Strategic Planning: Thoughts From Our President & CEO
Publication Date: August 17, 2011
By Jeremy Nowak, President & CEO
The Foundation is initiating a strategic
planning process. Like any good planning process, we will use this opportunity
to evaluate progress, consider the impact of changes in the environment,
explore future institutional positioning, and re-set strategy.
The result will be a new framework to guide our allocation
of resources - financial, institutional, and intellectual - to achieve the
public good that animates our charitable purpose. Our Assumptions About Planning
- Good planning is a journey inside to explore the track
record and capacities of our organization and outside to explore new ideas, the
work of high quality practitioners, emerging socio-economic trends, and
comparative philanthropic practices
- Good planning addresses what we do in the future (the
content of our philanthropy) and also how we do it (new roles we might play and
hence the connections among civic, private, and public institutions)
- Long term planning embodies a tension between content specificity
and an appreciation for future uncertainty; we cannot predict the future but we
can create a resilient and flexible platform able to adapt to change
With these assumptions in mind, we embarked on a process in
July 2011 that we hope to conclude by the end of March 2012. As part of this
process, we are inviting participation from a variety of thought leaders and
practitioners to get their best thinking.
The Role of Outside Organizations and Thought Leaders
Our engagement with thought leaders and practitioners will
occur in three primary ways:
- Through forums in September 2011 and October 2011 that cover
the current topic areas within William Penn: 1) arts and culture, 2)
environment and communities, and 3) children, youth, and families.
- Through forums held in November 2011 and December 2011 that examine
cross-cutting issues such as: 1) the use of data and technology for decision
making; 2) innovations within social enterprise; 3) linkages between policy and
practice within philanthropy; and 4) the connections and disconnections between
public, private, and civic spheres.
- Through one-on-one and small group meetings in January 2012
and February 2012 that help us define the content and techniques that emerge
from meetings held during the four previous months.
We hope to get the best ideas and thinking from more than
150 stakeholders and leaders, both locally and nationally. We cannot speak with
everyone but we will do our best to remain open to external conversations and
feedback, whenever possible.
We will also work with existing partners to generate the
data and analytics essential to thoughtful planning. We will make some of this available
on our website as the planning process proceeds.
My colleagues at the Foundation and I encourage you to stay in touch with us and check our website often for updates on our planning progress and information about key decisions.