AchieveMpls logoAchieveMpls selected us to lead them through a strategic planning process and answer four key questions facing the organization as they look toward the future. We used a mix of interviews with key stakeholders, board and staff retreats, background research, and facilitated planning committee meetings to reach the end product. Read CEO Pam Costain’s recap of the experience here.

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Area: Education (Career and College Readiness)
Project Type: Strategic Planning

Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC)

Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC) logoCLAC asked us to join with HACER to produce a report examining current successes and challenges in educating Latino students in Minnesota. HACER interviewed leaders at 6 schools across the state and conducted a literature review, while we worked with them to produce final recommendations and help structure and edit the final report. Our team also wrote a shorter article summarizing the full report’s findings and secured publication of that article in the Citizens League’s MN Journal.

Location: Minnesota
Issue Areas: Education (Career and College Readiness), Immigrants/Refugees/Diaspora
Project Type: Research and Writing
Collaborators: Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER)

Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN)

Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN) logoDAWN invited us to help them develop and articulate a clear, sustainable strategy for near-term growth. We interviewed members, conducted a member survey, performed market research, and facilitated planning meetings. We helped the organization answer key growth questions regarding chapter expansion across the country and the various levels of membership benefits.

Location: Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, MN
Issue Areas: Immigrants/Refugees/Diaspora, Membership Association
Project Type: Business Planning

El Colegio Charter School

El Colegio Charter School

We facilitated a strategic planning process for El Colegio Charter School to use as it undergoes dramatic changes in its academic goals and programming, while continuing to emphasize students’ Latino culture and heritage. In this project, we used a mix of background research, interviews with key stakeholders (including board, staff, and students), and facilitated board discussions. The end product was a plan and key communications materials.

Location: Minneapolis, MN
Issue Areas: Education, Immigrants/Refugees/Diaspora
Project Type: Strategic Planning, Marketing and Communications

Frogtown Farm

Frogtown Farm logo

A unique partnership between The Trust for Public Land, the Wilder Foundation, the City of St. Paul, and residents of the city’s Frogtown neighborhood resulted in the acquisition of a 12.7-acre parcel of land for a public park. 5.5 acres will be developed as an urban farm, with the vision of creating a hub for a healthy food system that fills gaps in food production, storage, manufacturing, and distribution. We guided a committee of this new organization’s board of directors through several high-level strategy discussions to prioritize their goals and activities. Building on a farm framework created in 2013 by Rebar and informed by deep community engagement, we created the organization’s budget and financial models, operationalized the strategies, and wrote Frogtown Farm’s business financing plan for the first three years.

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Issue Areas: Social Enterprise, Urban Agriculture and Food Systems
Project Type: Facilitation, Financial Modeling, Business Planning
Collaborators: Glen Hill

Generation Next

Generation Next logoGeneration Next, a powerful coalition of civic, business and education leaders, aims to close the achievement gap and opportunity gaps for students of color in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We are providing strategic and facilitation support to both the High School Graduation and the Third Grade Reading networks. Using the StriveTogether collective impact framework, we are facilitating the data-driven work of helping network member organizations as they unify, collaborate, and move the needle on educational disparities in the Twin Cities.

Location: Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota
Issue Area: Education (Third Grade Reading, High School Graduation, College and Career Readiness)
Project Type: Facilitation, Collective Impact

The James P. Shannon Institute

Shannon InstituteA vital resource in our community, the Shannon Institute at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation nurtures the creativity and vitality of proven leaders of philanthropic, civic, and community-serving organizations. With several decades under its belt, The Shannon sought us out to help them understand their current–and future–place in the world. We benchmarked other professional and personal development programs to better understand The Shannon’s place in the mix; designed an authentic process for engaging and soliciting feedback from program alumni, younger leaders, and leaders of sectors that have traditionally been less connected; and wrote a three-year strategic plan to guide the program.

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Issue Area: Leadership Development
Project Type: Market Analysis, Facilitation, Strategic Planning

The McKnight Foundation

McKnightDuring the 2014 legislative session, Minnesota passed the most comprehensive legislation in the country in support of English Language Learners. But many were concerned that the Learning for English Academic Proficiency and Success (LEAPS) Act would stumble in implementation. The McKnight Foundation convened and Colleen facilitated a group of education practitioners to discuss the specific implementation steps that each legislatively designated group could take to increase the odds that the legislation would be implemented with fidelity. Working with Conor P. Williams, Ph.D., from the New America Foundation, we then co-authored a report about anticipated challenges and potential paths to overcoming those challenges.

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Areas: Education (English Language Learners/Dual Language Learners), Immigrants/Refugees/Diaspora
Project Type: Facilitation, Research and Writing

Minnesota Department of Health

MN Department of Health logoAs part of a team composed of consultants from Grassroots Solutions and Fourth Sector Consulting, we provided technical assistance to communities participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant program. We also authored a report to the CDC that showcases the accomplishments and strategies of six communities that were successful in creating sustainable solutions. A shorter article that summarizes key findings was published in the International County Manager Association’s Public Management Magazine.

Location: Nationwide – Kauai, Hawaii; San Antonio, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Hamilton County, Ohio; Olmsted County, Minnesota; Las Vegas, Nevada
Issue Area: Public Health
Project Type: Research and Writing, Technical Assistance
Collaborators: Grassroots Solutions and Fourth Sector Consulting

Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (Formerly MMEP)

MNeepFormerly known as Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, or MMEP, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership uses a race equity lens to transform educational institutions, organizations and leaders to ensure that students of color and American Indian students achieve full academic and leadership success. We were brought on to help the organization develop a new strategic plan and support its board development. We started by conducting individual interviews and a board survey, then built on those findings throughout four planning meetings in which the entire board devoted itself to making key decisions about organizational priorities. One important decision was to change the organization’s name to better reflect changing times and the true nature of the organization’s work.

Location: Minnesota
Issue Areas: Education, Racial Equity
Project Type: Strategic Planning, Facilitation

Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF)

Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) logoWe were hired by NAF to support their committee through its strategic planning process. Roles in this project include a landscape scan of competitors and peers, interviews with key stakeholders, a staff focus group, and facilitation of committee meetings.

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Areas: Nonprofit Management Services, Financial Services
Project Type: Strategic Planning

Social Enterprise Alliance – Twin Cities Chapter

Social Enterprise Alliance - Twin Cities (SEA TC) logoColleen Ebinger served as part-time contract executive director to the Twin Cities chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance during its start-up phase. Roles and responsibilities included establishing working committees, co-leading board meetings, and serving as a community liaison. Specific project work included research and interviews to support the establishment of the Marketplace, an online platform to help corporate procurement officers increase purchasing from social enterprises.

Location: Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota
Issue Areas: Social Enterprise, Membership Association
Project Type: Start-Up, Project Support

Think Small

Think SmallFounded in 1971, Think Small has become Minnesota’s leading voice for early childhood. As a key organizing force behind the MinneMinds coalition, Think Small hired us to provide strategic communications support to both Think Small and MinneMinds. Our work includes a broad array of communications strategies, as well as research and writing specific to early learning.

Location: Minnesota
Issue Areas: Education (Early Learning), Coalitions
Project Type: Communications, Research and Writing

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) logoIn support of Fourth Sector Consulting and Pyramid Communications, we have provided communications capacity for the foundation in all of its New Mexico place-based work; offered communications technical assistance and training to New Mexico grantees; facilitated grantee meetings; and tracked the state’s news and policy developments in a weekly email update that is read by foundation leadership and partner communications agencies.

Location: headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan – project focus on New Mexico
Issue Areas: Education, Food Systems, Philanthropy, Public Health, Racial Equity
Project Type: Technical Assistance, Marketing and Communications
Collaborators: Fourth Sector Consulting and Pyramid Communications