In fall of 2013, the Jewish Community Relations Council embarked upon a strategic planning process to answer questions that any major community organization must periodically address: What should be its mission and vision? Its goals and strategies for achieving them? Its strengths and weaknesses? The areas and issues it focuses on? Its needs and capabilities for fundraising and financial sustainability? Its image within and beyond its constituent community? Its structure and relationship with other major community organizations?
This document is the result of ten months of diligent work by a task force comprised of a mix of Jewish community leaders who have some current or past connection to JCRC, and others who brought outside perspective to the process. To further ensure the quality and objectivity of the process, a consultant with extensive expertise and experience in strategic planning – NEW/Nonprofit Enterprise at Work, a nonprofit consulting firm based in Ann Arbor – was retained to facilitate the process. Also informing the process was quantitative and qualitative research on JCRC's image, awareness and appreciation of its work, and the alignment of its agenda with current community concerns and needs.
As you will read below, the strategic plan begins with a newly restated vision statement, mission statement and statement of values that together comprise the foundation of JCRC's purpose and direction. Following that is an analysis of the four strategic focus areas the task force defined as the components of JCRC's roadmap to the future: the programmatic work of the agency, its marketing and branding, its financial sustainability and its organizational capacity. Within each focus area, actions and "sub-actions" delineate specific steps JCRC will take to accomplish its goals and objectives, the lay leaders and professional staff who will serve as champions for those actions, the desired outcome for each action, how those outcomes will be measured, and when those actions will be undertaken or completed.
The final section of the plan sets forth the "strategic filters" through which JCRC programs, projects, events and operations will be screened to ensure that the agency expends its limited resources on its stated priorities and is not distracted by other issues or needs.
Among the plan's most notable initiatives: JCRC will undertake a comprehensive marketing and branding program of the agency, establish a new financial development initiative and culture of philanthropy with the agency, and transform itself from an organization of organizations to a board-managed general membership entity. One change considered at length by the task force but in the end rejected was ending JCRC's independent status and converting the agency into a Federation department. There was a clear consensus among task force members that doing so would not lead to cost savings, and would deprive JCRC of its credibility as the public affairs voice of the Jewish community as a whole.
From the planning process start to finish, the task force and JCRC's lay and staff leaders were committed to producing a plan that would be used by the agency as a guide to action throughout the year and for years to come. We are grateful to the task force members, JCRC officers and staff for their inspired work, and we look forward with keen anticipation to see the plan in action.
Dr. Richard Krugel, Co-Chair Jeannie Weiner, Co-Chair Robert Cohen, Executive Director
Dr. Conrad L. Giles
Hon. Andy Meisner
Nancy Welber Barr
Mary Ellen Gurewitz