"Joy and passion…."
For over 25 years, Classroom, Inc. has been helping students in high-poverty communities develop literacy and leadership skills. The nonprofit, based in New York City, partners with schools and other educational organizations across the U.S. that use its learning games and curricula for students and its coaching programs for educators. Its digital online platform reaches students and educators in under-resourced schools, providing free learning materials for tens of thousands of students. By creating learning games and curricula set in the professional world and inviting students to take charge of their learning, Classroom, Inc. is helping students to build literacy for life and develop confidence as learners as they make valuable connections between academics and life outside the classroom.
Lisa Holton, President, discovered Your Part-Time Controller in the midst of a search to replace her CFO who was leaving to take a position in the for-profit world. “I needed someone to come in temporarily while we conducted our search and reached out to YPTC,” she recalls. Associate Kate Urmeneta was assigned to the project and has remained with the organization ever since.
“I quickly realized that Kate is brilliant and incredibly experienced. She’s been a CFO herself so she really understands nonprofits’ budgeting. And she’s also very strategic. She’s not only fulfilling what I needed with someone to oversee our finances, but I’ve also come to rely on her as a great strategic advisor,” she says. “She partners with our entire organization and helps us think through our strategy and how our investments align with our mission and goals. There’s nothing like having an incredibly competent person running your finances during the audit process.”
Holton discontinued the search for a CFO and now has Urmeneta working in her office an average of three days a week because “three days of Kate is the equivalent of five days of work.
“Kate brings a high level of professionalism, as well as disciplined and rigorous analysis. I always know exactly where we are and what our issues are, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time asking questions. And when I do ask her questions she provides fast, insightful answers.”
Kate and her supervisor, YPTC Manager Rachel DeMatteo, bring another important factor to their work: joy. “Kate and Rachel clearly approach their work with joy. They love what they do and that’s infectious,” Holton says. “Joy and passion are an important part of our culture and how we approach our work. It’s important for us to have someone who not only has the skills we need but also the same level of commitment and accomplishment, a sense of humor, and satisfaction in the work. Kate brings all of that as well.”