Planning for the Future

Environmental Assessment

by Joanne Martin, Board Treasurer (Strategic Planning Committee Co-Chair)

Women’s Housing Coalition is a mature non-profit organization. We have been serving our community for several decades, and have had a significant impact on a number of individuals and families. That said, the world changes. Regulations and approaches to homelessness take new forms. Funding sources develop alternate priorities. And, sometimes, a mature organization needs a jump start, to re-think its purpose, its constituents, and its ability to make the difference to which it aspires.

Being in this position, the WHC Board has undertaken a strategic planning exercise. We want to set our attention on our goals, determine if shifts in public policy and community needs are changing, and set a course for the next stage of our journey. One important step in the strategic planning process is to conduct an environmental assessment.

An environmental assessment is an objective review of the current and anticipated environmental factors that impact our organization. These can include, for example, the political, economic and demographic environment in which we’re operating. We need to consider the regulatory environment, philanthropic and donor trends, and other organizations that are providing similar services or competing for the same funds. The competition need not be a negative. As we explore, we might find that another group is doing something complementary and that we can build on each other’s work.

To conduct the assessment, members of the Board have interviewed a variety of stakeholders including residents, staff, Board members, funding organizations, partner and similar entities, community organizations, and other interested parties. The information from the interviews will be analyzed and used by the Board to determine where we should be pointing and, hopefully, how to get there.

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