What Works: How a nonprofit had to fail to find success

By Marnie Eisenstadt

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Whole Me began 11 years ago with a grassroots effort. People who worked with deaf and hard-of-hearing children saw a problem. The kids they were interpreting for in school were going home to afternoons of isolation. So they built a solution: An after-school program for deaf students. No one got paid. The office was a dining room table.

Over the next decade, Whole Me grew little by little. It got a real office in an old TV repair shop in Geddes. The budget reached six figures. But it took failure in 2011 for the small organization to find a solid path to financial security.

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  • Whole Me changed my life because they helped me to make new friends, try new things, not give up, be proud of the person I am and to have fun!
  • Whole Me gave Christine a boost to her self-confidence and self esteem when she was younger and helped her to deal with Deaf issues as she has grown.