Strategic Plan

In August of 2012, the Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP) initiated a strategic planning process to identify and establish priorities that will guide the development and utilization of human and financial resources toward greater customer and community impact during the next three years. This document presents ACAP’s affirmation of its mission, a new vision for the organization’s future, and nine goals to drive the organization’s impact on individuals and families, the community, and the organization’s capacity as a service provider, advocate, employer, business operation and community partner. The plan provides a framework for board and staff accountability and communication around a set of shared commitments, and a base from which to respond to anticipated and unanticipated challenges and opportunities.

This document presents ACAP’s affirmation of its mission, a new vision for the organization’s future, and nine goals to drive the organization’s impact on individuals and families, the community, and the organization’s capacity as a service provider, advocate, employer, business operation and community partner. The plan provides a framework for board and staff accountability and communication around a set of shared commitments, and a base from which to respond to anticipated and unanticipated challenges and opportunities.

ACAP has, during the past two years, generated assessment data from multiple sources to gain a comprehensive picture of the Albany County community’s needs and the organization’s capacity to respond. This plan’s goals are informed, in part, by:

1. NICQUA Assessment, a comprehensive internal scan conducted by outside assessors.

2. NYS Community Action Association Needs Assessment Tool, a compilation of census and social indicator data

3. Comprehensive Community Needs Assessment conducted jointly with Siena Research Institute

4. CORE Review conducted by the NYS Department of State, Division of Community Services.

In addition, the Board of Directors participated in a written self-assessment in November, and reviewed the aggregated results to inform governance goals, and a focus group discussion was held with program managers in December, the results of which contributed to both program and administrative goals. The senior management staff met with the consultant and/or the committee on four occasions to review and discuss priorities and their implications as the plan was developed. The full Board was invited to participate in two half day planning sessions, one of which also included senior management staff. Regular updates on the process were shared at each board meeting by the committee chair, board president, or planning consultant.

ACAP’s two previous strategic plans focused primarily on stabilizing and improving program and organizational infrastructure. Their successful implementation resulted in updated fiscal systems and improved oversight of fiscal viability, an expanded program scope and revenues, a re-organization of internal management structures and communication, and updated governance and management policies. As these changes took place, the organization also established an increasingly visible and respected presence as a leader and partner in the local community and within the larger network of Community Action Agencies.

From this growth and visibility, new opportunities for service integration, strategic alliances, capital projects and collaborative community development initiatives have emerged. The agency is positioned to build on its partnerships, refine its programs and focus its resources more strategically to create and track progress in its work with customers and the wider community. At the same time, funding sources traditional to Community Action – notably Weatherization Assistance, Head Start and the Community Services Block Grant - have been threatened and/or cut in the federal budget and sequestration processes. Related changes in funding levels and contracting processes at the state level have further challenged the ability of all CAA’s to respond to customer and community needs without disruption.

The Board of Directors and Senior Management Staff, early in the planning process, noted the need to address these organizational priorities:

1. The centralized and in-depth assessment of customer needs across all programs, driving more responsive service delivery and providing outcome data that will contribute to customer, program, agency and community momentum.

2. A more focused governance-management partnership based on clearly established organizational priorities and a shared understanding of role distinctions and their practical application in committee function, management reporting and governance/operational decision-making.

3. The internal capacity to gather, analyze and respond to data that support a sustainable business model and provide a basis for informed and timely corporate decision-making, particularly with regard to strategic corporate alliances and to ACAP’s role in collaborative community development initiatives.

4. An active board presence in fund development, engaging individual donors, community groups and other supporters, and generating reliable financial and in-kind support.

The following unmet community needs have also been identified, from the data sources noted above, as priorities for ACAP’s attention, as refinements to existing programs, new program development, and/or collaborations with other organizations:

1. Expanded early childhood services, as both a child development and workforce issue.

2. Parent support, including the early identification of the need for support and the availability of options.

3. Community development, including efforts to improve conditions and engage the communities in which ACAP offers services.

4. Safe and affordable housing options, through collaborations with housing providers, landlords and other organizations, to help people establish and maintain stable homes.

5. Closer connections with other providers of complementary services, particularly those that support individual and family assets or address needs in any of the following ten dimensions: childcare, transportation, employment and employment retention, housing, adult education, income, finance, nutrition and energy.

6. Greater volunteer and community involvement, including closer and more informed relationships with customers.

7. An ongoing focus on employability and workforce development to help customers achieve greater economic stability, self-sufficiency and asset development.

8. The ability to provide access to emergency services, directly or through collaborations, that help people through crisis and toward greater stability.

Mission

The mission statement has been reviewed and affirmed as follows: ACAP works in partnership with families and communities to empower people to achieve economic self-sufficiency and an improved quality of life.

Vision for the Future

The Albany Community Action Partnership will be known as:
1. A trusted and reliable partner in our customer and community relationships.

2. A transparent business operation, demonstrating continual improvement in the skills, systems and teamwork that create change.

3. A good neighbor, investing human and financial resources in the communities around us.

4. A leading advocate, naming and breaking down societal barriers to economic self-sufficiency.

5. An innovator and collaborator, allied with other organizations that seek creative, intentional solutions to longtime challenges and changing community needs.


Goals

1. ACAP will coordinate intake, assessment, service delivery, evaluation systems and staffing roles within existing programs to help individuals and families achieve stability and work toward their goals. (Program, Impact on Individuals/Families)


2. ACAP will strengthen its linkages with community resources to improve customer access to formal and informal services and supports. (Program, Impact on the Community)


3. ACAP staff will gain competencies and process skills that support new and existing service approaches, business planning and monitoring systems, and community partnerships. (Program, Impact on Agency Capacity)


4. ACAP will implement a centralized information system that supports coordinated service delivery with data that informs management decision-making, quality improvement and new program development. (Administration, Impact on Individuals/Families)


5. ACAP will form strategic administrative partnerships to address recognized service system barriers and improve community conditions. (Administration, Impact on the Community)


6. ACAP will continually improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of its facilities, services and business systems by creating and responding to opportunities that advance our mission and goals. (Administration, Impact on Agency Capacity)


7. ACAP’s Program Committee will assure a board role in program planning and evaluation that meets regulatory requirements, respects the distinct roles of board and staff members, and supports governance level decision-making. (Governance, Impact on Individuals/Families)


8. ACAP will strengthen its tri-partite structure, developing a diverse group with a shared focus on the Board’s role in advancing ACAP’s advocacy, resource development and community reputation. (Governance, Impact on the Community)


9. ACAP will improve its governance practices, assuring legal and regulatory compliance, making effective use of all human and financial resources, and developing innovative corporate responses to changing community needs. (Governance, Impact on Agency Capacity)
 
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