Under the Hood with Reve Academy



In October, we introduced Under the Hood to better understand how technology oriented nonprofits in Minnesota function.

This recurring series is made possible by research partner Altrulytics and underwriter Atomic Data.  Over the coming weeks we will publish individual responses, and in the end, compile an aggregated assessment of the landscape with further analysis.

Organization name: Reve Academy

Executive Directors: Brad von Bank & Kristen Pardue (co founders)

When was your organization formed and for what purpose?

Reve Academy was formed in December 2010. Our program started in the summer of 2011. Our mission is to help kids dream with direction and we do this by providing pathways to digital careers. The program couples immersive curriculum with relevant experience to create marketable talent. It is founded on the belief that kids can lead us into the future. By investing in them today, our community will see a better tomorrow.

AtomicDataWho or what do you serve?

Students, non-profits clients, North Minneapolis organizations, and Minnesota-based companies.

How many do you serve?

Over 2000 students since our inception through after school & summer programs.

2011 = 40
2012 = 200
2013 = 800
2014 = 1000

Grade level = 5-12 grade (equal distribution slightly skewed toward middle school)
Ethnicity = 70% African American, 10% Hispanic, 10% Asian American, 10% other
Gender = even split of boy to girl participation
Economic = 80+% free and reduced lunch

All are from Minneapolis, primarily North Minneapolis

What are the main programs/resources that you offer?

Rêve Academy’s Mission: To help students dream with direction by providing pathways to digital careers.

Rêve Academy’s Vision: To provide a place where kids are the source of innovation; where kids inspire the community and incubate new ideas; where kids lead through technology and design.

Rêve Edu – web design and development, HTML, CMS, Design Thinking, Photoshop, Social Media, Photography

Rêve 3D – modeling and printing program for product development

Rêve Dev – student run business where students build websites for North Minneapolis businesses and organizations

Rêve Retail – student run business where students concept and build urban youth brands and operate a multi-channel retail business

Do you have earned income and if so, how?

We receive funding from individuals and foundations. We also have two student run businesses that generate approximately one-third of our operation budget.

What key metrics do you use and how do you measure the impact of your org?

Reve Academy was born out of an audacious vision, a noble mission and a rigorous balanced scorecard. Our scorecard supports our three strategic pillars: grow, serve, scale.

Admin Ratio – 5% (we are obsessive about money going towards students)
Fundraising Ratio – <1% (we leverage relationships and reputational value)
Competency Ratio – 3.7 (out of 4.0 scale)
Cost-to-Serve – $200/student
Earned Income – 33% of operating budget
Dream Ratio – 9.8 (out of 10) pre-post survey engagement results (to be retired)
Net Promoter Score – 9 (out of 10) – survey to measure client + teacher satisfaction
Job Readiness – 2015 pilot to assess non-cognitive job readiness skills
2015 Measures – High School grad %, college grad %, % jobs, median salary, # biz created

How do you source funding and can you provide us with three years most recent tax returns?

We receive funding from individuals and foundations. We also have two student run businesses that generate approximately one-third of our operation budget.

2012 | 20132014 (P&L)

Do donors fund the organization as a whole, specific programs and/or something else?

Donors generally fund our organization as a whole. Occasionally, they will support specific programs.

Given the options of nonprofits to support in the technology industry, what makes yours unique?

Rêve Academy was created to address a number of significant challenges and opportunities facing the future of Minnesota.  The amalgamation of these facts, creates a potential concerning trend.

This was our inspiration and has driven our effort since our inception. The demographics of Minnesota are changing radically, the achievement gap in Minnesota is amongst the worst in the country,  and the black unemployment gap in Minnesota is the worst in the country.

The fastest growing jobs are digital (design + technology) and Minnesota’s ability to compete in a new economy will erode if these trends are not  addressed immediately.  Rêve Academy was built to address those trends. It is built:

1)  from the viewpoint of employers who desperately need this skill set

2)  by an individual who led the largest re-platforming in e-commerce history

3)  with the expertise of pedagogical methodology and practical skill formation

4) to scale in a low cost manner to reach thousands of kids on a foundation of earned income pillars that will eventually sustain the organization.

Who is on the executive board of your organization?

Rêve Academy is guided by an eight-member volunteer board of directors:

President Darrin Hebert, CIO – GE Americas.

Treasurer Tim Dolan, the retired Police Chief for the City of Minneapolis.

Wesley Story, Group VP, Marketing, Sysco

Phil McKoy, Interim International Marketing Firm

June Yoshinari, St. Managing Director, Teach for America

Thong Ngyuen, SVP Technology, Digital River

Kristin Pardue, Co founder, Reve Academy

Brad von Bank, Co founder, Reve Academy

Is there anything else you would like to add?

No thank you.