Skagit Valley Hospital

Client Success Story

Stroum Jewish Community Center

Mercer Island, Washington
Stroum Jewish Community Center

Brittney Bollay

For more than 60 years, “The J” has been beloved throughout the larger community for its outstanding programs and spaces that welcome everyone to learn, grow, and celebrate Jewish life and culture.

The Challenge

In 2013, The J’s future was full of new possibilities: with new statements of vision, mission, and values, and a recently completed auditorium renovation, the organization was poised to expand its cultural and other programs. At the same time, there was much discussion both locally and nationally about providing more opportunities for the Jewish community to come together and engage. With all that potential, and as a highly visible community organization, The J needed expert assistance focusing its strategic priorities moving forward. In September of that year, Collins helped The J launch a strategic planning process to identify its organizational priorities for the next three fiscal year.

The Approach

To ensure a unified, ambitious yet realistic plan that could be successfully implemented, the Strategic Planning Committee included representatives from staff, board, and the community. The six-month process involved a board retreat, five committee meetings, small group work, a staff survey, two member input sessions, and interviews with key stakeholders in the community..

The Results

The resulting plan identifies four desired outcomes—long-term financial stability, community engagement, the Early Childhood School, and facilities—each of which has a critical role to play in supporting The J’s vision, mission, and core values. Following board approval, staff leaders developed an implementation plan to map out how each of the outcomes would be achieved, who would “own” each part of the plan, and what resources are required. Already being utilized, the plan is informing The J’s annual budgeting process as well as individual staff work plans.

I can tell you that the ROI on this whole process was extremely high… I have lots of experience developing strategic plans in nonprofit and for-profit worlds, and I think this process, and Kate [Roosevelt] in particular, is the best I’ve ever experienced. Some strategic plans stay in a drawer and you never refer back to them. This was not the case here.”

Judy Neumann
CEO / STROUM JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER