Women’s Achievement Network and Development Alliance (WANDA)

Palo Alto
Fall-Winter 2019
Project Location
Palo Alto
Project Type
Fast track
Project Focus
Cost Analysis,
Market Analysis
Organization Type
Community or Economic Development,


The Women’s Achievement Network and Development Alliance (WANDA) was founded in 2007 by three women who combined their individual philanthropic and volunteer efforts to assist single mothers in achieving self-sufficiency. The three founders recruited friends and colleagues to form a donor circle, the Leadership Circle (LC), with 17-30 members. Members of the LC provide financial support, business training, and peer social networking to cohorts of 12-35 single mothers. WANDA’s reach has been primarily in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties through a three-year program focused on the three E’s of Education, Equity, and Empowerment. In addition to a comprehensive curriculum and networking opportunities, WANDA provides a 2:1 savings match - up to $4,000 if a participant saves $2,000. Participants apply their savings and corresponding match toward a home purchase, retirement plan, or college education for themselves or their children. WANDA’s results demonstrate that clients increase their annual salaries by up to $14,000, improve their credit scores by nearly 100 points, and save more than the $2,000 matching cap.


How does WANDA expand its Education, Equity and Empowerment program through nonprofit partnerships to reach and serve more single mothers around the Bay Area to attain greater self-sufficiency?


Given the high-touch nature of its program, growth in the number of women served is limited if WANDA continues to manage all its programmatic activities on its own. In addition, after a decade of sustained support WANDA is experiencing donor attrition from individuals and foundations. Some foundations note geographic limitations and the high cost per client ratio in relation to overall numbers served, 15-35 new moms per year, as factors in not renewing grants. 

Launching a scaling venture through which WANDA will train multi-site nonprofit partners is critical to increasing WANDA’s impact by increasing the number of clients it serves, expanding its geographic reach across the Bay Area, and reducing its costs. With the support of two GSB alumnae on WANDA’s Governance Council, WANDA’s Executive Director negotiated a pilot partnership with MidPen Housing to launch this September. This pilot will provide $50,000 toward matched funds and logistical support and produce valuable learnings on how to structure future partnerships necessary for scaling the WANDA program.

Project Objectives

WANDA seeks ACT to stress test its current financial plan and determine a cost-sharing model that can be used in discussions for each prospective partner. In its financial plan assessment, the team would identify 1) core competencies, 2) value/cost of each activity via benchmarking, 3) fixed vs. variable costs, 4) direct vs. indirect costs, 5) the growth level that would tip the organization to fully outsource the program’s activities and 6) cost comparison of WANDA’s running the entire program with WANDA’s outsourcing all of the program’s activities.


This is a Fast Track project:

  • Scope: Focused, specific organizational issue
  • Team Size: 2-3 consultants
  • Project Duration: 1-3 months
  • Estimated time Contribution: 25-30 hrs total (per consultant)

Read more about the Fast Track Project Consultant role.