Over the past three years Support Center has supported the organizational and mission sustainability of over 200 nonprofit organizations through comprehensive consulting and coaching engagements, including organizational assessments, strategic plans, executive coaching, board development, and redesign efforts.
In that time, we have also supported more than 30 nonprofits through an executive transition and conducted over 250 professional development workshops — both open to the public and customized for specific nonprofit groups — designed to help new and emerging nonprofit leaders increase their own personal effectiveness as well as their organization’s overall effectiveness.
The following examples provide a window into our impact. Support Center is also engaged in a multi-year effort to understand the impact of our work through improved assessment efforts.
Marquis Studios – Executive Transition
Founded in 1977 by David Marquis, Marquis Studios is a multi-disciplinary arts education nonprofit that inspires a passion for learning by bringing the arts into New York City public schools. Up until his unfortunate passing, Mr. Marquis served as the Executive Director until 2017 and was a dynamic well- loved leader who brought to his work considerable experience as a theater artist of many capacities.
In late 2017, Support Center began working with Marquis Studios on a full transition management project, starting with an interim placement process to find a leader who could stabilize and manage the organization throughout the transition to new full-time, long-term leadership. In early 2018 the Board hired Diana Breen, who had completed Support Center’s Interim ED Training only a few months before. Over the course of the year, Diana worked diligently, in concert with the Board, to support the staff, keep programs running smoothly, implement financial management best practices, and relocate the organization’s offices. While Diana was leading the organization as an interim, Don Crocker and Pat Richter conducted an executive search with the Board and ultimately helped them identify and hire Paula Heitman as the new Executive Director. Paula has extensive experience with grant writing, development, strategic planning and event management and brings over 25 years of programmatic and senior administrative experience to Marquis Studios. Today the organization continues to run smoothly under her leadership.
THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF NEWARK – STRATEGIC PLANNING
Since 1938, the Boys and Girls Club of Newark (BCGN) has provided affordable after school, weekend, and summer programs to thousands of children in Newark and surrounding communities in New Jersey. BGCN takes an integrated approach to youth development, offering services that nurture the whole child – emotionally, physically and socially, taking into account the full spectrum of a young person’s life.
BGCN engaged Support Center to guide its strategic planning process, which included staff and board retreats and a series of strategic planning committee meetings, culminating in a plan that was presented to and received well by the full board. To operate effectively in today’s nonprofit environment, which is characterized by increased competition for dollars, government funding fluctuations, sluggish payment systems, and rapid changes in the needs of communities, we believe organizations like BCGN must have clear and focused strategic priorities. By developing standard metrics aligned with their strategic priorities, organizations are positioned well to stay on track and to communicate their progress clearly and effectively with their many stakeholders.
UPTOWN GRAND CENTRAL – BOARD DEVELOPMENT
Support Center worked with Uptown Grand Central’s board and staff to build a board structure that can support the organization’s vision for the future. This work was done in partnership with NYC Small Business Services as part of its Avenue NYC nonprofit management coaching program. Uptown Grand Central works with merchants and neighbors along the east side of 125th Street to enrich the area through collaboration, research, and creative community projects.
Carey King, Uptown’s Director, said, “Our work with the Support Center and Melba Butler (a Support Center affiliate consultant) has been transformative. We’re a young organization and many of our board members have never served on a board before.” Melba’s work, she explained, helped “move us toward an understanding of board member roles, work and expectations.” And by working with the Support Center, she continued, “we have had access to the whole body of work on nonprofit governance and operations that have gone before us. My advice to other nonprofits would be: You are not alone! There are resources, and the Support Center will connect you.”
THE CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK – MANAGING TRANSITION AND BOARD CHANGE
Founded in 1844, the Correctional Association of New York (the CA) is an independent nonprofit organization that advocates for a more humane and effective criminal justice system and a more just and equitable society. Support Center began a long-term executive transition project with the CA in 2016 when we helped to place an interim executive director.
The search for a long-term executive director concluded with the appointment of Jennifer Scaife. We have continued to support the transition through an onboarding process that ensures open lines of communication and clarity between management and the board. Support Center also worked with the CA on a comprehensive review of its programmatic, finance, and governance structures with an eye towards advancing the organization’s mission.
CTC ACADEMY – STRATEGIC PLANNING
CTC Academy provides education and therapeutic services for students ages 18 months to 21 years with an array of developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, genetic and neurological disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. Operating on two campuses in New Jersey, CTC aims to maximize the life potential of its students while supporting their families along the way.
In recent years, CTC has experienced rapid growth – the number of students served, budget size, faculty and staff, and physical space – which has created both opportunities and challenges. Support Center began working with CTC to help develop its first strategic plan, covering three years. “CTC has attempted, on a number of occasions, to conduct strategic planning on its own,” says CTC Executive Director Ken Berger, “so engaging a consultant was a new concept for the Board. Board members have mentioned how helpful and useful the process has been so far. We all appreciate that the Support Center has been able to move us forward in a way that we couldn’t have done on our own.”