Focus: HOPE is a mission-driven organization with a 50-year history of achieving substantial impact in Northern Detroit. Founded in response to the 1967 Detroit rebellion, Focus: HOPE has addressed critical issues including racism, poverty, and social injustice through its commitment to recognize the dignity of every person.

The Challenge

Over the past two decades, changes in economic circumstances and funding strained Focus: HOPE’s ability to fulfill its mission. Focus: HOPE’s financial sustainability and its viability were at-risk due to an outsized real estate footprint with high associated debt and operating costs, an over-reliance on unrestricted donative support to cover both direct and indirect expenses, limited earned revenue generation, and legacy challenges including siloed programs and insufficient operating systems.

How We Helped

In May, 2017 Focus: HOPE embarked on an organization-wide restructuring and strategic planning process. As the organization transitioned into an exciting period of new leadership, it engaged Mission Throttle to help stabilize its finances and develop a cohesive, long-term strategic plan.

Our cross-organizational analysis identified critical opportunities to enhance and right-size the organization, including:

  • Strategic disposition of real estate assets and reduction of related overhead costs;
  • Organizational rightsizing to align with funded programming;
  • Enhanced financial discipline, CRM, and impact systems to promote accountability and data-driven decisions; and
  • Integrated and streamlined service offerings to align with core competencies and community needs.

Mission Throttle’s final deliverables for Focus: HOPE included a detailed, organization-wide 3-year strategic plan; a comprehensive plan to eliminate debt and achieve near-term financial stability; and strategic initiatives for growth, scale, and financial stability for each of its five program areas.

Our Impact

As a result of these many initiatives, as of May, 2018, Focus: HOPE projected a 47% improvement in monthly cash shortfalls, and a 57% improvement by January 2019. Other significant improvements include:

  • Adoption of a multigenerational and holistic approach that will create individual and system level change;
  • Creation of a central intake process to gauge participant and community needs, ensure support of an integrated organization wide logic model, and to prioritize program capacity and expansion;
  • Developed multiple earned revenue strategies that leverage market-based opportunities;
  • Developed operational benchmarks/dashboards for leadership, staff and board; and
  • Developed financial reporting to ascertain fully-loaded cost of providing services.

“As Chairpersons of the Focus: HOPE Board of Directors we were presented with a number of significant challenges financially and strategically. Mission Throttle was invaluable in providing services that allowed us to prioritize and address the most critical needs of the organization. Unlike other firms in their space they also provided meaningful analysis and insights in development of a focused sustainable strategy for the future of the organization. They became the true ‘trusted advisor’ to the board of Focus: HOPE.”

— Jay Craig, CEO and President, Meritor