As part of our mission and programming, Taproot accelerates transformative value-based partnerships between organizations in the private and nonprofit sectors.
Through pro bono service, Taproot is proud to support connections between companies that are passionate about advancing racial and social equity, like Booz Allen Hamilton, with organizations that are making strides in the field.
Booz Allen Hamilton has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) for several years. Since 1987, TMCF has worked to promote educational excellence in the Black College Community. The organization transforms the lives of thousands of students every year by connecting them to resources to support their journey to, through, and beyond college. TMCF has awarded over $500 million in scholarships and career readiness programming to students, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Acting as a voice for Black colleges and a resource for their students, TMCF’s work is vital to the success and development of Black students and institutions across the country.
TMCF’s work has accelerated over the past three years. Within the Division of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E), programming serving 150 students through two programs has expanded to support over 500 students across 12 programs. As the I&E division has grown, its operational needs have become more complex. What started as an effective combination of Excel spreadsheets used across teams has evolved into a system that cannot keep up with the increased volume of student, partner, donor, and program data.
TMCF recognizes the need to explore new approaches to its data infrastructure. The I&E team applied to participate in a two-day, Virtual Skills-Based Volunteering Marathon developed and implemented in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton’s Community Impact + Philanthropy team and Taproot Foundation. The Marathon engaged Booz Allen employee volunteers in tightly scoped projects with nonprofit organizations. Taproot paired participating nonprofits with small teams of Booz Allen subject-matter experts in the Marathon to address a key organizational challenge, producing an actionable deliverable or set of recommendations and an implementation plan to bring it to life.
For Tamaria Kai Perry, Assistant Vice President of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team at TMCF, engaging in the Marathon was a valuable opportunity to access the intellectual capital at Booz Allen, build TMCF staff competencies, and take a step back from day-to-day work to reflect on larger questions around the team’s data infrastructure challenges and goals.
We have a big, broad, ambitious mission and vision of changing the world one leader at a time. When we are more efficient and effective as an organization and a team, it allows us to maximize our work, and better focus on our students.
– Tamaria Kai Perry, Assistant Vice President of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team at TMCF
During the Marathon, TMCF leaders partnered with Booz Allen volunteers to create a process map outlining current and recommended processes to optimize TMCF’s data infrastructure. The volunteers also developed a list of software recommendations to demo after the event and to support I&E’s continued growth. In the months since the Marathon, Quinn Williams, Manager of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at TMCF, has continued to leverage the data process map and explore software options for the team. Williams remains enthusiastic about the opportunity to “build out a steady and sensible workflow process” and is leading a cross-departmental effort to align and streamline organizational data practices.
According to Perry, the Booz Allen volunteers “brought a personal commitment to doing well on this project.” Perry emphasized that the team brought “a level of vulnerability and curiosity” to the project and a willingness “to ask clarifying questions” to gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s context and needs.
The partnership between Booz Allen and TMCF remains strong, and Taproot is proud to have facilitated the opportunity to deepen that partnership.
The Marathon allowed Booz Allen colleagues to put into practice the firm’s commitments to equity and social innovation to create a more secure and inclusive future. The I&E team is currently implementing new tools and practices to improve data management and analysis, and these updates will enable the expansion of programming and ability to invest in more students in the future.