My name is John Griffin and I’m thrilled to be a SchermCo fellow for the Summer of 2018! Throughout my time working in various jobs and industries, I have realized that what I am most passionate about is human development. I bring an asset-based mindset to everything I do in life and am driven by helping others realize their full potential. I thrive when working on dynamic teams consisting of people with diverse talents, visions and working-styles, which is why I am confident SchermCo will be a great fit for me. I was attracted to SchermCo’s commitment to over-delivering and dreaming big in order to change the game – two values I live by in my life. I believe that in order to change systems that often fail young people, we must think outside of the box and be willing to disrupt.
For the last three years I have been working on a federal Social Innovation Fund grant (SIF) at the Boston Foundation (TBF) – Boston’s Community Foundation. The SIF grant has provided $6 million to eight Boston nonprofits to provide programming to thousands of Boston Public Schools graduates to help them make successful transitions from high school into college. The programming – which we call “coaching” – provides young people with mentors who help them become self-advocates as they navigate the many academic, financial, social-emotional and other obstacles of being a college student. Throughout my time at TBF, I have helped convene nonprofit, higher educational, government and business leaders to engage in the ongoing development of pipeline that ensures underserved students can attain the credentials and employment they need to live in their home city. It has been exciting to be around so many thought leaders in our country’s home of public education. With the convening power of a place like TBF, we have helped those who may be inclined to point fingers at one another instead work together towards common goals. Cross-sector collaboration is difficult, but powerful. Throughout my time at TBF, I am most proud of my development of a Salesforce database that has served as a platform for our college completion initiative’s partners to collaborate around and track student success. I have learned to gather people around disaggregated data so that they may approach their work thoughtfully, with an equitable focus on those young people who sometimes hide beneath the numbers.
Prior to my time at TBF, I worked in the “micro” of urban education as I was a volunteer at Christ the King Jesuit College Prep – a Cristo Rey Network high school serving low-income families from the West Side of Chicago. During my time at Christ the King I taught courses, coached sports teams, implemented student support interventions and ran logistics for the school’s board of directors. Developing relationships with young men and women from the West Side of Chicago opened my eyes to the educational inequities in our country and inspired me to work towards narrowing them, which I know I will do at SchermCo.
I received my B.A. in Communication from Boston College and will be pursuing my M.Ed from Vanderbilt University this Fall, studying Leadership and Organizational Performance. When I’m not working, I follow Boston sports, play my guitar and hang out with my family, much of which resides in Cape Cod, MA. I look forward to getting to know all of you better throughout the next several weeks.
All the best,