Strategy Counts Pilot Sites

The Strategy Counts initiative provided funding to Alliance for Children and Families member organizations, which serve as pilot sites for the initiative.

Pilot sites are charged with implementing distinct models to elevate organization-wide strategy. In doing so, they test how the elevation of strategy affects the ability of nonprofit human service organizations to adapt to changing market forces.

The Alliance's first pilot site announcement was in December 2011, when it awarded $2.5 million to 14 organizations. Five additional pilot sites were identified in December 2012, when $500,000 was awarded. These 19 pilot sites at member organizations, plus the Alliance family of companies, brings the total to 20 pilot sites.

The pilot sites will either hire full-time chief strategy officers or implement transformational projects designed to identify and evaluate tools for building capacity for strategic operations.

2012 Pilot Sites Implementing Transformational Projects

Beech Brook has a 160 year history as nonprofit organization serving children, youth, and their families in northeast Ohio. As changes are coming nation-wide in the health and human service arena, Ohio has been adopting changes ahead of many other states. This transformational initiative at Beech Brook will re-tool operations to pilot the health home model by creating an integrated physical and behavioral health care service line for specific high risk, high need populations leading to improved health.

Great Circle, one of the largest behavioral health agencies in Missouri touches the lives of 11,000 children and family members annually. Great Circle will incorporate the Baldrige Model of Performance Excellence to align and focus the entire organization, from the board of directors, to the nearly 900 staff on a single strategic vision that defines and implements institution-wide outcomes measurement, evidence-based practices, stakeholder feedback, and decision-making. This transformational project will enhance Great Circle’s effectiveness in fundamentally altering the life trajectory of children, youth and families served; enabling them to secure stable employment, maintain financial security, and effectively break cycles of poverty by fostering academic progress, developing skills for independent living, and improving interpersonal and long-term resilience skills.

Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS) has been responding to increasing needs in the community and the reality of decreasing resources. For continued success, the organization recognizes the need to create a new framework that continually supports an organic, ground up strategic perspective. Through a Whole Scale Change approach, JFCS will engage stakeholders at all levels to build staff capacity, increase organizational alignment, and incorporate a process for continuous quality improvement with the intent of having individuals and families prepared to succeed in life and able to lead vibrant and independent lives free from violence, poverty, and isolation.

Kids Central serves as a Community Based Care Lead Agency responsible for the provision of child protective services. A recent change in leadership at Kids Central has presented an opportunity to assess the organization and re-evaluate strategic objectives, execution, and performance. The Florida Sterling Challenge, based on the nationally acclaimed Baldrige criteria, is an excellent approach for transitioning to a mature organization with the capacity to administer programs in a manner providing the greatest impact to our communities. Participation in the Challenge is expected to result in a strategically aligned organization with the capacity to provide enhanced services with greater impact and measurable results.

The Children’s Home of Cincinnati’s transformational project will strengthen its capacity to ensure that 90% of the children/youth served are annually are on track for school success. This goal will be achieved in several ways: by increasing staff’s sense of shared contribution, vision and purpose; strengthening our continuous quality improvement practices including the development of a customized data system; and increasing the number of children who achieve improved behavior and social and emotional wellness thus strengthening their academic opportunities. As a rigorous and accountable process, our strategic implementation includes quarterly audits of key benchmarks that will build our capacity to serve more children and empower them with the necessary skills to achieve age-appropriate success in school.

2011 Pilot Sites that Hired a Chief Strategy Officer

  • Heartland Family Service in Omaha, Neb.

    Heartland Family Service will build upon its strategic planning efforts by adding a chief strategy officer, who will work with the organization’s Strategic Planning Task Force to conduct an in-depth analysis of progress made against the agency’s existing strategic plan. Customized reports and data visualization strategies will be implemented to leverage the information generated by these expanded strategic planning efforts and to further refine the agency’s balanced scorecard performance management system.
  • Holy Family Institute in Pittsburgh

    Holy Family Institute currently is shifting its focus and funding from residential care to community-based services. Holy Family Institute will align knowledge management and strategy by utilizing the human-centered design (HCD) process to drive innovation. HCD is a holistic system for addressing challenges and opportunities, beginning with techniques to form a deep understanding of the needs and desires of all stakeholders, constituencies, and communities. The chief strategy officer will receive training to apply HCD and align the organization in support of the vision, strategies, and plans that result from the implementation of this approach.
  • Hopelink in Redmond, Wash.

    Hopelink will create a chief strategy officer position to build capacity to coordinate and drive organizational change on a continuing basis. As with many nonprofits, senior leaders struggle to balance the demands of day-to-day operations while creating the capacity required to maintain a focus on mid- to long-term impact. The chief strategy officer will enable a change in culture toward one that combines a business focus on results with the social service ethos of compassion for clients and community needs.
  • Leake & Watts Services in Yonkers, N.Y.

    With the completion of a three year strategic plan in October 2011, the addition of a chief strategy officer will release the executive director from the implementation process, and thus increase the organization’s capacity to test the current strategic plan, its initiatives, action, and performance against their mission and goals as well as concurrently plan for future growth and sustainability.
  • Neighborhood Centers Inc. in Houston

    Having recently undergone a comprehensive internal evaluation, Neighborhood Centers Inc. has identified six key characteristics—education, economic opportunity, health services, housing, community connectivity, and infrastructure—that are always present in strong, vibrant communities. A chief strategy officer will drive the implementation of these characteristics as strategic priorities for the agency.
  • Public Health Management Corporation in Philadelphia

    Public Health Management Corporation recently completed an 18-month strategic repositioning process that encompassed organizational realignment, restructuring of top line management, and the development of a new strategic plan. The new chief strategy officer position, held by Tine Hansen-Turton, is critical to this transformation, integrally contributing to its implementation, the achievement of strategic plan results, and facilitation of ongoing strategy development across the organization with a focus on smart, mission-led growth.
  • The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, Maine

    Because of its recent merger, The Opportunity Alliance has been able to harness the missions, values, and service components of both People’s Regional Opportunity Program and Youth Alternatives Ingraham. The programming, therefore, has become more varied and complex. Senior staff has taken on expanded job responsibilities and are occupied with day to day operations. With the hiring of a chief strategy officer, the agency will be able to take a comprehensive, long term look at challenges and opportunities in the larger community that the current structure only allows to be added gradually. See Blog and video.
  • The Village Network in Smithville, Ohio

    In spring 2011, stimulated by the Alliances’ webinars and research, The Village Network made a decision to hire a chief strategy officer to enhance the organization’s capacity and community impact. The chief strategy officer would secure commitment to current strategic plan, assess the current environment, facilitate ongoing strategy development, and provide greater integration of services and activities with clients and community partners. Actions planned are hosting community forums and initiating a measurement system of community impact.
  • Volunteers of America of Minnesota in Minneapolis

    With significant growth in the agency, the collective vision of impact, a comprehensive strategy, and a common approach to data driven decisions has lagged behind. Their first organizational assessment of quality utilizing the Baldrige framework provided feedback, focus, and guidance on building strength through a comprehensive approach to strategy development. This groundwork has readied the agency for a chief strategy officer position.

2011 Pilot Sites Implementing Transformational Projects

  • Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services in Pasadena, Calif.

    In the midst of a real-time strategic planning process completed with the assistance of a consulting firm, the organization’s management was trained in Six Sigma concepts and Baldrige criteria that were implemented and monitored by a transformation leadership team. The organization is now ready for the structure to address broader strategic initiatives with continued assistance from a consultant in completing the organizational strategic plan.
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Sarasota-Manatee in Sarasota, Fla.

    With unprecedented growth, Jewish Family & Children’s Service views this opportunity to build stronger teams and transform the current culture into a culture of shared ownership and responsibility. Forming a strategy team and utilizing a process of shared inquiry will build an understanding and a sense of ownership of mission and strategy. With the assistance of a consultant to implement the Denison Organizational Culture Survey, the agency will identify the culture, values, and strategies necessary to increase adaptability, create more widely shared mission, shared decision making, and increased consistency by committed employees.
  • Villa of Hope in Rochester, N.Y.

    Villa of Hope envisions their organization to be driven by the needs of the youth and families they serve and are currently realigning program services to meet those needs. A local consultant, along with the strategy team will assist in creating a balanced scorecard and strategic direction. This strategic plan will be implemented and executed at all levels of the organization. Leadership staff will be trained in crucial conversations and executive coaching tools to be innovative leaders.
  • Starr Commonwealth in Albion, Mich.

    Starr Commonwealth has invested in creating a chief strategy officer position and completed the planning phase for a new strategic direction that focuses heavily on growth and increased impact on children and families. As implementation begins, this funding will assist in better defining and deploying the role of the current chief strategy officer and organizing strategic implementation throughout the entire organization.
  • The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

    While shifting from residential programs to a continuum of community-based services, The Children’s Village will develop and implement a strategic plan to align their image, culture, and practices with their current focus, and engage all levels of the organization to contribute to this transformation.

Contact Strategy Counts staff with questions.


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