Case Studies - Feasibility Studies
Austin Area Garden Council/Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy – study to determine the feasibility of (1) various options for management and operations of Zilker Botanical Garden and (2) the case for its support as a standalone nonprofit. Result: The Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy was created with full support of the Austin City Council and the Parks and Recreation Department and its Board, and has hired an executive director to begin transitioning the management and operations of Zilker Botanical Garden, a jewel in the heart of Austin.
Austin Waldorf School – (1) study to determine the market feasibility of the addition of high school grades and additions to the current physical campus; and (2) campaign feasibility to raise funds to purchase adjacent land and build a high school, performing arts center and gymnasium. Result: Successful addition of a Waldorf high school – only one in the state of Texas – and $6.4M of land acquisition, facility construction, and physical campus improvements.
Barn Sanctuary– Austin entrepreneurs going back to the family farm in Michigan to rescue and care for farm animals while promoting plant-based diets and animal welfare. In six short weeks, Seeds for Change helped them develop a comprehensive strategic business and fundraising plan, including earned revenue scenarios for eventual self-sufficiency.
Result: Successful acquisition of foundation funding for capital improvements, capital equipment and the first two years of operations. Farm is scheduled to open in July 2017.
Independent Colleges & Universities of Texas (ICUT) - provide strategic planning consultation, facilitation and formation of a long-term strategic plan to ICUT. In preparation for strategic planning with ICUT, a 501(c)6 organization, support included an organizational assessment. This assessment provided ICUT with important initial findings about its operations and provided critical considerations to guide the strategic planning session. Key items assessed included current and potential services valued by the membership, range of services provided to members by peer organizations similar to ICUT across the nation, and diversification of funding used by other peer organizations. Result: ICUT has never undertaken formal long-range planning beyond setting annual budgets and legislative agendas. As a result, constructive changes to programs, staff and budgets had not occurred in recent years, nor has the organization’s mission been clearly defined. With the commencement of its new president, ICUT staff and board participated in a strategic planning exercise, which identified 3-5 year goals, objectives and strategies to 1) boost ICUT’s performance across its programs, and 2) increase ICUT’s impact for its members and the entire field of higher education in Texas and 3) create a comprehensive development plan for the ICUT Foundation, which supports student-choice scholarships at membership schools.
Mid-Coast Family Services (Victoria, Texas) – study to determine feasibility of a new Women’s Crisis Center as a replacement of a 100 year old Victorian home. Result: Successful capital campaign of $3M for on a new site and new construction of a 40 bed facility for women and children from a seven county service area. Mid-Coast continues to be an SFCC client; most recently we completed a comprehensive strategic plan for 2015-2019.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocesan Council of Austin – study to determine feasibility of the sale of a partnership property and the purchase/renovation of an existing building. Result: partnership successfully dissolved, old property sold and new site found, purchased and extensively renovated. 25,000 SF facility opened in May 2016 in North Austin.
Texas Medical Association Foundation – study to determine feasibility of a new Endowment Fund as a part of the Foundation in support of long term operations and programming of the Foundation’s three focus areas. Included phone call interviews with TMAF members/doctors across the State and an online survey of additional stakeholders. Result: While there was interest in an endowment, there was not enough financial support across a wide base of donors who also felt this was an organizational priority. The study did unveil a major gift donor who generously funded an endowment for one of the foundation’s three focus areas. Based on that gift, others came forward as well and the endowment became a reality. Seeds for Change also provided assistance with endowment operational guidelines, "which are providing to be invaluable."