Strategy in the Face of Change
In 2014, the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC), the largest nonprofit in Brooklyn, needed a new strategy to adapt to a fast-changing environment. While RBSCC’s name derives from its early work on behalf of senior citizens in Brooklyn, today it is a $100M-plus, multi-program agency providing social services for the community at all stages of life. The agency hired Acceleration Group to develop a comprehensive strategic plan and to facilitate innovation across its programs.
While RBSCC was instrumental in revitalizing Bushwick and creating the thriving neighborhood it is today, it faced an unprecedented set of challenges and opportunities. It needed to expand its impact and adapt to changing conditions while keeping this evolution rooted in its historical commitment to the community.
Achieving Inclusive Economic Development
The stakes were high, since success could mean the difference between gentrification as a displacing force, and inclusive economic development, where wealth was reinvested in the community, improving quality of life for all. RBSCC needed to set a course that would enable disparate segments of the population to participate fully in the benefits of change.
A Powerful Vision and Model
Acceleration Group developed a comprehensive program to enable RBSCC to lead and define the change, rather than simply react to it. We worked with stakeholders throughout the organization to articulate the agency’s core vision of “somewhere to go, someone to become, dignity for our elders.” We then advised the executive team and board in developing a comprehensive program that applied this vision to changing conditions, and set a course to lead the change in the New York City of today.
Capturing Resources Behind the Model
Internally, formerly siloed programs are now integrated, and externally, RBSCC has forged powerful relationships throughout the ecosystem. This has meant identifying and connecting key players, innovating new programs, stimulating cross-program collaboration, and laying the groundwork for diversified funding, All of this has contributed to RBSCC’s articulation, development and proving of a comprehensive model for inclusive economic development.
Our strategy helped RBSCC lead and define the change, identify and connect key partners in the ecosystem to multiply its impact, and open new opportunities for funding. Today, RBSCC is distinguished by collaboration and innovation across its programs. Many social service programs respond to crises without addressing underlying causes; by contrast, RBSCC looks comprehensively at providing the support to allow families and businesses to thrive.
The Conditions for the Community to Thrive
For families, this means stable, affordable housing, sustainable financial and personal health, pathways to meaningful and quality employment and economic advancement, and care for young and the old. For businesses, this means the reinvesting of wealth and developing the local talent pool. RBSCC is leading the way through its environmental and next-generation infrastructure, creating the community of the 21st century and beyond.