Center for Urban Families

How does a well-established nonprofit get its major stakeholders—in this case, its senior team and board—to align around, buy into, and propel forward a revised strategic approach to its work?


Center for Urban Families (CFUF) has traditionally provided parenting and workforce development training to low-income fathers. To deepen its impact, CFUF has broadened its work, developing a new framework that reflects a comprehensive approach to employment, relationships, child rearing, and financial literacy for the entire family. But like other organizations taking their work to the next level, CFUF needed to explain the value of its revised approach and its impact on operations to board members. It also needed to inspire them to take on a larger role as fundraisers and ambassadors, as additional resources would be required for future success.

Project Overview

Root Cause helped CFUF by planning and facilitating an all-day board retreat focusing on the organization’s new strategic direction, its impact on different facets of the organization, and the expanded role board members would need to play—particularly with fundraising.

To prepare for the meeting, Root Cause interviewed multiple stakeholders—including every board member and the CEO—and helped senior leaders create a well-articulated explanation of the framework as the starting point for consensus. Root Cause also reviewed the board’s composition and responsibilities and the organization’s financial picture.


What emerged from the meeting was a unified endorsement by the board members of the direction CFUF is heading, and each member developed a compelling elevator speech to capture the essence of the new framework as they begin their ambassador roles. Consensus was also reached about changes to the board’s size, committee structures, roles and responsibilities (including a new minimum financial commitment), and how additional money will be raised. CFUF’s senior leadership has begun implementing the concrete roadmap created at the meeting.

Relevant expertise and smart problem solving tools.


Workforce Development

This report includes an overview of the social issue, an investment recommendation, information on the return on investment, and ways to take further action. READ MORE

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