La Piana Consulting // November 28, 2018 12:17
In this new client case study, we highlight the 2015 strategic restructuring of The HOPE Program (HOPE) and Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), whose parent-subsidiary partnership has strengthened the delivery of job training and career retention programs in New York City.
Incorporating interviews with both executive directors and a key funder, this easy-to-digest writeup offers takeaways from three key perspectives:
1) For Growth-Ready Organizations
The HOPE Program knew it wanted to expand both its offerings and its reach. One question it faced was the classic “build or buy” dilemma: whether to build its own programs from scratch, or to partner with an organization that had a ready-made line of business and constituency. Had the opportunity with SSBx not presented itself at the right time, HOPE might not have sought out a partnership, but weighing its options, it saw the benefit of adding SSBx’s strengths to its own rather than essentially taking on a brand-new start-up effort. Takeaway: Partnerships can be an effective and resource-efficient way to add new program capacity, expertise, and/or geographic reach.
2) For Organizations Seeking Sustainability
SSBx was proactive in seeking out partnership opportunities after having taken a range of reasonable measures to sustain itself on its own. Knowing it did not have the financial resources to make strategic investments in its core work, it opened itself to a strategic restructuring opportunity at the right time: while it was still in a position to offer a value proposition to a prospective partner. Had it not put a potential partnership on the table, its situation could have deteriorated to a point where it would no longer have been an attractive partner. Takeaway: Partnerships to sustain core programs are not a sign of failure—just don’t wait until it is too late.
3) For Funders Committed to Mission Achievement
HOPE and SSBx shared a key funder in Robin Hood, New York City’s largest poverty-fighting foundation. By engaging this funder-partner early on, and with a clear plan for exploring and affecting a partnership that would advance their complementary missions, HOPE and SSBx garnered significant support for their transition to a parent-subsidiary structure. With this important signal of funder confidence and buy-in, the partnership was able to launch on solid footing and has subsequently attracted significant additional funding, including from public sources. Takeaway: Funders can be a critical champion of partnership efforts that have a “one plus one equals three” level of impact greater than simply the sum of the parts.
Read more detail about how this partnership to combat poverty came together and launched effectively in this downloadable PDF, and share it with your colleagues, board members, and funders.