July 1, 2002

Harlem Children's Zone Business Plan

Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) offered many programs. Which ones would ultimately have the greatest impact on its mission? Here we share HCZ's business plan, and its goals for growth and moving the organization forward.

As they grow, many nonprofit organizations struggle with the issue of defining the set of programs they should offer to maximize their impact. Most organizations have at least a broadly defined social mission—for example "create a more just society." But translating broad visions into well-defined strategies is a big and difficult task, and not one that is a natural counterpart to day-to-day management activities. It takes hard analytic thinking about the impact you intend to have, combined with a deep understanding of the underlying economics of your organization, to build and follow through on a strategy that can really make a sustainable difference. Rheedlen Centers for Families and Children was grappling with these very issues when Bridgespan first started working with them. The New York City-based nonprofit was experiencing steady, even dramatic, growth under the leadership of its CEO, Geoffrey Canada, and by all accounts it was extraordinarily successful. Our challenge was to help Canada evaluate the myriad programs Rheedlen offered, sharpen its strategic positioning, and create a solid growth plan and performance measures he and his managers could use to drive the organization forward and attract broad-based, long-term funding.

To read the organization's business plan, please download the PDF version.

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