Strategic Plan FAQ
- Q: Is Harvest trying to do the EDC’s job?
No, Harvest and the EDC are partners. We both have a vested interest in the economic growth of the MHC area, so we work together to create job opportunities and provide support for local businesses and industry for the MHC community. We believe economic development is the foundation for improving health, education and community vitality, so naturally we will attempt to support organizations that drive economic development.
- Q: Why did Harvest need a new strategic plan? Was there something wrong with the old one?
The Harvest Foundation has supported many noble projects throughout the community with noticeable impact. Harvest staff and the Board of Directors wanted the capability to truly measure how Harvest is affecting the community. By developing a strategic plan focused on economic development and community investment with specific goals and strategies that are all measurable, the foundation can gear its focus toward improving economic prosperity for Martinsville and Henry County residents.
- Q: How did Harvest come up with their new strategic plan? Did they include input from the community when making this decision? In developing the strategic plan, Harvest utilized input from representatives of the community, current grantees, past and current board members, economic data, and community surveys.
- Q: Will the new strategic plan change the amount of funding designated annually for grants?
No, the plan will not change the amount of funding. However, the criteria and funding direction have changed to be more responsive to the needs of the community.
- Q: How will Harvest’s grant-making process be impacted by the new strategic plan?
The new grants process is streamlined to ensure all grant proposals have measurable goals that will address identified needs within the community. The process includes a statement of need outlining the specific issue to be addressed by an applicant. From there, applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal if their proposed grant meets Harvest qualifications.
- Q: Will Harvest staff be open to meeting with me or my organization to better understand the strategic plan and if/how we fit?
Definitely, transparency is a priority of this strategic plan. The Harvest Foundation wants to ensure the MHC community understands our intentions and our direction.
- Q: You put $9M into the sports complex. What similar investments are you going to make in the city?
The investments made by Harvest are to benefit both residents of the city and the county. The Smith River Sports Complex is utilized by residents in Martinsville and Henry County with a wide variety of programming and activities available to the community.
- Q: How will low income and minority segments of this community feel the impact of your giving?
A major aspect of our strategic plan is to be a resource, to educate and advocate for all MHC citizens. An important part of our strategy includes creating job opportunities and ensuring MHC citizens have the skills to be competitive in the workforce. We support that strategy because it helps those in the community that have been affected most by the recession.
- Q: Will the makeup of the Board of Directors and committee structure change now because of the new direction?
The Board of Directors will remain the same, but the committee structure had changed to better reflect the new funding priorities of the strategic plan. In the past, Harvest had grants committees for each funding area – health, education and community vitality. There now is one grants committee representing a subset of the Board of Directors. The Communications and Advocacy Committee, formerly ad hoc, is now a standing committee.
- Q: Will requirements for Pick Up the Pace! grants change because of the new strategic plan?
No, the requirements for Pick Up the Pace! grants have not changed. We are confident in the ability of PUP grantees to make direct community improvements to MHC. The criteria for PUP grants can be found on our website.
- Q: If economic development is the new focus for Harvest, how will the foundation help unemployed people get jobs?
Harvest is committed to supporting organizations that specialize in the recruitment of employers to MHC. Our strategy is to support organizations that help the unemployed gain access to available positions and enable them to be competitive in the workforce by providing skills development.
- Q: Why did Harvest choose economic development as its strategic focus?
The Harvest Foundation was founded with the purpose of improving the opportunities and the quality of life for the people of MHC. Without economic prosperity, improvements in education, health and community vitality are difficult to sustain.
- Q: Is Harvest no longer funding programs and initiatives in health, education and community vitality?
Harvest will continue to fund programs and initiatives in health, education and community vitality. However, our approach now includes being a community resource and providing funding for initiatives that drive economic prosperity. We believe economic development is the cornerstone for improving initiatives in health, education and community vitality.
- Q: What about current grantees that don’t fit the new direction – how will this impact them?
None of our current grantees will be immediately affected by our new strategic funding direction. However, for those who do not fit at their grant renewal, we will work with them to see how their mission and activities could align with our direction.
- Q: The plan seems very specific – what if I feel my work fits the goal but not specifically into one of the strategies – can I still apply for funding?
There are specific programmatic strategies outlined in our strategic plan to help us fulfill our mission and vision, but that does not mean that we have exhausted all the possible strategies available to support economic development in MHC. We encourage all nonprofit organizations with an innovative idea to come forward and apply. As a resource, we will evaluate each strategy, provide feedback and advice on how to ensure your strategy can have the most impact, and help you identify potential funding partners that may be interested in supporting your work –whether or not it falls within our funding criteria.
- Q: Are there other Harvest funding pools I can still apply for if my work does not fit the new strategic plan?
As a resource, we will evaluate each grant application and provide you with feedback and any advice we can on how to ensure your strategy has the most community impact. We may also help you identify potential funding partners that may be interested in supporting your work, whether or not it falls within our funding criteria. Funding also is available in the form of Pick Up the Pace! grants, which may or may not align with the new strategic plan.
- Q: What specifically do you mean when you say Harvest is going to be a resource?
Harvest defines its role as a resource by offering more than financial contributions to area programs and initiatives. Harvest’s value to the community comprises more than financial commitments. Whether the organization is a current, potential or even a declined grantee, our goal is to provide insight that will be helpful to an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. These activities could include help identifying potential funding resources that may be options for additional or alternative funding, initiating potential partnerships or working relationships.
- Q: How are nonprofits supposed to create jobs and/or increase the tax base?
Many nonprofits have missions that are community based. An organization doesn’t have to be an employer to have a positive impact on job creation. Our grantees are not always creating jobs directly. They may be providing a function or a service that supports job creation, retention, skills training or credentialing.
- Q: It looks like the only organization that meets the criteria will be the EDC?
On the surface it may appear that our funding direction is an obvious fit for organizations like the EDC. Many community based programs and initiatives that are not solely focused on job creation or increasing the tax base can have programs or initiatives that are a perfect fit for our economic development funding direction.
For example, Harvest supports the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness to administer a program to transition patients into work training or employment assistance programs once their health has stabilized. Another Harvest grantee, SPICE (Spencer Penn Investing in Children’s Education), developed an after school tutoring program to increase testing scores for children in second through fifth grades. This is a partnership with Henry County Public Schools to have a positive impact on students and their families with the ability to increase attainment of credentials for the community.