Strategic Plan 2018-2021

Planning Process

In September 2017, the Board of Directors of Join Hands approved a strategic planning process to guide future program development and fundraising. A volunteer with experience in planning worked with the Executive Director and Development Director to facilitate the process. Six stakeholder focus groups were held with: Family Mentoring mothers, staff, teens, two sets of volunteers (including some Board members), and local area residents who regularly visit the Ubuntu Center. Community partners were also surveyed.

The Join Hands Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021 was approved by the Board of Directors at its meeting on December 2, 2017.

Goals for 2018 – 2021

Girls and Boys Clubs/Youth Programs

Goal: To build relationships, increase self-esteem, and broaden the horizons of children ages 8 to12 in two public housing projects in East St. Louis


  • To continue to provide recreational, educational, and athletic activities to about 70 children
  • To maintain the current volunteer to child ratio of 3:1 for activities and outings
  • To retain current volunteers and add new volunteers
  • To increase staff capacity to coordinate youth programming


  • Add additional children to the programs from the waiting lists as openings become available
  • Recruit additional volunteers through current volunteers, Young Professionals Board, faith based organizations, and other resources
  • Identify new opportunities for week-end outings in the metro-east and St. Louis areas
  • Develop a written volunteer manual for Girls and Boys Clubs to orient new volunteers and as a resource for all volunteers

The Dream Path Program

Goal: To empower East St. Louis families with children to fulfill their dreams of graduating from college and escaping poverty

Teen Mentoring Objectives:

  • To enable teenagers from low-income families in East St. Louis to achieve their academic and career goals
  • To continue to provide individual mentoring and group activities to about 50 teenagers (from Family Mentoring families, teens who aged out of Girls and Boys Club, and Griffin Center teens)
  • To increase access to high quality education by providing scholarships or other access to private schools for teens
  • To provide programming that addresses the unique needs of teenagers
  • To increase the number of male mentors to meet current need
  • To increase the number of mentors as more teens are added to the Dream Path Program
  • To enable every teenager who wants to go to college or pursue post-secondary education to do so
  • To increase staff capacity to manage teen programs and meet their needs

Family Mentoring Objectives:

  • To provide whole family mentoring to achieve children’s academic success to the 30 families (and 100 children) currently in the Family Mentoring Program
  • To work with parents on achieving their own education and career goals
  • To increase the types of services available to parents in the Family Mentoring Program to help them achieve their career goals
  • To provide access to quality education by providing scholarships to private school for children of Family Mentoring families through the Alternative Education Program
  • To improve academic performance by continuing to provide education advocacy services to all children in our programs whose parents consent
  • To increase the number of families in the Family Mentoring Program
  • To increase our capacity to coordinate and manage these programs and add more families and teens


  • Obtain additional training for staff and volunteers on working with teens and develop teen-specific programming
  • Develop a written manual for volunteers working with teens and families
  • Recruit 10 new male mentors in the first year by working with current volunteers, the Board, the Young Professionals’ Board, and local faith based organizations
  • In the first year, identify and recruit an intern from academic or other resource to assist with the Dream Path Program
  • Add families to the Dream Path Program over the next three years (as staff and volunteer capacity permits), by giving priority to parents of children currently in Girls or Boys Club
  • Recruit and train additional family and teen mentors as needed to add more families
  • Raise additional funding for Alternative Education Program or identify other ways to obtain private school scholarships for children and teens in the Dream Path
  • By the end of year one, add a full-time staff position of Dream Path Director to manage the Dream Path programs
  • In year two, add a second full-time staff position for Teen Mentoring Program Coordinator

The Ubuntu Center for Peace

Goal: To walk with the people of the East St. Louis community we serve and to bring light, love, and hope to all who come through our doors.


  • To provide an oasis of peace
  • To be open and welcoming to local residents
  • To continue to provide access for residents of the community from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays
  • To provide a site for Join Hands programs
  • To provide organizing activities and advocacy on issues impacting the local community and on broader justice issues


  • Offer regular yoga, meditation, and mornings of reflection
  • Increase public hours and programming for residents as staff and funding permits
  • Work with the Ubuntu Movement Sub-Committee to identify issues and ways to address community and racial justice issues
  • Collaborate with other local organizations on Ubuntu Center racial and economic justice priorities

Organizational Capacity and Resource Development

Goal: To increase Join Hands’ capacity to maintain current programs and expand the Dream Path Program


  • Expand staff capacity to meet current needs and to add families
  • Increase fundraising capacity through expansion of the Executive Fundraising Board
  • Engage in Board development and begin discussion on Board transformation and diversification to meet organizational needs
  • Secure Join Hands’ long term financial stability by raising sufficient funds to maintain reserves of 25% of the annual operating budget
  • Secure additional funding sufficient to increase salaries of current paid part-time staff to a ‘living wage’ in year one; to increase their hours to full time; to increase the salary of the Executive Director to be commensurate with similar not-for-profits; and to add two new full time positions to manage the Dream Path program
  • Increase annual operating budget from $150,000 to $600,000 within three years to support staffing and programming needs
  • Improve program evaluation and outcome tracking


  • Review Join Hands’ by-laws to ensure they are current and meet the needs of the organization, particularly with regard to Board composition and diversity, recruitment and terms, and fundraising committees
  • Implement a three year $2 million capacity building fundraising campaign, with particular focus on major gifts, increasing level of giving of current donors, and adding new annual donors
  • Research additional sources of foundation funding and apply for funding consistent with Join Hands’ mission, with priority on general operating funds
  • Increase social media presence and donor stewardship and recognition activities
  • Identify key indicators of program successes (i.e. outcomes) and develop and implement an easy system to track to them