Member Profile- Hutchison School

Friday, January 9, 2015

Partnerships often begin with a single person's passion and vision for transformation. But if that vision is not shared throughout a school community, then the partnership will end when the person who started it leaves.


Hutchison School, an all-girls college preparatory school located in Memphis, Tenn., has a remedy for this sustainability problem.


The Wilson Society

Funded by the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation, the Wilson Society is a program that focuses on establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with nonprofits in the Memphis community.


Each year more than 100 girls in grades 10-12 participate in the Wilson Society. At the start of each school year, participating girls research and identify a need in the community.  They work in collaborative teams to interview a nonprofit that addresses that need and design a project that impacts community change.  At the end of this process, the girls find themselves either initiating a new service project or electing to enhance a project that is already in place at Hutchison.


After the girls design their project or propose enhancements to a current project and

Kathryn Jasper,
Hutchison Leads Director

come up with a proposed budget, they present their proposals to a group of faculty and staff for approval based on sustainability, the current needs of the nonprofit, and impact potential.


With sustainability as a major goal of this program, the Wilson Society has created a system where girls from all three grades can participate on each project.  This approach providesthe leader of the project (often a senior) with two years to build strong relationships with nonprofit staff and build a strong base of volunteer support for the program at Hutchison. Not only does this process help sustain the project for the nonprofit, but it also allows for increased trust and better relationships between the nonprofit and Hutchison. Kathryn Jasper, Hutchison Leads director, says, "This program helps our girls leap from simple community service to issue-based,impact service."

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