Case Studies: Organizational Strategy, Growth and Innovation

Services for the Underserved

Making strategic choices and getting support from both Board and staff


Founded in 1978, Services for the UnderServed (SUS) supports individuals and families facing challenging life situations such as mental illness, developmental disability, physical disability, AIDS, homelessness, unemployment and poverty.  SUS has unique expertise in providing tailored services to persons with complex needs, while meeting their personal goals and preferences.

The Support Center helped Services for the Underserved:

  • Facilitate both board and staff discussions about the key focus areas that would make the greatest impact in the lives of their clients,
  • Build multi-level commitment to ensuring that clients have both a safe place to live and meaningful employment as key elements of independence and personal fulfillment,
  • Set clear Board and staff goals and activities to strengthen both the organization’s impact and its sustainability over the long-term.

“I appreciate working with Don and his team because they listen carefully to our needs and customize their approach to helping us achieve success.  They have the skills, tools, and experience needed to create a practical and usable strategy, and are not stuck with a ‘cookie-cutter’ model that can bog down the process.  Their commitment to our complete satisfaction and success is refreshing.”

Donna Colonna, CEO, Services for the Underserved

Literacy Partners

Planning for the future in a meaningful way


Literacy Partners is an organization dedicated to offering high quality, community-based literacy programs in New York City with the goal of empowering adults to reach their full potential as individuals, parents and citizens. Its PUSH Literacy Zone in Harlem serves as a comprehensive resource center that connects individuals and families to the services they need. Its holistic approach includes combining basic literacy instruction with health and financial literacy, as well as job readiness. As New York’s only nationally-accredited adult education program, Literacy Partners is committed to providing the best possible services to students and clients, and exceeding state standards of excellence.

Literacy Partners asked the Support Center to help construct a three-year strategic plan to set priorities, build commitment, and guide resource acquisition. The Support Center helped Literacy Partners:

  • Set goals for expanding services and increasing institutional sustainability in the years ahead,
  • Gain a better sense of its role in the community and the need to establish cooperative partnerships,
  • Plan to grow its board and reorganize its committee system.


Contact (212) 924-6744 ext. 302 or email Carolyn Champ, Associate Executive Director, to learn more.

“The Support Center process helped us have the important conversation needed to clarify our direction and build excitement, energy, and a team approach with both staff and Board.

We benefited greatly from the Support Center’s commitment to working closely with us and their ‘hands-on’ approach to helping us make meaningful, important decisions for our future”

Carolyn Powell, Chairperson, Board of Directors
Services for the Underserved

“This was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. But it was not a thankless one – the members of the Board obviously appreciate our efforts and fully support our plan. I thought the presentation to the Board went remarkably well.”

Mark Jackson, Board Chair
Literacy Partners