The Nora Project

Helping to teach empathy to students across the country


The Challenge
The Nora Project began in an elementary school classroom in Glenview, Illinois, with a mission to teach empathy by encouraging friendships between students and their peers with disabilities. After the program received outstanding feedback from teachers, students and parents in its first year, the founders wanted to spread its message of inclusion and kindness to more schools. The Nora Project partnered with Giving Tree to determine the best way to expand the program. 

The Impact
Giving Tree helped The Nora Project achieve federal tax-exempt status only six months after filing the application. Within that same period of time, Giving Tree conducted a comprehensive board orientation and led a brainstorming session resulting in mission and vision statements. The firm also helped to organize a successful fundraising campaign, enabling The Nora Project to hire its first staff members and launch in its first out-of-state school.

The Solution
After performing a careful landscape analysis, Giving Tree found that The Nora Project’s unique and compelling mission would work best as a stand-alone nonprofit organization. This structure would allow The Nora Project to expand into elementary schools throughout the United States, with the potential to help millions of students form deeper connections with their special-needs classmates.  

Key Project Elements

  • Applied for and received 501(c)(3) status
  • Recruited, trained and facilitated meetings for the organization’s first board of directors
  • Created an organizational strategic roadmap for first 12 to 18 months
  • Raised $185,000 in a peer-to-peer startup funding campaign

Services Provided

  • Startup consulting
  • Strategic planning
  • Board development
  • Program design and analysis
  • Annual campaign

”When we called Giving Tree, we had a hazy vision and a lot of passion for a project that meant the world to us. Within six months, we had our nonprofit status, a clear and focused mission statement, a dynamite board of directors, and almost $200,000 in the bank. Now, nearly a year later, our founders are soon to become full-fledged employees, and we're building an organization that is already having a significant impact on our community.”



Human Needs
Human Needs

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