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Kids in the Spotlight

Board Development

For the board members at Kids in the Spotlight (KITS), it was time to go behind the scenes and transform the organization from within to help more foster youth find their voices through filmmaking. With the support of ESC’s Board Development coaching, KITS doubled the size of their board, creating a stronger team that was united in their efforts to make a difference for foster youth across Los Angeles.

The Project

Executive Director Tige Charity founded Kids in the Spotlight (KITS) in 2009 to uplift underprivileged and foster youth through the power of filmmaking. Too often, she realized the experiences of foster youth were invisible. With “movies by kids, for kids,” Tige knew she could make their stories visible for everyone to learn about and celebrate, so she and her founding board invested deeply in KITS mission to help foster youth create, write, cast and star in their own short films. By 2015, Tige and the board were as passionate as ever, but as a working board, their schedules left little room for organizational development. They were deeply involved in the organization’s everyday operations and had no idea how to put their big ideas into action. Determined to figure out their next steps, Tige and her Board Chair Gregory Metzger began Board Development coaching with ESC.

The ESC consultant team led the KITS board through a comprehensive assessment. Gregory described the process as valuable and eye-opening: “It helped guide us to answer the questions about exactly what it was that we needed.” Board organization and fund development emerged as the organization’s top priorities. When Gregory and Tige looked at the board, they both saw “a pattern of scattered board meetings.” The board often had great brainstorming sessions but no process to implement the ideas, so with the support of their ESC consultants, Gregory and Tige began to evaluate the individual strengths of their five board members and figure out what gaps were present. Within eight months, they brought on six additional board members and created specialized board committees, which empowered all members to focus on projects relevant to their skills, as well as allowing Tige to refocus on her responsibilities as Executive Director.

The first initiative the newly-restructured board implemented as part of their fund development strategy was a new Celebrity Board – essentially an ambassador program dedicated to raising funds and awareness for KITS. The organization had developed some initial connections to the celebrity community through KITS’ annual film festivals, but Tige explained they never knew how to cultivate those relationships: “We had the tools in our grasp, but we didn't know how to maximize them.” The board worked closely with their ESC consultants, determining what would make these ambassadors effective. The final structure is still taking shape, but Gregory and Tige are confident the Celebrity Board will create lasting change in helping foster youth in Los Angeles.

The Result

Today, Tige and her board are a team tour de force. With focused committees and fresh, new ideas, they have been able to revitalize and strengthen the structure of their film programs, adding five weeks of hands-on editing to the process. Gregory is proud of how far KITS has come: “To have gotten to where we are today without losing any of the heart and soul of the organization is amazing.” Thanks to the work they put in during ESC’s Board Development coaching, KITS continues to strengthen its leadership and vision to empower foster youth to have a voice and make a difference in their own lives.