“Growing up in a small town in New Jersey, my family had a big influence on me. I realized how important it is to have people around growing up that can help you.”
Throughout 2019, in honor of Jumpstart’s 25th Anniversary, we will be highlighting 25 Faces of Jumpstart. This campaign celebrates the wide variety of people who have played a major role in Jumpstart’s history — our founders, volunteers from Jumpstart’s past, Jumpstart children and their families, influential donors and supporters, and more. We cannot wait to share their stories with you — how they helped shape and grow Jumpstart into what it is today, the impact that Jumpstart has had on their own lives, and their vision for the next 25 years of Jumpstart.
Looking back on his last 17 years of service to Jumpstart, there are several moments that Board Co-Chair Chris Stadler is especially proud of. Among those: changing the Jumpstart model from 1-1 (each volunteer working with one child) to 1-3—a move which greatly expanded the number of children served, the way the Jumpstart network collectively responded in 2015 when a reduction in AmeriCorps funding threatened to dramatically reduce yearly programming, and CEO Naila Bolus’s arrival in 2011 during a time of “great transition.”
Chris is a Managing Partner at CVC Capital Partners, a leading global private equity firm. Chris, who first joined Jumpstart’s National Board in 2003, wasn’t initially sure he had the bandwidth to work with the organization when he was first approached by former Jumpstart CEO Rob Waldron—but the mission really resonated with him.
“I was one of four kids,” Chris said. “Growing up in a small town in New Jersey, my family had a big influence on me. I realized how important it is to have people around growing up that can help you.”
Chris really enjoyed reading and his own educational experience was “very important to me when I was young.” It’s no surprise then that Chris connected with Jumpstart’s message about early literacy and what a gateway it is to a successful future.
After attending Drew University and earning his MBA at Columbia University, Chris pursued a career in finance.
“Growth means evolving. That’s tremendously exciting.”
In addition to serving children through Jumpstart, Chris says providing volunteers with a powerful learning experience has been especially rewarding. “We’ve been taking a harder look at all we’ve been doing for volunteers to prepare them for the world after school,” he said.
“I’ve had so many Jumpstart volunteers tell me that if not the best thing they’ve ever done in school—it’s one of the best things. For many of them, Jumpstart triggered or confirmed their interest in education and for many others—even if they didn’t go that route—they were still positively influenced. That means so much to me.”
This fall, Jumpstart will begin another strategic planning process. “As part of this process, we’ll be looking at different ways of distributing our program that will allow us to much more quickly grow the number of children that we serve. Growth means evolving. That’s tremendously exciting.”
Some quotes have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.