What is the name of your organization?
Jewish Family Services
Is your organization registered as 501(c)(3) status with the IRS?
In what city, town, or region and state is your organization headquartered?Columbus, OH, USA
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address? [Select up to 2]
What is the name of your solution?
Wayfynder for Career Advancement
What is your solution?
Our solution is a technology-enabled, integrated service delivery “hub” that includes remote, on-demand services that address persistent challenges that prevent people from moving out of poverty, meets people where they are in terms of their ability to access services, and leverages capabilities and resources of partners oriented by relevant location. The platform, Wayfynder, was designed by frontline direct service providers, piloted with clients in need of social services and built with developers who focus on user experience.
By expanding clients’ ability to access essential services and our ability to effectively and efficiently deliver those services, Wayfynder enables service delivery that is more person-centered, integrated, intentional, and proactive.
Wayfynder is designed to move people foward focused on delivering career consulting, resource navigation to address an individual's barriers, provide on-demand connectivity as an app or accessed on the web and a place for client use outside of traditional business hours to offer services with the client's accessibility in mind.
Film your elevator pitch.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Wayfynder is built as a platform accessible by app and web. This was intentional to create inclusivity for the user acknowledging our community's digital divide and a need for access with limited data or public internet access. Wayfynder is in development for upgrades to integrate with customer relationship management (CRMs) software to improve the ability to track and measure user outcomes, demographics, and client relationship developments as we look to offer this solution to other business.
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?
A new technology
How do you know that this technology works?
Jewish Family Services (JFS) has been using Wayfynder as a viable product for forteen months. We have continued to add upgrades and new developments such as, push notifications, app and messaging language translation to serve a more diverse client base, and more. JFS has been able to improve the quality and efficiency of our intake procress to get clients connected to services more quickly and communicate more effectively across multiple needs and program areas. Secondly, we have had the opportunity to pilot Wayfynder as the intake for a national workforce initiative with twenty partners.
Link demonstrating on Wayfynder is used at Jewish Family Services.
Link of Wayfynder homepage.
National jobs initiative information.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
Who does your solution serve, including demographics, and how does the solution impact their lives?
Our successful response to the pandemic highlighted the need for digital solutions, and we aim to build on this momentum to create a future state that maximizes efficiency, impact, and revenue generation. Investing in a new case management system and further developing Wayfynder will expand organizational capacity, leverage data for better client service and education, and support other agencies in enhancing their technical capabilities.
We fuel economic and social progress in LMI communities on a personal and a broader economic level. The majority of our clients are experiencing poverty, with most at or below 250% of the federal poverty line. On a personal level, we provide individuals and families with supports and tools to stabilize and achieve their goals. On a broader level, our work produces a strong economic return on investment. Our workforce services help clients get and keep employment, reducing/eliminating their dependence on public benefits and enabling them to contribute more fully to the economy. Over the past two years alone, we helped 1300 people obtain employment and earn annual wages of $43M, generating $11M in taxes paid on program investments of just $4.9M. The pandemic has dramatically increased the number of people struggling across many fronts who need integrated services. It increased food and housing insecurity and debt and created unprecedented challenges for childcare, eldercare, and education. The need for mental health supports has also expanded, as people grapple with uncertainty and economic fragility. The pandemic also increased the need for virtual services while highlighting the lack of internet access, technology, and digital life skills among many residents in LMI neighborhoods, particularly women and people of color.
Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.
Wayfynder is a solution to increase employee advancement: Supporting employee career pathways through upskilling and reskilling employees. Developed and piloted with the client; job seeker; or advancing employee in mind on-demand services, coaching, or access to resources. Jewish Family Services has built this technology to improve our service delivery and opportunity for impact to reach more people, provide individualize support, and address all areas of need to help them advance and achieve economic stability. It is our vision to license this product for other organzations to use and customize for their needs. Our workforce services use Wayfynder to support career advancement for our clients both employed, unemployed, or underemployed. Wayfynder is platform that can support individualized services and offer accessibility to its users.
What is your theory of change?
JFS developed Wayfynder to address the challenges faced by individuals experiencing poverty in accessing services during traditional business hours. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the urgency of our efforts, revealing the digital divide faced by many, particularly seniors and people of color. We responded by helping clients access broadband, providing computers, teaching digital skills, and accelerating the initial development of Wayfynder. We have since used Wayfynder for intake and client communications and as a resource library. We have also piloted it for the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) national workforce initiative, Project EM.
Our vision included a plan to license Wayfynder to create an earned revenue stream and to help other agencies expand access to their services.
Activities: Develop Wayfynder for CRM integration
Outputs: Leverage Wayfynder accessibility and data intake for impact report
Outcomes: Strengthens Wayfynder's ability to be licensed and usability for nonprofit or small business use with CRM integration for tracking and reporting
Activities: Create business model for licensing and earned revenue
Outputs: License Wayfynder
Outcomes: Creates social entreprise for Jewish Family Services growing our capcicty to serve more and continue developments with earned revenue
What is your solution’s stage of development?Pilot: a product, service, or business model that is in the process of being built and tested with a small number of beneficiaries or working to gain traction.
What is your organization’s stage of development?Growth: A registered 501(c)(3) organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth and has a proven track record with an annual operating budget
How many small businesses does your solution currently serve?
Current: 2; our work at Jewish Family Services and Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA)
One year from now: 25; we are expanding our pilot with NJHSA to include use from all of the partner agencies providing services in the national workforce iniative. Additionally, JFS will look to go into contract with 2 other organizations.
Five years: 100
How do you define the community you serve, and who are its stakeholders?
Our solution is implemented in the human service sector and workforce development or career advancement sector. Key decision makers are state and local government funders, regional chambers, and economic development entities. Influences come with economic development and sector growth. Regionally, Ohio has the demand for career advancement with being named a workforce hub by President Biden, winning contracts for bringing Intel and Chip Act receipients to the region and the shift to electronic vehicles with our area's automotive sector.
How do you build trust within the community your organization serves and among small business owners?
Our level of training and customer service will create relationships of trust. Wayfynder will be brought to licensing with real-time support through integration and offer examples of affectiveness to bring their communities and advisors on board.
What are your impact goals for the current year and the next five years and how will you achieve them?
This proposal aims to secure funding to enhance client access to services through our innovative Wayfynder platform, improve impact tracking through a new case management system, and establish a social enterprise revenue stream by licensing Wayfynder to other nonprofits.
We developed Wayfynder to address the challenges faced by individuals experiencing poverty in accessing services during traditional business hours. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the urgency of our efforts, revealing the digital divide faced by many, particularly seniors and people of color. We responded by helping clients access broadband, providing computers, teaching digital skills, and accelerating the initial development of Wayfynder. We have since used Wayfynder for intake and client communications and as a resource library. We have also used it for intake in the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) national workforce initiative, Project EM.
Our vision included a plan to license Wayfynder to create an earned revenue stream and to help other agencies expand access to their services. Several local nonprofits and NJHSA partners have expressed interest in licensing it, but we have hit a roadblock. To make Wayfynder viable for licensing, we need it to connect with various case management systems for organizations to maintain collected data. This capability requires additional software development. Once Wayfynder can plug into an agency's case management system, organizational users will be able to benefit from streamlined data and client journey collection, improving outcomes and reporting capabilities. As a first step, we must upgrade our own outdated case management system to a new, advanced database that allows our software developers to connect it to Wayfynder. This will allow us to evaluate the integration, create training materials and FAQs, and provide demos to licensees.
Why are you applying to Truist Foundation Inspire Awards?
The Truist Foundaiton Inspire awards could be a transformational coaching and funding opportunity for us to take our career advancement solution, Wayfynder to market. Growing earned revenue is stabalizing for the volatile and competitive funding opportunities a nonprofit, like Jewish Family Services, can pursue.
Wayfynder is a solution that has the functions to support more organizations, but we need to support to get there.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
Business acumen to develop our business plan and marketing to better craft our pitch. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to share our goals and expand our mission to help individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency and emotional stability.
Melissa Starr Chief Program Officer, Jewish Family Services