At Elemental Partners, we seek clients who, like us, work in a spirit of community, collaboration and cooperation to serve the best interests of all. Here are some featured case studies that demonstrate how we have supported our clients.
Please click on the client’s name to access the case study or scroll down to read all of them:
- Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation – Strategic Planning
- Center for Diversity and the Environment – Facilitating Community Forums
- Japanese Community Youth Council – Values Integration
- YouthCare – Strengthening Cultural and Racial Capacity
- ZeroDivide – Leadership Fellowship Program
Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation – Strategic Planning
Headquartered in Oakland, CA with offices in Zimbabwe and China, Pangaea works with partners around the world to implement sustainable, comprehensive and evidence-informed HIV related programs through technical cooperation, research, policy and advocacy. Having established its independent status from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Pangaea’s new board and executive director turned to Elemental Partners to facilitate a strategic planning process.
Elemental Partners conducted a comprehensive organizational assessment of Pangaea’s programs, finance and administrative systems, fundraising, branding/communications and leadership capacities. Key stakeholder focus groups, surveys and interviews were concurrently conducted. Data was presented at a 2-day retreat where the board and staff determined the mission, vision, values statements and strategic priorities. The Elemental Partners team then worked with the staff to develop short- and long-term goals and objectives. An executive summary of the strategic plan, along with an annual workplan, was approved by the Board of Directors.
Pangaea used the strategic plan as a blueprint to launch their new program initiatives and branding. The CEO’s reports and budgets are aligned with the strategic priorities so the board can easily measure progress. Fund development efforts were focused and the budget increased by $1.8 million over two years. Staffing increased worldwide and Pangaea is on target to becoming the world’s leading contributor, convener and partner in defining an effective, efficient and long-term response to the AIDS crisis.
“Having worked on numerous strategic plans in the past, I found that Elemental Partners’ work on sharpening our strategic focus and facilitating the work of the board and the staff was spot on. The strategic plan that resulted has become the central focus of our work and management’s reporting to the board.”
~ Eric Roberts– Board Chair ~ Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation
Center for Diversity and the Environment – Facilitating Community Forums
Based in Portland, OR, the mission of The Center for Diversity & the Environment (CDE) is to racially and ethnically diversify the U.S. environmental movement by developing leaders, diversifying institutions, and building community. As a new organization, CDE wanted to first expand awareness among the mainstream environmental/ conservation groups and the largely minority-run social justice/ environmental justice groups, with the hopes of building greater understanding and partnerships.
Elemental Partners worked closely with the board and staff to design a series of three community forums to provide participants a space to learn, grow, build relationships, and to organically find solutions to their specific diversity issues. Because there had been some historical challenges between the environmental conservation groups and the environmental justice groups, the forums had to be carefully crafted and facilitated.
The first forum challenged assumptions and moved participants toward a deeper understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion; the second forum allowed the people of color to redefine terms largely used by the environmental movement in order to talk about the issues with their own communities; and the third forum focused on building partnerships.
Over 200 environmental and social justice leaders participated in the forums representing over 100 institutions including: The Trust for Public Land; REI; African American Outdoor Association; and the Farm Worker’s Ministry. In a follow-up survey, all of the participants reported taking some type of action toward diversity and inclusion within their organizations. The Environmental Professionals of Color network doubled to over 100 members, and unlikely partnerships were developed as a result of the relationships built among communities of color and the environmental community. The Center for Diversity and the Environment secured additional funding and has firmly established itself as a major and respected player in the movement.
“The forum was AMAZING. The tools and follow up materials have been incredibly helpful, and I have already begun sharing the fruits of this forum with folks in my position across the country. We will be meeting with our HQ partners to discuss our various efforts to address diversity in our markets; this particular forum was the most successful effort thus far, supported by REI in terms of follow up and next steps.”
~ Michelle Emmons, REI
Japanese Community Youth Council – Values Integration
Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC) is a 40-year old organization serving over 8,000 children and youth annually from all ethnic backgrounds in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the past five years, the staff doubled in size to over 100 people. With such rapid expansion, the leadership was concerned that the organization was losing touch with its founding principles and values. JCYC approached Elemental Partners to develop and integrate a values-based philosophy and approach throughout the organization that both reflected the historical roots and current culture and needs of the communities they serve.
Elemental Partners first worked with the board and staff to develop an organizational values statement. They then met with each of the ten programs to see how these values were currently reflected in their day-to-day activities, as well as brainstorm how the values can be further integrated. They worked closely with the board and management to insure that the organization’s policies and practices reflect the values. Finally, they formed cross-functional teams focused on each of the six values to develop activities and campaigns to integrate the values throughout the organization.
After two years, JCYC board and staff have fully embraced and integrated their values. Upon entering their new facility, each of their values is proudly displayed on posters in their foyer. The cross-functional teams have mounted activities and campaigns such as: developing a comprehensive composting and recycling program (promoting integrity); creating mentorships between their programs serving older youth and the preschools (promoting community); and coordinating organization-wide food and clothing drives (promoting compassion). Staff evaluations now have a values-based review component, and the organization now only purchases from socially responsible vendors.
“Rapidly expanding organizations would be wise to utilize Elemental Parnters’ experience to clarify what the core values are for their group. This process will significantly help evolving organizations to manage growth and stay focused and moving in a productive direction.”
~ Jon Osaki – Executive Director ~ Japanese Community Youth Council
YouthCare – Strengthening Cultural and Racial Capacity
For 40 years, YouthCare has been a leader in providing effective services to Seattle’s homeless youth. The staff of 160 provide a continuum of care that includes outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education, and employment training in ten locations. As part of fulfilling their strategic goal in building cultural proficiency, YouthCare engaged Elemental Partners to facilitate a nine-month process to raise awareness and develop healthier practices in regard to issues of race and ethnicity.
Elemental Partners conducted a listening campaign among the residences, departments and programs to ascertain both the universal and unique issues around race that arise in each subculture. Then they developed and presented a four-option process to engage the staff in their programs and departments. Staff could choose any one or all of the options, depending on their needs. The Elemental Partners team paid particular attention to healing and transforming old wounds and stories, while developing new practices toward a more culturally proficient organization.
With the support of Elemental Partners, YouthCare has created an environment that fosters deeper understanding among their staff to nurture connections that go beyond general assumptions and labels. By applying practices in incremental steps over time, people have experienced transformation in themselves and within the greater organizational culture.
“Elemental Partners’ ability turn challenges into opportunities for growth is truly amazing. They remain calm and keep everyone else calm so that you can work to address those challenges.”
~ Melinda Giovengo, PhD – Executive Director ~ YouthCare
ZeroDivide – Leadership Fellowship Program
Since its inception in 1998, ZeroDivide, a community technology foundation based in San Francisco, has invested more than $45 million in primarily underserved communities in California. One of the signature initiatives of the foundation is the ZeroDivide Fellowship. The intended goals of the fellowship were to: build a community technology movement and cultivate a network of diverse community leaders that benefits and improves the quality of life for underserved communities. ZeroDivide asked Kevin to serve as the lead consultant for the Fellowship program.
Elemental Partners worked with the staff to design a three-year fellowship program that consisted of four intensive seminars, a strategic impact project, and a mentoring component. They were also personally involved in the selection of the fellows. Often referred to as “the glue” of the program, Elemental Partners acted as lead facilitator throughout the orientation sessions, each of the intensive seminars and the graduation sessions for all three ZeroDivide classes, a period spanning from 2002-2010.
Altogether, 45 outstanding community leaders completed the ZeroDivide Fellowship, continuing to do good work in their communities and maintain close working relationships and friendships with each other. A number of fellows and their programs have been recognized both statewide and nationally. Tessie Guillermo, CEO of ZeroDivide states, “The ZeroDivide Fellowship is at the heart of our mission to effect social change in our communities. We are proud of the ZFellows and are excited to support this network of advocates as they work to advance our Foundation’s mission to achieve a ZeroDivide – socially, economically, and culturally.”
“I can’t express how much Kevin’s realness set the tone of this fellowship. His sincerity, wisdom and skill enabled us to build a tight community, and he led us all to a higher level.”
~ Leonard “Mac” McNeil ~ Mayor of San Pablo, CA, ZeroDivide Fellow – Class I