For more than 30 years, the Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Foundation has served the community within the geographic boundaries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Knott family members recommend grants for Catholic activities, education, arts and humanities, health care and social services. With younger generations becoming more involved in this family legacy of giving, the Knotts decided to do something unusual for a family foundation: they created a comprehensive strategic plan.
Managance was called upon to help facilitate the plan, which was the first of its kind for the Foundation.
“We had an internal plan for several years, but with younger trustees coming on board, we needed to revisit that,” said Foundation Executive Director Greg Cantori. “We realized that an internal plan wasn’t enough for us. We wanted a strategic plan because we wanted to see the big picture. We wanted to take a look at our world, and we wanted to know where we stand in it.”
Greg credits Managance both for its experience in serving socially responsible organizations, and for its team approach during the facilitation process.
“We all knew this was a very unique undertaking for a family foundation, but Managance has such a great way of working with people. It allowed for a different pace, and a very healthy exchange of thoughts and ideas, during our retreats,” Greg said.
Greg also praises Managance for its flexibility.
“We wanted to do a lot of this work in-house, and they had no problem with that,” he said. “They provided us with the guidance and materials we needed, and they let us continue our own process from there. They really wanted what was best for us.”
Thanks to the strategic plan, Greg said the Foundation now has “a very clear set of goals and objectives. There’s also accountability, because the plan includes a year-by-year timeline to make sure that our objectives are being carried out when they should be.”
Greg said that while strategic planning is “a whole new field” for family foundations, he hopes other families will consider it – and he highly recommends Managance to assist them.
“When the Foundation grants money to an organization, we certainly expect them to be accountable. Now, we’ve got a strategic plan that shows them we’re accountable as well,” Greg said. “Our focus is much clearer now, and Managance helped us immensely every step of the way.”