Client Spotlight: Goddard Riverside (Strategic Planning)



CASE: Goddard Riverside, one of New York City’s leading human service organizations, works to meet people’s basic needs – food, shelter, education – and to bring them together for mutual aid, social action, and to celebrate our richness as a society.  With the support of the Clark Foundation, Goddard partnered with the Support Center throughout 2014-2015 to develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan. In order to do so, we worked closely with Goddard Riverside’s Executive Director, Stephen Russo and their Board Chair, Betsy Newell.

RESULTS: The result was Goddard’s first agency-wide strategic plan. The Board and staff, with input from the community and its partners, discussed how to build a sustainable plan for the years ahead and reaffirmed the importance of the settlement house philosophy to everything they do. The areas that Goddard addressed through this work with the Support Center included:

  • Commitment to programmatic reach – Ensuring programs are responsive to current and emerging community needs.
  • Governance – Building a dynamic and informed Board of Directors structured and equipped to govern effectively so the agency is better positioned to achieve its mission.
  • Staff leadership – Inspiring and developing all staff to further Goddard Riverside’s mission and exemplify its values.
  • Resource development – Growing sustainable support for all Goddard Riverside endeavors through diverse funding streams and increased visibility.
  • Infrastructure – Ensuring an infrastructure that provides high quality, flexible and sustainable services that support Goddard Riverside and extends its values to all.

The Strategic Plan was approved in the first quarter of 2016 and the Support Center has maintained an ongoing relationship with leadership at Goddard.

VALUES STATEMENT: To achieve their goals, members of Goddard Riverside’s board and staff, drafted a values statement that captured the essence of they were and what they wanted to accomplish. Below is a list of core values that were jointly identified.

  • Community: We believe in nurturing and celebrating community life and supporting connections among neighbors.
  • Fiscal Responsibility:  As responsible stewards, we recognize our duty to safeguard the agency’s substantial resources and to utilize and preserve its assets for current and future generations through sound financial management, by operating within our means, and by ensuring a diversified funding base which is at the core of sustainability.
  • Innovation: We listen and respond to the everyday concerns and issues facing our neighbors. We are a laboratory for new ideas. We continually experiment, learning from our successes and failures.
  • Integrity: Our staff and our board are guided by the highest professional and ethical standards and a rigorous commitment to excellence. We are transparent and accountable to all stakeholders, and we respect the environment and the impact of our operations on it.
  • Leadership: We lead by being open to change and opportunities, staying attuned to the social forces shaping our society and by sharing our learning with others.
  • Lifelong Learning: We believe that a fulfilled life extends beyond the basics of food, clothing and shelter to include opportunities for education, continuing education, cultural enrichment and meaningful interactions with others.
  • Partnership: We work hand-in-hand with people, no matter what their life circumstances, background or age, to achieve the kind of life they want for themselves and their families. Our board and staff work collaboratively and we actively seek out and cultivate partnerships with organizations and individuals who are committed to making a real difference in our community and in the greater social fabric of our city.


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