Now a few months into their consulting projects, eight CCT teams are making strong progress on developing insights and forming recommendations for their nonprofit clients. Here are a few updates shared by our project managers:
Convenient small facility or spacious site with pool on the outskirts?
The Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham & Wakefield have outgrown their basement home in Wakefield Center. The organization is seeking a new facility to expand its Wakefield programs and membership. The challenge is that everyone has different preferences for what’s needed, which affects where it can be. Centrally-located facilities that children can access by walking or on the bus are small and constricted. Facilities on the outskirts, where a pool, kitchen, and outdoor play space are possible, are harder to access and may compromise the mission to “enable all young people – especially those who need us most – to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
The CCT team is analyzing the needs and priorities of all stakeholders and benchmarking peers to help the organization achieve consensus and resolve the paradox: Near and Small or Large and Far?
What happens when CCT and CLT get together?
Bread & Roses Housing is a Community Land Trust (CLT) creating affordable housing and community support in Lawrence, Haverhill and North Andover. They have asked CCT to conduct an analysis of the organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), which will provide critical insights for their strategic plan update to begin later this year.
The team is interviewing key stakeholders, including homeowners, Board members, partners, government agencies, and staff. They are also conducting a comprehensive peer review, speaking with best practice organizations throughout New England. This SWOT analysis is very timely, given the housing and equity issues exacerbated by COVID.
Higher education for the incarcerated: a transformative experience
The Educational Justice Institute at MIT (TEJI) is dedicated to providing transformative learning experiences to incarcerated individuals and university students in Massachusetts. TEJI is looking to expand its services throughout New England and turned to CCT to help guide its expansion plans.
The team dug right in, interviewing key regional stakeholders and other experts on educational delivery within prisons, and conducting a quantitative survey designed to understand how TEJI is and should be allocating its time to achieve its growth strategy. These results will be compiled and analyzed to inform TEJI's thinking on the full range of services it could offer to best support its mission, including how to work with technology and education delivery partners, how to continue to coordinate with departments of correction, and how to staff the organization to be most effective in the future.
Studying up on partnering up
The John F. Kennedy Family Services Center (JFK) serves in need residents of Charlestown with core programs and support focused on families with young children and older adults. They have partnered with Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professionals (IHP), also located in Charlestown for a 30-month grant funded research program for a group of JFK toddlers and preschoolers focused on speech and language development.
CCT have been asked to develop a template for the partnership covering resources, other needs, and benefits to each organization that can also be used for future partnership evaluation. CCT is conducting interviews with staff in both organizations to understand the challenges and learnings in both their core work and the partnership. In addition, we are reaching out to other medical schools and not for profits that have formed partnerships that provide student experience and research grant funding.
The Minds Matter magic
Minds Matter Boston (MMB) connects driven and determined students from low-income families with the people, preparation, and possibilities to succeed in college, create their future, and change the world. In its 17-year history, 100% of MMB students have gained admission to a four-year college or university, and 96% of alumni have graduated or are still enrolled in college. As the organization looks to the future, it is evaluating several exciting growth paths (serving even more students, extending its range of services, or perhaps launching a policy-based initiative).
In advance of a Board-led strategic planning effort that is set to kick off this summer, CCT is conducting a comprehensive MMB stakeholder assessment. The CCT team is conducting dozens of 1:1 interviews with students, mentors, families, schools, donors, and leaders in the college access space. The resulting insights will inform an analysis of MMB’s strengths, challenges, opportunities and risks – that will serve as the foundation for its upcoming strategic work.
Giving low income students a step up
Steps to Success is committed to closing the opportunity gap for Brookline students from low-income families in grades three through college graduation. For the past 20 years, Steps has served over 400 students and unlocked life-changing opportunities by expanding their horizons, building their soft skills, and supporting their educational journey to college. Despite their successes, there is a significant educational gap in the students entering their program when compared to their higher income peers. To close that gap, Steps to Success plans to extend their program downward to start with kindergarten.
The CCT team is engaged in evaluating the resources required for a K-2 expansion and understanding the potential impact. The team has been interviewing key stakeholders to understand their needs and ability to support the expansion. In addition, the team is learning from comparable service providers in the K-2 age group. The team will develop scenarios for K-2 expansion from the data gathered and provide recommendations for next steps.
Not lost in translation
Urban College of Boston (UCB) provides a supportive learning environment for English learners by offering introductory college courses in Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Haitian Creole. UCB is emerging from the pandemic with a shift from on-premises to remote learning, and a drop in enrollment.
The CCT team endeavors to identify student market segments for UCB and determine the best messaging strategy for each segment in order to increase student enrollment and improve retention. Team members have been divided into sub-teams to analyze enrollment data, take a closer look at UCB's changing competitive landscape, and evaluate student journey maps. Then it's been "all hands-on deck" for internal and student interviews. Initial findings presented and discussed at the interim will inform some additional, more focused, analysis and interviews, before developing recommendations for how to effectively reach, enroll and retain UCB students.
Finding help when you need it
William James INTERFACE Referral Service is a free mental health and wellness referral helpline for residents of participating communities. Callers are matched with licensed mental health providers from an extensive database, meeting the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller.
INTERFACE has asked for CCT’s help in understanding the strategic implications brought about by rapid growth in demand, continuous changes in the provider community, and changing perspectives of their parent organization. The team has also suggested revised pricing based on a new 5-year financial model, and coached INTERFACE staff in how to communicate that new pricing to their client communities.
Check back in June for updates after the projects have wrapped up!