Surviving and Thriving Through the Pandemic
We are transitioning the $100 monetary Participation Stipend to a GLN credit. Read below for the exciting details.
Feliciations! Поздравляю! Congrats! Mabrouk! Mazel tov! Global Language Network is celebrating its 16th year in operation! When I founded GLN in 2005, I was fulfilling my life-long dream of making the world a better place while doing what I love. At GLN, our mission is to “Use language as a tool to help fix our world” and for the past (nearly) 16 years, we have been re-framing language education in a way that engages teachers and students inside and outside the classroom. Our mission, communicative approach, “no English challenge,” diverse network, volunteers, partners, and vision of “building a Network of Givers, for Givers, by Givers” are all aspects that have set GLN apart and has earned us the rank of top language classes in DC on Yelp, year after year. Our unique pricing model is an innovation for the industry and has led many curious learners to GLN with our affordable pricing and “rewarding participation” approach. One of our challenges has always been: how can we incentivize language learning with our limited resources? For our die-hard GLNers out there, you have seen the various phases of our pricing model over the years (from free, to small fees, to deposits of various degrees). Every pricing change has been with one thing in mind: better serving our students.
The Covid-19 pandemic shook the entire world, physically, emotionally, economically, and spiritually. We each know of someone personally who passed away or became seriously from Covid-19, each of us know someone who was impacted emotionally and financially from the pandemic. We are incredibly blessed and grateful to have survived, without interruption, throughout the pandemic and we wish to thank you, our amazing network, for sticking with us and continuing to support our important mission during these challenging times. GLN took the biggest hit with our in-person classes and in-person operations. We were forced to transition everything online and, while it has proven to be a significant challenge, we are simply grateful to be able to stay open and continue to serve our expanding community. Our two biggest partners, from whom we rented our office space and classroom space, had to close their DC offices entirely, which forced us out of the shared space with just a couple of weeks notice. As we planned our recovery and eventual move to new office and classroom space, we quickly realized that we would have to make serious financial or operational compromises to keep providing our services.
Many of you have expressed that GLN is one of the few organizations that literally puts its money where its mission is by investing a whopping 50% of our revenue back into our students. We truly care about education and we show that by giving back half of our already highly-subsidized $200 class fee in the form of a $100 Participation Stipend. While numerous industry leaders I have consulted have called us “crazy” for giving back 50% of our revenue to our students, as an idealist I continue to hope that our model inspires not just more education and language learning, but perhaps more important, a spirit of gratitude and generosity throughout our community and beyond.
That same spirit of gratitude and generosity inspired me to push-back on the calls to remove our $100 Participation Stipend in order to recover from the pandemic and build a more robust organization. But since the success of our mission and the sustainability of our operations go hand-in-hand, I believe we have found an incredible solution and compromise in these difficult times. We will be offering our generous $100 Participation Stipend in the form of a GLN credit instead of a monetary format. While we are sorry that we can no longer offer our incredibly generous monetary stipend, our GLN credit means that we can still invest in the education of our students, while inspiring the same spirit of gratitude and generosity. This small change will help us towards greater sustainability and longevity, helping keep those we invest the most in more connected to GLN as we build a better world together.
How will this new system work? You will still pay just $200 to enroll in a new class, and as long as you meet the Participation Stipend guidelines, you will still receive the same $100 Participation Stipend (still minus the $5 PayPal fee, making the full amount $95); however now it will be in the form of a GLN credit. You will receive a unique code and then be able to use that code to redeem $95 in GLN services (language classes, Priority Registration purchases, or a gift card for a friend). If you redeem that $95 credit towards another $200 class, for example, you will pay just $105. While the new class will not be eligible for a Participation Stipend, our team aims to keep adding more ways to help you get class fees waived, such as becoming a GLN teacher, Leadership Fellow, partner, or Global Giver Fellow.
We are always open to feedback and we invite you to share your thoughts if you have any questions, comments, or feedback. We appreciate your understanding and support in this challenging time as we make small changes which we believe will bring a big impact, not only on our ability to serve the public, but on our ability to continue building an amazing Network that is focused on Giving back. Thank you for your amazing commitment to our organization. You inspire us to be even better and we absolutely love serving you, day in and day out. Thank you for these past (nearly) 16 years and here’s to many, many more years of continued success, growth, and social impact!
As always, I am eternally grateful and humbled by the opportunity to serve you,
Founder and Executive Director
President and Chairman of the Board
PS – Several of you have asked what the difference is between 6-10 week classes and 12 week classes and why a 6 week class has the same $200 fee as a 12-week class. We have held 12-week semesters for years and only in the past few years have we created the shorter, 6-10 week classes due to popular demand. The course fees help us cover our fixed costs, which have the same base rate as a 12 week class, even if it’s just 6 weeks. Why offer 6 week classes at all? We listened to the hundreds of students, teachers, and partners who simply could not join our 12-week classes; either due to work or personal travel, other commitments, or simply because they found out about GLN mid-semester. We designed a way for you to join without the full semester-long commitment; an abbreviated semester that we call our “Executive Session.” We really hope to see you join us for one of our many language classes, whether it’s for twelve weeks or six.