Focus: HOPE develops half-century strategic plan

Working with nonprofit consultancy and investment firm Mission Throttle, Anthony said, Focus: Hope developed a strong strategic plan to assure it can stabilize the benefits of the restructuring process and build a future that is “measurable, impactful and consistent with its mission and new vision of empowerment and education.” While the nonprofit has been focused on programs for many years, Anthony said they also need to look at other issues that affect area residents.

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Mission Throttle Teams with Yad Ezra to Combat Hunger in the Jewish Community

Yad Ezra has selected Mission Throttle to develop an enhanced business strategy that supports its long-term ability to provide kosher food to families in need in Southeast Michigan.

 While federal programs help provide safety nets and other critical assistance to those at risk of hunger, these programs do not reach everyone in need, and food banks remain a critical component of the fight against hunger.  Yad Ezra opened its doors in 1990 to provide food-insecure Jewish families with kosher food that was unavailable through other programs. By distributing groceries to families in need, Yad Ezra works to alleviate some of its clients’ financial burdens. In 1990, Yad Ezra served an average of 250 families monthly; current statistics indicate that it now provides approximately 1,300 impoverished families (almost 3,000 individuals) with food, health care items, and household goods on a monthly basis.

While the problem of hunger in the Jewish community and beyond still remains, Yad Ezra will continue to play a critical role in supporting struggling families. The organization is uniquely positioned to respond to this persistent problem and expand its services to those in need by building on its already successful programs.

Mission Throttle and Yad Ezra will work in partnership to

  • Identify key organizational assets
  • Establish clear goals based on organizational strengths and aspirations
  • Consider market gaps to pursue
  • Determine market demand for its primary service offering and potential additional offerings
  • Identify national best practices for comparable models with potentially marketable revenue streams

 

About Mission Throttle

Mission Throttle is a social impact strategy firm dedicated to accelerating philanthropic innovation in communities. We advise, invest in, and support mission-driven organizations that seek to use market-based strategies to address social and environmental challenges.  We are deeply passionate about our work and believe that merging business solutions and philanthropic values is critical to sustain and scale social impact for those in need.

 About Yad Ezra

Yad Ezra opened its doors in 1990 with the purpose of providing kosher food to needy Jewish families in Southeastern Michigan. The founders of Yad Ezra learned that there were impoverished Jews living in the community who relied heavily on government assistance programs, including food stamps.

Mission Throttle and Detroit Future City Collaborate to Transform Vacant Land in Detroit

Detroit Future City (DFC) has selected Mission Throttle to help assess opportunities to accelerate its Green Stormwater Infrastructure initiative through social enterprise.

There are more than 120,000 vacant lots — comprising 24 square miles— across Detroit.  While vacant land can be found in every neighborhood and has an impact on every resident, 72% of the city’s vacant lots are located in areas of concentrated poverty.  Detroit also has an aging water system that is often overwhelmed by frequent and intense weather events, leading to severe flooding and further damaging quality of life for residents in vulnerable areas. In urban areas, green stormwater infrastructures can reduce flooding and sewer overflows by absorbing large amounts of stormwater, replenishing the groundwater supply, and reducing the use of sewers.

By effectively utilizing open spaces and greenways throughout the city, DFC’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) is uniquely positioned to transform vacant land, and improve quality of life for Detroiters.  While this social enterprise is expected to create an earned revenue strategy for DFC, it will also create a path for Detroit’s environmental sustainability and ultimately, support economic growth. “Detroiters are critical partners in guiding vacant land transformation and assuring that land is an asset that promotes economic, environmental and social quality of life for residents in all neighborhoods” says Anika Goss-Foster, Executive Director, DFC.

Mission Throttle and DFC will work in partnership to determine market demand and capacity for GSI; identify national best practices for community education and GSI implementation that can be deployed in Detroit; and develop a sustainable funding model including earned revenue opportunities that will accelerate GSI adoption throughout the city. “We applaud DFC’s commitment to seeking both financial sustainability for itself and environmental sustainability for our community, and we are eager to collaborate to identify new market-based opportunities for growth” says Susan Gordon, Managing Director of Advisory Services for Mission Throttle.

About Mission Throttle
Mission Throttle is a social impact strategy firm dedicated to accelerating philanthropic innovation in communities. We advise, invest in, and support mission-driven organizations that seek to use market-based strategies to address social and environmental challenges.  We are deeply passionate about our work and believe that merging business solutions and philanthropic values is critical to sustain and scale social impact for those in need.

About Detroit Future City
DFC is a nonprofit charged with catalyzing implementation of the DFC Strategic Framework, a 50-year vision for the City of Detroit developed with input from more than 100,000 Detroiters. Its role is to steward equitable implementation of the recommendations made in the Strategic Framework.  DFC will accomplish this in partnership with residents and public and private stakeholders, and through data-driven strategies that promote the advancement of land use and sustainability, and community and economic development.

 

Women’s business competition EmpowerHER names its winners

Three businesses owned by women have won cash in a “Shark Tank”-style competition dubbed EmpowerHER run by the Michigan Women’s Foundation and underwritten by the Ford Motor Co. Fund. The Ford fund put up the prize money and an additional $90,000 for entrepreneur workshops and training. Motor City STEAM and Women Who Weld of Detroit each won $7,500 in services from Mission Throttle.

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Women social entrepreneurs compete for cash in ‘Shark Tank’-style competition

A dozen women-owned companies seeking investment for their business ideas and startups are vying for a slice of the $50,000 prize money in a pitch competition Wednesday night at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn.

The “Shark Tank”-style competition — dubbed EmpowerHER — is a project run by the Michigan Women’s Foundation and underwritten by the Ford Motor Co. Fund, which put up the prize money and an additional $90,000 for entrepreneur workshops and training. The finalists —  all from metro Detroit, except one from East Lansing — will pitch their ideas  in front of a panel of judges, that include Susan Gordon, managing director at Mission Throttle and Pamela Alexander, the director of community development for the Ford Motor Co. Fund.

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A Holiday Message from our Founder

As the holidays approach, many of us look forward to spending time with loved ones, and to sharing stories and remembrances of the past. Many of us also look to what “can be” going forward and make personal pledges to assist those in need, change our behavior, or enhance our own value to our community. At this time of year, I often ask myself: “Is there a better, more sustainable way to fund social change beyond making  donations?” I encourage you to do the same, and consider increasing your philanthropic engagement by investing in or supporting social enterprises. Why not create a true double bottom-line impact that moves the needle on both community and financial returns? If you are not sure how to do that, there are a myriad of resources available to help, including these guides from our friends at Mission Investors Exchange and The Case Foundation.

I also urge you to consider how recent federal tax reform will affect social impact organizations, and if you are fortunate enough to realize savings from the recently passed tax bill, to invest a portion of those savings in your community.

We hope you will join us in finding new ways to create fulfillment and success for others in the coming year, and we look forward to sharing our learnings and accomplishments  from the past year with you in early 2018.

On behalf of the entire Mission Throttle team, happy holidays and a joyful New Year!

 

 

Phillip Wm. Fisher

Doing our Part to Break the Nonprofit Starvation Cycle

In 2009, Bridgespan Group surfaced a troubling phenomenon in their essay, “The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle.” It distilled the widespread challenges that nonprofits face to function effectively, noting that a vicious cycle starts with “funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much running a nonprofit costs” and results in “nonprofits misrepresenting their costs while skimping on vital systems—acts that feed funders’ skewed beliefs.” The article goes on to note that if the cycle is ever going to be broken, “funders must take the lead.” In our experience, both grantees and funders must work together to break the ‘starvation cycle.’

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At Mission Throttle, we provide both funders and grantees with the necessary tools to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of mission-driven organizations, thereby creating sustainable community impact:

FUNDERS: Mission Throttle partners with funders and their grant partners to develop business strategies that strengthen organizational infrastructure and create op­portunities for financial sustainability, growth and scale.

MISSION-DRIVEN ORGANIZATIONS: Mission Throttle provides a wide range of Advisory Services tailored to help mission-driven organizations achieve sustainable social impact. We use an evidence-based approach to develop creative, market-based strategies.

Stabilization: Due to capacity constraints, many mission-driven organizations are unable to create the neces­sary infrastructure to support long-term strategic growth. Through a range of business analytics, we partner with our clients to create solutions that lead to financial and operational stability.

We assist grantees that:

  • Operate with a structural deficit
  • Lack an outcome tracking framework
  • Lack an integrated service model
  • Have a high concentration of funders

Growth and Scale: Organizations that have diverse revenue streams are more likely to be financially sus­tainable and therefore, achieve greater impact. We assist our clients to leverage their existing program­matic strengths to create financial resilience. We can also work with these clients to develop and imple­ment strategies that unlock new forms of capital and create investment opportunities.

We assist grantees that:

  • Have diversified sources of revenue
  • Have cohesive logic models
  • Understand their programmatic outcomes
  • Have strong leadership and Board of Directors

Mission-driven organizations have tremendous desire and expertise to accelerate the impact of their programs, yet many lack access to sufficient financial and human capital to scale their initiatives. By providing these organizations with the capital and opportunity to access advisory services, both parties can work toward breaking the cycle that prevents sustainable social change.

For more information on how your organization can access tools to better serve the community, contact us at info@missionthrottle.com

Mission Throttle and COTS Collaborate to Break the Cycle of Intergenerational Poverty Among Detroit’s Homeless

Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) has selected Mission Throttle to help it identify new opportunities to increase the financial stability and impact of its programs, and address recent changes in government funding of homelessness programs.

The city of Detroit is experiencing a great revitalization. Young professionals are flocking to the city to live and work; new restaurants and business are opening at a seemingly unprecedented pace; yet homelessness and unemployment remain persistent problems. Detroit is home to nearly 16,000 homeless adults and 3,500 children. While 21 local mission-driven organizations serve the homeless population of Detroit, most are focused on providing emergency shelter instead of addressing the root cause of pervasive social problems.

COTS is undergoing a significant transformation to respond to these pressing social needs, and believes that a holistic approach is critical to solve the problem of intergenerational poverty among the homeless. COTS has adopted a “housing first model,” which prioritizes the importance of stable housing, and is now a national norm with the recent increase in funding and support from HUD. COTS is using  an evidence-based framework called the  Passport to Self-Sufficiency, which addresses the plethora of factors that prevent families from permanently escaping homelessness, including: family stability, healthcare, financial empowerment, education and training, and career development. This approach helps clients remove critical social barriers and achieve long-term sustainability.

“A heart breaking moment for me was witnessing children return as adults with their own families, struggling with the same issues their parents once had,” said Cheryl P. Johnson, CEO, COTS. “We do housing well. But are we really teaching people the skills they need to stay housed? Or further, the necessary life skills to overcome of poverty? Handing over keys isn’t enough. Admitting we have opportunities for growth is everything. It has made the difference between offering emergency shelter and offering a life-changing opportunity. We are a learning organization. Our Passport To Self-Sufficiency successfully shows people how to navigate through life, and how to set a better example for their children to follow as they grow into adulthood.”

Mission Throttle and COTS will work in partnership to identify opportunities to enhance its organizational efficiency and effectiveness, and develop a business model designed to help lift an even greater number of families out of the homelessness all too prevalent in Detroit — ensuring that the children it serves today will not need its services as adults tomorrow.

“COTS’s vision for a future Detroit without homelessness is both radical and rational,” said Susan Gordon, Managing Director of Advisory Services for Mission Throttle. “With a focused business strategy, COTS has the opportunity to create an innovative social enterprise that aligns with its core values, provides capital for scale, and advances its mission to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”

About Mission Throttle

Mission Throttle is a social impact strategy firm dedicated to accelerating philanthropic innovation in communities. We advise, invest in and support mission-driven organizations that seek to use market-based strategies to address social and environmental challenges. We advance the organizational capacity and sustainability of mission-driven organizations through scaling earned revenue and instilling best practices to serve more people in need, increasing community impact and social justice.

 About COTS

Founded in 1982, COTS www.cotsdetroit.org is a private, non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, as well as comprehensive support services for homeless families and the at-risk population. COTS mission is to alleviate homelessness by providing an array of services which enable people to achieve self-sufficiency and obtain quality affordable housing. COTS assists families in reaching their housing, economic, health, education and career goals through coaching, mentorship and support as they strive to overcome homelessness and break the cycle of poverty for the next generation and beyond. COTS also exists to advocate for long-term solutions to the problem of homelessness.