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Strategic Plan FY23 Extension

Jul 7, 2022

Why an extension?

The NSC Board of Trustees approved a one-year extension to the FY 2020-2022 Strategic Plan in May 2022. The extension was requested due to a number of factors, both internal and external, which impacted the initial plan timeframe. Primary among these factors was the unprecedented disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did the pandemic impact our strategic goals, such opening satellite offices, but it also impacted our very operations for a significant portion of the plan implementation period. During 2020, we pivoted many of our programs and services to provide direct client assistance including food deliveries, rental assistance and other essential supports. The impact of hunger and housing insecurity among NSC clients cannot be understated. More than half of our clients were ineligible for unemployment compensation and the majority received no stimulus or related relief from the federal government. Then in 2021, we took on a leading role in facilitating access to the COVID-19 vaccine for immigrant communities. Even to date, the impact of COVID-19 on our plan extension can be seen as we calibrate a hybrid working environment for staff and clients. The economic impact of the pandemic continues on our clients today with inflation and supply chain challenges affecting each of our lives significantly.

The pandemic also had significant implications on refugee arrivals, suppressing arrivals to the extremely low levels with only 103 arrivals in calendar year 2020. Despite the change in administration in January 2021 and the raising of the refugee ceiling in March 2021, refugee arrivals did not significantly increase in 2021 until the fall of Kabul in August 2021. The U.S. then responded with a historic evacuation effort of over 100,000 Afghans including 70,000 humanitarian parolees to be served by the U.S. refugee resettlement network. This major effort, comparable to U.S. efforts after the fall of Saigon, challenged the nationwide network and NSC to ramp up after years of underutilization. NSC welcomed over 500 evacuees in less than four months, a number which bested our arrivals total for the past four years combined. This challenged our capacity in many ways, with a particular strain on staffing and housing resources, and spurred new service delivery mechanisms and improvements.

Of other note is the revelation that NSC’s founding was actually in 1922, rather than 1921 as had long been held. With this shift and the ongoing pandemic considerations, we shifted our 100th anniversary celebrations to span the 2021-2022 timeframe with our most successful Global Tastes fundraiser ever held in March 2022.

With these multiple considerations, NSC Board and Leadership elected to enact a one-year extension to the existing plan to allow the agency to fully meet the goals outlined in the FY 2020-2022 plan and allow for adequate planning time for the next plan. Below please find a summary of accomplishments to date under the current plan and an outline of goals to be achieved during the extension timeframe.

Summary of Plan Accomplishments and Outcomes

Since the launch of the current plan in June 2019, NSC has grown in many facets of the organization. Our agency budget has increased from $5.7 million to $10.8 million, our staff has expanded and diversified, our programs and partnerships have expanded, and we have turned 100! Our growth trajectory has continued despite the pandemic, and we anticipate continued growth through the
extension year. Below we have highlighted some of the key plan growth areas, accomplishments and outcomes facilitated by the FY 20-22 Strategic Plan.

With the goal of “Make it a Great Place to Work,” we endeavored to deepen our commitment to our most important asset, our staff. Under this focus area, we have added staff across the agency to support growth, compliance and quality programming. This included establishment of an HR Generalist position, a data and compliance team, and a Deputy Director role, also a key part of our succession planning goal. Supported by the efforts of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group, we also saw significant increases in the diversity of our staff with BIPOC identified individuals now accounting for 52% of our staff (up from 34% at plan launch).

Under Strategic Priorities 2, 3, 4 and 5, NSC also realized significant accomplishments under the plan. We launched a new brand, hosted a multitude of anniversary events and launched a successful and ongoing Opportunity Fund campaign. We also increased our utilization of key performance indicators across the agency and established mechanisms for improved services and programs based on client feedback. We renovated our lobby to make our space more engaging for children and families and relocated our food pantry by placing it at the forefront of our service delivery. We were hampered by the pandemic in our goal of opening satellite offices. However, we have moved back into a hybrid working environment at our main office and are excited to launch the Northeast Service Hub in September 2022. Our Interpretation and Translation unit weathered the pandemic as well with expected growth in the translation segment of our work.

Our programs also experienced significant expansions during the plan implementation period. As outlined in Strategic Priorities 6, 7 and 8, we have expanded the client base that we are able to serve, the services we are offering and the partners we are serving with. During the plan period, we expanded our support specifically to youth (from 11 youth at plan launch to 124 in FY 22). We established a food access program, which provided over $111,000 in support to over 790 individuals monthly at the height of the pandemic, and now serves 750 individuals annually. We have diversified our clinical mental health supports, offering tele-therapy services and a range of creative therapies (dance movement, art, music) in addition to traditional therapeutic approaches. In turn, our engagement with these supports has increased 154% over the plan implementation period. Most notably in the area of program expansion, we welcomed 500 Afghan evacuees over the period of just four months, providing temporary and permanent housing, food access support, employment, and a host of other key services.

We also saw a strengthening of key partnerships which furthered our ability to grow and expand our impact. Through the Afghan response, we solidified our long-standing partnerships including with Cradles to Crayons, The Wardrobe, and the Philadelphia Furniture Bank. Strategic partnerships with these organizations and others have allowed us to expand our impact, improve the quality of our service delivery and reduce the cost to deliver services. We also deepened our long-standing relationships with our partnerships in health care (Jefferson, CHOP, Einstein) and established new relationships to fill gaps in services for our clients, such as our partnership with the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry. We also stepped up to fill a needed critical role during the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, coordinating with the City of Philadelphia, smaller immigrant Community Based
Organizations, and immigrant communities to facilitate access to vaccines for immigrants with a particular focus on newcomers and those with limited English proficiency. In total, we facilitated the completion of 1,085 COVID-19 vaccination appointments and continue our work to promote vaccinations for clients we serve.

Extension Goals

Strategic Priority 1: Make It a Great Place to Serve
• Align professional development with performance management plans
• Recalibrate staff cohesion with hybrid return
• Board to lay groundwork for pipeline and growth
• Develop an inclusive approach to procurement to advance NSC’s DEI goals

Strategic Priority 2: Linking NSC's Past, Present, and Future
• Achieve remaining objectives of Year Long Celebration of 100th Anniversary (mural, client 
keepsake, Opportunity Fund, etc.)

Strategic Priority 3: Shifting the Data Paradigm
• Ensure continuous quality assurance
• Synergize competent contract compliance and financial transparency across agency
• Formalize client feedback mechanisms

Strategic Priority 4: Optimizing and Expanding Operations
• Expand services further into collar communities with housing availability and access to jobs 
(ex: Northeast, Bristol, Upper Darby, Norristown)
• Assess and mitigate potential business risk exposure (financial processes, technology)

Strategic Priority 5: Refining Interpretation and Translation
• Develop and implement marketing/sales plan and create training curriculum to increase 
Strategic Priority 6: Creating Sustainable Pathways for Families and Communities
• Cohere all youth programs (4 existing) across departments
• Expand employment and digital literacy services
• Overhaul Education program to focus on instructional quality and student outcomes
• Expand PAIFUP and FIJ

Strategic Priority 7: Expanding Programs into Communities
• Deliver collaborative programming with partners in NE satellite space
• Conduct early feasibility examination into housing alternatives

Strategic Priority 8: Strengthening Strategic Partnerships
• Align advocacy with agency priorities
• Develop stronger referral pathways
• Formalize partnership