Youth services Organization (non-profit)


This decade-old organization found early success but had grown stale. It had become a generic after-school program in the inner city. The board was not interested, the executive director was probably cutting corners, there was no ambition and donor support was tenuous. The charismatic founder was losing his love and sense of mission and was thinking of shutting it down and moving on with life.


  • Our assessment showed a faint heartbeat based on limited but compelling results, some unique programming and a remnant of the staff that the program could be rebuilt around.
  • The founder, rather than moving on, moved in. He became, for a short time, "the reason" to save the program, and he took over the executive directorship.
  • A core group of donors (think "angel investors") came around the founder to support a re-start with a much larger ambition based on a more focused program.
  • A mentorship program was established with college students seeking to give back while also building their own skills, work and leadership experience.
  • The funding plan was reoriented to win-win opportunities with closely involved corporate partners.


A renewed vision based on a passionate local focus and a compelling national ambition has reignited the program. There is a growing community and culture of support that enthusiastically meets the needs and encourages the organization to continue reaching further. Student participation is up 10-fold, the staff is stronger than ever, finances are solid and the groundwork is being laid for expansion to other cities with a similar need.

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