“I Have A Dream” Foundation

New York
Spring-Summer 2021
Project Type
Project Focus
Business Plans,
Cost Analysis
Organization Type


Founded in 1981, the mission of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation is to empower children from under-resourced communities to succeed in school, college, and career by providing academic, social, and emotional support from elementary school through college, including postsecondary tuition assistance. Working with local school districts or housing communities, groups of first-graders (“cohorts”) are identified to receive programming and scholarship support through local established “I Have A Dream” nonprofit affiliates. Historically, each of its cohorts have generally been sponsored by one or a small number of donors with upfront funds to sustain the 12 – 16 year program through college. 


How can the “I Have A Dream” Foundation expand the number of students it serves?


At its zenith, the “I Have A Dream” Foundation had affiliates operating in 27 states; today, it includes a network of 14 affiliates spread over nine states and New Zealand, serving over 4,000 young people. Currently, many locations experience a “one and done” cohort approach, “sunsetting” once their cohort completes high school and college. The goal now is to scale to reach more students, both by expanding affiliate locations and by sponsoring new cohort groups every year, so entire schools can be supported.

Project Objectives

The “I Have A Dream” Foundation is requesting ACT’s help to develop its expansion/replication strategy using East Palo Alto as a case study/model. In 1990, an East Palo Alto “I Have A Dream” Foundation affiliate was founded by a Stanford MBA graduate which supported two cohorts with 60 MBA Graduate students and the Stanford GSB. The “I Have A Dream” Foundation is currently in conversation with the Ravenswood City School District (serving East Palo Alto) Superintendent of Schools to restart its program starting at three public elementary schools. The “I Have A Dream” Foundation would like assistance in:

  1. analyzing various program implementation models, including variance in the breadth and/or depth of programs to maximize funds.
  2. analyzing staffing and organizational structure/process and budgets to achieve cost efficiencies. 
  3. evaluating partner opportunities to spread resources required for programs.
  4. evaluating funding opportunities beyond the focus on relying on a few high-net worth individuals. 

The team recommendations will hopefully be the basis for a sustainable model to expand broadly across the country.


This is a Hybrid project:

  • Scope: Larger than a Fast Track, smaller than a Full Team
  • Team Size: 4 consultants, including 1 project leader
  • Project Duration: 3-4 months
  • Estimated Time Contribution: 35-40 hrs total (per consultant)

Read more about the Fast Track Project Consultant role and the Full Team Project Consultant role.