"Plan your work and work your plan" - Vince Lombardi
Many of you reading this know that I am not a sports fan but I couldn’t pass over this quote from one of the sporting world’s most revered strategic thinkers, the former Green Bay Packer coach, Vince Lombardi.
Developing a strategic plan
In May, after eight months of work, our board of directors approved a new five-year strategic plan. The planning process involved input from our donors, partners, staff, and board. It was kicked off by a staff retreat and then a full day board retreat. One of the products of the board retreat was a graphic history of H.O.M.E.
Believe it or not, while we sat and talked about our history, an artist was sketching it out. Here is a snapshot of the end result.
To lead and facilitate the strategic planning process we hired Stacy French Reynolds from Anchor Advisors. Stacy brings a strong background in leadership and management and has helped in the development of numerous other nonprofit strategic plans.
Together, Stacy led our board and staff in creating a plan that:
- Strengthens our ability to provide services for low-income seniors in Chicago as the need for our programs is in high demand locally and nationally.
- Sets the direction and establishes priorities for the next five years. This will help our donors and volunteers understand exactly how their support makes an impact.
- Enables effective growth and sustainability while guiding in the selection and introduction of new board members and staff so that they will understand our values, culture, and direction.
- Bolsters mission-centered decision-making because we have identified our priorities and won’t take on new ventures that are inconsistent with our goals.
At the end of the process we arrived at five strategic goals and have defined the role of the board, staff, and executive director in completing them. If you would like to read more specifics about the plan you can download it here.
Meeting needs in our community
As you may know, we provide affordable intergenerational housing in Chicago, and all three of our buildings are on the North side of the city. One of the things the plan addresses is something we hear frequently from our Upkeep & Repair clients on the South and West sides of the City, “Why don’t you have a house in our community?”
We are aware that there is an increasing need for affordable senior housing throughout the City of Chicago, and particularly in many of the most economically depressed areas of the city.
So, one of the goals is to identify specific neighborhoods where we could potentially provide intergenerational housing. One of our major goals will be to develop relationships with community organizations, leaders, and individuals in those neighborhoods that will help us understand the needs of their community and whether our housing model is a fit for those needs.
Sustaining our culture
During the planning process we came to understand more about the culture of H.O.M.E. and how our board and staff currently embody our values. Among those values are working as a team and a belief that everyone deserves to to be treated with respect, compassion, and acceptance. We believe that it is not only the work that we do for seniors, but the way in which we complete our work that enables older adults to remain independent and part of their community.
As our organization grows and experiences changes, it was a very logical step to be sure that our leaders and staff members continue to embody our values and help us preserve our culture.
Fostering joy, connection, and independence
Marijo's experience personifies what we mean by fostering joy, connection, and independence.
Since moving from a homeless shelter into Good Life Residences at Nathalie Salmon House, Marijo's health has gotten better and she is more independent. She told us she has less to worry about and more time to do what she loves best—she calls her children, the joy of her life, as often as she can.
Marijo told us, “That’s why I love it here. They help me keep my things going.”
We believe that, in the word's of Vince Lombardi, "working our plan" will lead to being able to bring joy to many more people like Marijo in the years ahead.
How you can get involved
If you would like to learn more about H.O.M.E.'s strategic plan or would like to get involved as a volunteer, committee, or board member please contact me. I would be delighted to talk with you about your interests, 773.295.2711 or BruceO@homeseniors.org
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