Our recent strategic planning retreat, held on May 20, 2023, served as a moment of reflection and goal-setting for Gould Farm. We celebrated the remarkable achievements made over the past three years and utilized this momentum to outline a strategic roadmap for the next chapter of our journey. This is a recap of the day and kicks off a months-long process that will conclude with a full strategic plan in Fall 2023.
This blog post highlights our accomplishments, explores the emerging framework of broad goals, and outlines the strategic priorities that will guide us toward continued excellence.
Accomplishments that Pave the Way
Infrastructure: During the past three years, our organization has successfully brought the Rev. Hampton E. Price Community Center to life, initiated the Roadside project, found a solution for the gravel pit challenge, and improved the overall appearance of our facilities and grounds. Additionally, we have taken a significant leap forward by enhancing our internet connectivity through fiber technology, enabling us to better serve our community.
Fiscal Sustainability: Our commitment to financial stability has been unwavering. With a strong development program and professional management of investment funds, we have set the foundation for a future endowment. We have also maintained a consistent census and achieved success with events such as the 5K run, ensuring the continued financial health of our organization.
Staffing: Through consistent leadership and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have overcome numerous challenges. We expanded our marketing and communications efforts by welcoming a new outreach director, updated our employee handbook, and made strides in fostering open dialogue during uncomfortable conversations. These efforts have strengthened our team and improved our organizational culture.
Board/Leadership: We conducted a comprehensive governance evaluation, which led to the expansion of our board with the addition of exceptional new members. Their valuable perspectives and expertise will undoubtedly contribute to our continued success.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: We have actively worked towards equity in compensation, implemented DEI training and education initiatives, and formed a dedicated DEI Committee. Our commitment to inclusivity is evident in our efforts to attract diverse applicants as guests, staff, volunteers, and board members. Collaborating with peer organizations and reducing stigma are key components of our ongoing journey toward greater equity.
Program: We have initiated discussions regarding CARF accreditation, further enhancing our commitment to excellence in our programs. By hiring two part-time RNs, we have strengthened our medical management capabilities. Collaboration between our work program and clinical staff has improved, and we have undertaken sustainability initiatives in our garden and farm. Our REACH wellness program remains vibrant, and our fully operationalized EHR system has revolutionized our clinical practices. We express deep appreciation for our dedicated clinical staff who contribute to our success.
Emerging Framework of Broad Goals
The strategic planning retreat culminated in the identification of broad goals that will shape our organization's direction for the next three years. These goals revolve around key areas, including:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Integration: We aim to integrate DEI principles into all aspects of our organization, fostering inclusivity through policies, practices, and operations. This includes increasing diversity across various dimensions, providing DEI training, reducing stigma, and enhancing outreach efforts to attract a diverse range of applicants (staff and guests).
Talent Development and Succession Planning: Establishing succession planning processes for critical roles, implementing intentional recruitment strategies, focusing on professional development and leadership training, and nurturing a supportive organizational culture will all be instrumental in fostering talent development and ensuring a robust succession pipeline.
Guest Services and Engagement: To enhance guest health and well-being, we aim to strengthen wellness programs and services. Smooth and meaningful community integration will be prioritized through enhanced transition programming, and family engagement will be fostered to support guest recovery. Peer support services will create a supportive community, while outcomes research will enable us to continue to measure (and celebrate) the ongoing effectiveness of the Gould Farm therapeutic program for adults with mental health challenges.
As we continue this exciting journey toward our future, let us remember that our success lies in the strength of our community and the power of shared decision-making. Under the wise leadership of executive director Lisanne Finston, who has been guiding our organization with wisdom and dedication for an impressive 10 years, we will continue to foster fellowship, inclusivity, and excellence in all that we do.
In the journey of recovery and growth, we recognize that change happens not in linear progression but in ever-expanding circles of understanding. Together, we all carry Gould Farm forward, continuously learning and evolving, as we make a lasting and profound impact on the lives we touch.