more than 400 experts, all of whom have gone through a rigorous three-stage vetting process. Our consultants bring experiences from leading education organizations as well as consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain and Bellwether. In 2016, we consolidated our expert selection into three cycles, allowing us to further increase the rigor of our process. We also expanded our network to include both consulting firms and independent consultants in order to offer our clients a range of options.
In our post-project evaluation process, 100% of our clients said they would use our service again. Clients appreciated the stellar talent in our network, the rigor of our scoping and matching process and the cost savings (they've been able to access talent at costs that are typically less than a third of what's charged by large consulting firms). 96% of engagements have been rated positively.
We launched our Afterschool Expert Hub in partnership with the National Afterschool Association to provide specialized services to the 10,000+ afterschool programs across the country. We are planning to launch 1-2 more Expert Hubs focused on other high-need areas in 2017. Stay tuned for more.
As we continued to receive feedback from our users, we made lots of little improvements: redesigned our website, added to our technology platform, overhauled our project listing form, and added a host of features including pre-scoped project templates, an evaluation scorecard and "roadside assistance".
Finally, we've been investing time in some crucial work on our values - both defining them and identifying ways to imbue them in every aspect of our work. We'll be sharing more in the next few months!