Our health care system is undergoing profound changes. Nationally, the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect and New York State is redesigning its Medicaid program. All this affects health and human services organizations in western and central New York ‒ and the people they serve.
The shifting economic and regulatory environment over the last few years has made it hard for organizations in our region to keep up with the changes, let alone get ahead of the curve and prepare for what’s coming.
To help organizations get ready for the future, the Foundation offers a program that gives them the financial and expert assistance they need to get some breathing room and be strategic, rather than reactive to industry changes.
Ready or Not, Here it Comes: Preparing for Success in Rapidly Changing Times helps organizations that serve the Foundation’s target populations strengthen their core competencies and ensure their financial sustainability.
Ready or Not organizations receive capacity-building grants to strengthen the four “table legs” that support their mission: management, governance, financial resources and administrative systems.
After all, more effective organizations are better positioned to improve the health of vulnerable older adults and young children impacted by poverty.
All Ready or Not grantees in the first cohort could point to significant achievements in capacity building, including greater financial strength, new business and service opportunities, improved management and administrative systems and better governance.
All grantees in the first cohort who finished the program met all the capacity-building milestones they set for themselves. For example:
- Ardent Solutions completed a name change (formerly Allegany/Western Steuben Rural Health Network) and increased its focus on branding and marketing, launching a new website. After completing Ready or Not, Ardent grew its annual revenue by 13% and diversified its funding.
- Erie County Department of Senior Services added a wellness and nutrition unit, developed and negotiated a ground-breaking model for integrated older adult health care and social services, helping to launch a western New York Integrated Care Collaborative. The department increased the number of services it provides by 21% and grew its revenue streams, with an eight-fold increase in revenue in 2014.
- Rural Health Council of Madison County entered Ready or Not as a non-profit startup. “We went from an idea to a thriving organization. We formed, created bylaws, a 17 member Board, and grew to a stable organization,” staff said. The health council doubled its board members, grew its revenue sources from zero to six and went from zero revenue to $260,000 in a year.
In our second cohort, our grantee partners reported:
- The Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York chapter merged with the national organization, creating an opportunity for the local chapter to strengthen its internal management and governance structures. The agency also took steps to improve its data collection processes.
- AURORA aligned with a larger local human service organization, which strengthened the services it offered to its clients while streamlining administrative efficiencies, putting the organization in a better place to demonstrate stronger outcomes.
- Herkimer County HealthNet strengthened its governance, improved internal financial controls, enhanced its resource development plan, explored fee-for service opportunities, evaluated and identified strategic partnerships that have increased its programmatic reach throughout the county.
- P. E.A.C.E., Inc. completed a facilities assessment and a communications audit, which prompted the agency to change several internal processes. P.E.A.C.E also evaluated its practices in the areas of human resources, professional and leadership development, resource development and performance management, which helped the agency plan better and show outcomes.
- Salvation Army restructured its Social Day program to meet client needs through better program delivery, and also assessed its billing infrastructure and data collection to truly understand its value in the marketplace.
- Visiting Nurses Service of Ithaca and Tompkins County completed a strategic plan and is capitalizing on the strategic opportunities that it identified through the planning process, which has resulted in improved staff retention and increased customer satisfaction.
All organizations who participate in capacity building projects find that there are challenges throughout the process, and our grantees are no different. Their commitment to overcoming those challenges showed that they can learn, initiate, lead and build the capacity of their organizations to be ready for the new health and human service marketplace.
Our last cohort of Ready or Not grantees will complete their projects in early 2017.