Solution Overview

Solution Name:

The Firehouse Dream

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

One-line solution summary:

Creative Mentorship Led by BIPOC Creatives

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Pitch your solution.

As a Latina creative entrepreneur, I who know the industry is thriving, and yet we are highly underrepresented when it comes to BIPOC representation. Our goal at The Firehouse Dream, a creative arts non profit, is to shift the starving artist narrative in BIPOC communities by partnering with and training our young adults with creative skills like photography, film, website design, social marketing and so much more through our paid mentorship program. Our program allows for young adults from communities that have experienced disinvestment to learn these skills and in turn be able to make an income beyond minimum wage, start a business, and start building wealth. Additionally we provide the equipment and tech needed through free rentals, in order for our mentees to grow their portfolio, or begin to take on paid clients. Our solution could greatly impact the next generation of creatives of color.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

What specific problem are you solving?

The creative industry is an over $400 billion dollar industry and yet lacks diverse voices and lived experiences. The Firehouse Dream exists to create opportunities for teens of color to have access to creative skills and the tech needed in order to succeed. We are located in Maywood, IL which is a 96% BIPOC community that has experienced great disinvestment. We are a lower income community in which 17.5% of our community is in poverty and our

median household income $48,600. Additionally, we are food desert, crime and gun violence is a major concern and our youth lack opportunities. With math and reading proficiency at 6 and 8 percent at our local high school, we want to expose our young adults with the knowledge that the creative industry is a viable option for success beyond sports and academics. Also as a lower income community, access to the creative industry allows for our youth to have an opportunity to earn an income beyond minimum wage without the requirement of a college degree. The creative industry thrives off of one's portfolio and network therefore alleviating the financial burden higher education may pose to some of our families in our community.


Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

What is your solution?

Offer a paid mentorship program that is 12 weeks long (fall & spring) and 6 weeks long (summer), where we partner with young adults teach them creative skills and financial wellness while normalizing that their lived experiences matter. Our mentorship focuses on 3 pillars: creative skills, financial wellness and mental health.

CREATIVE SKILLS | We co-design our workshops and trainings based off of the interests of our young adults. Creative workshops we've offered: photography, brand identity, film, social media strategy and more! We provide tech like DSLR's, Macbook Pros, Adobe Creative Suite and more.

FINANCIAL WELLNESS | We believe that teaching creative skills isn’t enough. We offer training in life skills like: how to budget, business planning, resume building, how to have a good job interview, and more!

MENTAL HEALTH | We believe in the power of our lived experiences, and wonder how we can use creativity to amplify the passions and concerns of our mentees. Additionally, we value normalizing mental health with our mentees and often talk about what mental health is by doing daily high-low check-in. We’ve also hosted workshops on mental health and storytelling such as: the Power of our story, story narratives and more!


Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

The population we are serving are youth ages 16-22 from communities that
have experienced disinvestment. 100% of our mentees identify as BIPOC. Our area of focus is Maywood, IL and students from the Proviso District which includes Bellwood, Melrose Park, Westchester and more!

 We co-create our mentorship based off of our mentees creative interests and desires. We don't approach our mentees from a place of here's what we have to offer you, but rather ask: "What are you dreaming of, and how can we partner with you?" We then design each mentorship based off of their feedback.

We also do paid mentorships as we recognize that many of our youth are the caregivers of their younger siblings. By providing a stipend equating to $15 per hour, it allows for them to financially contribute to the family as they participate in our mentorship. We also believe by providing a stipend it helps parents and caregivers see the value of allowing their youth to participate in learning more about the creative industry.

Long term, our solution will allow for our mentees to have another career path that could allow for them to make an income beyond minimum wage, allowing them start a business and begin building wealth or qualify to work with a creative agency, in turn creating an opportunity for our mentees to have access to a field where they can thrive. If our mentee decides to not go through the creative industry route, they can take what they've learned about collaboration, financial wellness and other life skills into their career of choice.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Provide tools and opportunities for equitable access to jobs, credit, and generational wealth creation in communities of color.
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

The Firehouse Dream is POC led and driven non profit located in a 96% BIPOC community. We are aware of the challenges and power dynamics at play when it comes to entering into the industry. With our connections and network in the creative industry, we've been able to partner with over 15 creatives/entrepreneurs of color to teach our mentees, so they can see themselves represented in the industry, but also have us available as resources for their success. The population we are serving are youth ages 16-22 from communities that have experienced disinvestment. 100% of our mentees identify as BIPOC.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Maywood, IL, USA
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth.
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

We just completed our first 12 week paid mentorship program in the Spring of 2021 due to pivoting from the challenges of Covid, in which we had 5 mentees. For our summer mentorship which begins in July 2021, we received 15 applications, and have officially brought on 10 mentees due to capacity of budget and available access to equipment/tech. I feel we are in the growth stages, as we currently operate out of one location with the desire to duplicate and expand to Chicago and other cities like Nashville, Atlanta, and more!

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Jasmine Lopez | Co-founder/Executive Director

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.
More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

What makes your solution innovative?

Our solution is innovative because it's led by POC. We have a unique lived experience that allows for a deeper connection with our mentees as we share a collective experience that allows for us to stand in solidarity and unity. Through our creative partnerships, it also allows for our mentees to see themselves represented in an industry where we don't have much face time in.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Audiovisual Media
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Software and Mobile Applications
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Low-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequality
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

In which states / US territories do you currently operate?

  • Illinois
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

In which states / US territories will you be operating within the next year?

  • Tennessee
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Since the 2 years of our existence as The Firehouse Dream, we have been able to work directly with over 100 youth. However now with our shift to our mentorship program, we are focusing on building deeper relationships and impact instead of wide. Our annual impact will be with 30 young adults. However as we grow and duplicate our programming to other communities we will greatly increase this number. In 5 years, I can see us partnering with over 200 youth.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

We will be tracking our results by doing quarterly to bi-annual survey's with our past and current mentees. This way we can have data on how impactful our mentorship program was, which career path they've taken, what they accomplished during and after college and more. Additionally each mentee will be paired with a mentor who works in their field of interest. We will track how those relationships played a part of their success or maybe didn't. We will continue to ask to for the feedback of our mentees as we continue to build and shape our mentorship program.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.
About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

How many people work on your solution team?

1 Full time staff (employee)

3- part time staff (contractors)

1- consultant

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

How long have you been working on your solution?

2 years

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

3 out of 4 of our staff all live in the community we serve. Our 4th staff member lives in a community similar to ours. So we all bring a unique experience to what we are doing through The Firehouse Dream. We understand the nuance of how "under-resourced" communities don't just become "under-resourced."

As the co-founder, I founded The Firehouse Dream out of my own story, as I was raised in a single parent low income home. I struggled academically and found photography as my passion. As a first generation college student and entrepreneur I struggled greatly with how to build a creative business that was thriving, and lacked mentors who looked like me. Through my lived experiences I'm able to consider what it means to lead The Firehouse Dream with shared power and co-creating in partnership with our community and youth.

Additionally we partner with other creatives of color who understand the context and nuances of what it means and looks like to enter into the creative industry. It allows for

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

As a new non profit we have built our board and staff with DEI at the center. Our board reflects the community we partner with. Our staff live in the communities we serve, which gives us a unique perspective and lived experience in how we lead and partner with our community.

Our staff and board all identify as BIPOC. Our youth also all identify as BIPOC.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.
Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.
Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

I'm applying to Solve because as a 2 year old non profit, we have a desire for growth with sustainability in mind. However, because we are new, we don't meet the criteria of many grants out there, either due to not having a larger operating budget, not having more than 1 full time employee, and more. We are at a place where we need more financial support beyond peer to peer. We are so grateful for our current giving partners who have gotten us this far, and now need to start partnering with foundations and grantmakers who can partner with us to take our programming to the next level, as well as growing our human capital so that we avoid burnout with our very small staff. The barriers we face are that less that 1.3% of the philanthropic dollar goes to latinx led non profits. The data also shows that grants typically come with more strings attached for BIPOC led non profits.* These disparities make it a challenge to want to utilize the opportunities that come along with grantmaking.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Human Capital (e.g. sourcing talent, board development, etc.)
Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Please explain in more detail here.

I feel our next greatest hurdle is human capital due to budget constraints. We are confident in our programming however, if we continue to lead it with our small staff, we will hit burnout quickly. As the co-founder/ED, I also led a majority of our mentorship program,which came at a price of my own self care as well as, taking me away from accomplishing other needed tasks to help fundraise and grow our programming. We definitely need to bring on additional staff who can help us move towards our goals in a way that is sustainable for all of our staff.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

Our goal is to partner and collaborate with anyone who shares similar cultures in shared power and collective impact, in which the value is seen in what we do as a POC led organization, and we get to lead and consider the nuances of our communities and lived experiences.

Some partnerships we are dreaming of are Canon, Mac, Sony, Adobe, Squarespace, Planoly and more. We are new to this world of partnerships, so we are open to what this could look like!

These partnerships would allow for us have access to tech and equipment needed to operate our programming.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize to advance your solution?

Your partnership will allow for us to continue to share about mental and emotional wellness throughout our mentorship program. As mental health is a pillar of who we are and what we do, this will prize will allow for us to grow our mental health services, in which our community greatly lacks access to.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The ASA Prize for Equitable Education? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The GM Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity to advance your solution?

Our mentorship program is all about advancing digital equity in BIPOC communities. AS a BIPOC led and driven non profit,  our mentorship allows for BIPOC young adults from communities that have experienced disinvestment to learn these skills and in turn be able to make an income beyond minimum wage, start a business, and start building wealth. Additionally we provide the equipment and tech needed through free rentals, in order for our mentees to grow their portfolio, or begin to take on paid clients. Our solution could greatly impact the next generation of creatives of color.


Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Innovation for Women Prize to advance your solution?

While this wasn't our initial goal, 70% of our mentees are women. Our staff is 100% women-led. We believe the creative industry is thriving and yet it's male dominated. We hope to continue to work with a large female population and create opportunities for our young women to have access to this industry. Our solution provides the skills and tools needed in order to thrive.

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI for Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

Add a comment

Read comments
No comments to show.

Solution Team

 
    Back
to Top