Operation Better Block
Founded in the 1970s, Operation Better Block (OBB) promotes economic development in Homewood and provides a variety of direct services to Homewood residents and business owners.
As with many community-based organizations, especially those with a long history, the organization has taken on many roles. A shift in focus away from community revitalization to physical development resulted in a lack of clarity surrounding the organization’s values, services, and role in impacting residents’ quality of life. Increased programming caused OBB’s general operations to suffer as resources shifted to meet the new demands. To better understand the needs of the Homewood community and reform programmatic offerings with those needs in mind, OBB partnered with Fourth Economy Consulting to lead the development of an organizational Strategic Plan.
Fourth Economy worked with a Steering Committee made up of OBB’s staff and Board of Directors to identify areas of need and set an engagement strategy to build off a recent Environmental Scan that had recently been completed of the organization and neighborhood. An Advisory Committee was formed and interviews and two community engagement sessions were hosted in the neighborhood. Identifying the tension between neighborhood needs related to housing and organizational capacity for development, Fourth Economy provided a housing-focused data analysis and identified partnership opportunities for OBB.
The resulting three-year plan provided a blueprint for operational stabilization and sustainability with the creation of a short term action plan with attached dates and metrics. Implementation sessions were held with the organization’s staff and Board of Directors to share the plan’s findings and review the short and long-term action items that would be essential to complete to ensure the organization’s ability to continue to carry out its mission.