As its name clearly implies, The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) does indeed build and sustain strong communities, where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential. Striving for economic diversity in housing for families and seniors, TCB believes that neighborhoods are stronger when people of all incomes call them “home.”
From its beginnings in 1964, renovating abandoned apartments in Boston’s South End, TCB is now one of the largest and most accomplished nonprofit development corporations in the United States. With active projects in the Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, TCB has grown to become an organization with 500 employees across 14 states and Washington, D.C.
Like many organizations, TCB realized that growth brings changes that require thorough planning. In 2010 TCB welcomed a new CEO, after its longtime leader—who helped found the organization—retired. While a strategic plan was in place, it was more than 10 years old. In 2013, TCB found itself at a crucial turning point. With new leadership, and with the realization that the nonprofit landscape had changed considerably in the past decade, TCB knew it was time for a new strategic plan. They chose Managance Consulting & Coaching to guide them through the process.
“We selected Managance because they were willing to blend their strategic planning approach together with what worked best for our organization,” said TCB Chief of Staff Sean Caron. “Some companies approach strategic planning with a more rigid philosophy. Managance went beyond showing us that they were strategic planning experts. They also showed us that they understood our unique needs.”
The process itself was an enormous effort, with Managance Consulting & Coaching facilitating the input of hundreds of employees across 14 states and the District of Columbia. Yet Caron said that, by working hard to gain the trust of TCB’s staff and Board members, and by asking the right questions at the right time, Managance created a process where everyone felt comfortable in their ability to contribute to TCB’s strategic thinking.
“Denice’s [Managance President Denice R. Hinden] organizational skills were extraordinary, and her style and approach created a lot of trust throughout our organization. She would test us on assumptions we would make about our field, and ask us questions that were both basic and tough. She helped us to see that things that might have worked for us in the past may not necessarily work going forward,” Sean said.
Managance Consulting & Coaching blended that input with its own expertise, and guided TCB in crafting a new strategic plan that included:
The completed plan, which will guide TCB through 2018, was enthusiastically adopted by its Board in November, 2013. TCB is already using it, and has even placed it front and center on its website. www.tcbinc.org
With the new plan as its framework, TCB will deepen its presence in Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northeast neighborhoods, and will focus on places that have effective government, a desire for local residents and businesses to benefit from economic revitalization, and a welcoming attitude about residents of all incomes. TCB will also expand its residential focus by pursuing non-residential and mixed-use property objectives, such as bringing quality schools, grocery stores and health centers to the neighborhoods that it serves. To do that, they will seek to work and learn from diverse partners, including commercial developers.
CEO Bart Mitchell said, “Managance’s work to help us understand the changing external environment in which we operate was critical in helping us plan for the challenges before us tomorrow, not just today.”
Sean said that TCB has already seen solid and positive results, thanks to the plan.
“Now that we have created more clarity about the kind of investments we want to make, our staff is much clearer about what we are looking for. That clarity is because of the process that Managance created,” Sean said.
Yet that’s not the only reason Sean recommends Managance Consulting & Coaching.
“To me, it’s their unbelievable commitment to their clients that makes all the difference. So many times, they would be available nights and weekends. They were right there for us whenever we needed them to be there. When you’re going through something as important as a planning process, you want to have people who understand your mission completely and clearly. Managance understood what we were all about. That’s why I recommend them, and that’s why I have recommended them.”