A 100-year old urban multi-service ministry doubles in size and scope, supported by a stronger professional organization aligned under one strategic umbrella.

The Salvation Army’s Memphis Area Command (MAC) has provided for the spiritual and concrete physical needs of children and families for over 100 years. In 2000, MAC opened the Purdue Center of Hope, its first program and shelter expansion to permanent facilities. Fifteen years later, the MAC was the largest provider of shelter and services to homeless women and children in Memphis. In 2013, it took another leap, after raising $25 million in local funds, it opened the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, a 100,000-square-foot recreation, education, worship and arts center located at the nexus of three extremely diverse neighborhoods. The Kroc Center doubled the MAC’s programs and budgets, establishing a community landmark and attracting an entirely new audience for the MAC’s services. Shortly thereafter, the MAC Advisory Board engaged Consilience Group (CG) to facilitate a strategic roadmap to integrate its new services under one strategic umbrella grounded in its mission of “sharing God’s love by serving others”.

CG engaged staff, volunteers, Advisory Board members and community stakeholders in a thorough organization and program opportunity assessment. Guided by these findings, the MAC staff and Advisory Board participated in strategy and design workshops to create a strategic framework and detailed work plans that aligned area-wide Salvation Army programs in a “One Army” approach and built a stronger professional organization to grow and sustain these strategic initiatives.

Impact

CG’s participatory process inspired greater internal collaboration and mobilized both MAC Advisory Board members and staff to align diverse programs and streamline administrative functions. The planning process gave Advisory Board members new opportunities and motivation to engage. Today, Board-led work teams meet regularly to drive plan implementation. From a program standpoint, the MAC has launched efforts to wrap a full set of services around all clients, regardless of where they enter the organization. Its first step has been to enhance its Angel Tree program by connecting families receiving holiday gifts with resources to support educational goals and other life needs.