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Strategic Plan

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Stevens Square Community Organization

Strategic Plan for 2011-2016

Adopted by the Board of Directors on October 21, 2010

2010 SSCO Board Members

Bryan Anderson, Chair

Katie Dailey, Vice Chair

Karen Ives, Treasurer

Raymond Ferris, Secretary

Erik Farseth

Jessica Hayssen

Rochelle Payton

Howard Penas

Ken Strobel

Link Wilson


SSCO Staff

Steven Gallagher, Executive Director

Dave Delvoye, Safety Coordinator

Robert Skafte, Greening Coordinator


Stevens Square Community Organization

1925 Nicollet Avenue

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408



Executive Summary

The strategic plan for the Stevens Square – Loring Heights Community Organization is designed to guide the organization’s direction from 2010 through 2015.  The impetus for developing this strategic plan is an outgrowth of board participation with resident responses.

Environmental Scan

To help understand SSCO’s position in the environment that it is working in, the organization held numerous meetings, strategy sessions; a human asset study; a marketing trade study analysis and completed design guidelines for Nicollet Avenue.  Also, surveys during events specifically for outreach in various areas of the neighborhood were conducted on a semi-rolling basis.

The results of the scan show that SSCO is well known in the community and that people think SSCO is effectively representing them on the issues that are important to them.  The results also indicate that respondents think SSCO is doing a good job with its programs and services.

Moving forward community members would like SSCO to continue to focus on expanding its outreach activities and increase the number of volunteers involved in the organization.  Respondents also place a high value on the community building and safety work that SSCO conducts.

There was some concern identified throughout this process that a small number of people are carrying a large portion of the burden for keeping SSCO running at such a level; which people fear could lead to volunteer and staff burnout.

The outreach surveys also made it clear that one of the main reasons people are not getting involved is because of lack of information and scheduling conflicts, rather than a lack of interest.  The challenge this lays out is to find ways to increase the perceived value of getting involved.  It is mentioned that once someone gets involved they tend to value their activity within the community.  It should be noted that one way to accomplish this is for a concentrated effort to institutionalize leadership development within the organization.

The 2010 Census data will be attached to this strategic plan when completed by the United States Census Bureau.

Strategic Direction

Stevens Square Community Organization’s direction for the next five years builds off the neighborhood’s strong history of community driven action.

Vision and Mission

SSCO provides a respectful forum for community involvement and leadership that builds on neighborhood strengths to promote and improve Stevens Square-Loring Heights as a fun place to live, work, and play.  SSCO works to strengthen Stevens Square-Loring Heights by initiating, integrating, and implementing key priorities:

  • Economic development (housing and commercial development)
  • Community safety
  • Clean green environment
  • Building community through the arts
  • Community Arts


Stevens Square Community Organization’s goals for the next five years embody what the organization is trying to accomplish in order to create a safe, vibrant, and sustainable neighborhood:

  • Be the ‘go-to-resource’ for the neighborhood
  • Engage all members of the community to improve the neighborhood
  • Spur large and small scale development along key corridors of the community
  • Provide a vehicle for improving safety and a reduction of crime within the neighborhood
  • Have the human, financial, and organizational resources necessary to accomplish its goals


To understand SSCO’s vision to create a safe, fun place to live, work and play it is important to understand what a safe vibrant and sustainable community should look like.
In a safe neighborhood a resident(s), guests and employers feel comfortable walking down the street by themselves, they don’t have to worry about whether their property is safe from harm and violence is a thing of the past.

A vibrant neighborhood thrives with positive action throughout the day; it’s a place where people know each other, and they have their needs met within the direct location of their residence.  They are able to work, live and play all in the same area.

A sustainable neighborhood is a neighborhood that has achieved balance between the resources the neighborhood consumes and the resources the neighborhood produces.


Stevens Square Community Organization’s values are the underlying motivation for the operation of the organization.

Community Building

SSCO believes that building strong relationships between community members makes the neighborhood healthier by providing people with the connections they need in order to pool their resources to take advantage of opportunities to improve their quality of life and to address issues in the community.

Asset Based Organizing

SSCO believes the most effective way to improve the neighborhood is to start with the assets that already exist in the community.  SSCO further believes that community members, through their time and energy, are the neighborhood’s most important asset.


Commitment to Engagement

SSCO believes that all community members have the right and the responsibility to be involved in determining the neighborhood’s direction.  SSCO further believes that neighborhood organization play a vital role in the Minneapolis’ ecosystem by providing a positive vehicle for people to channel their energy and ideas.

Commitment to Diversity

SSCO believes that the neighborhood’s diverse population is an asset to the community that is best utilized when connections are made across the various diverse internal communities.


For SSCO’s strategic plan to be a success, it needs to be a living document that guides the organization’s work during the next five years.  Successful implementation of this plan will take a concerted effort by SSCO’s board, committee members, volunteers, and staff, with each person taking ownership in the plan and neighborhood.

Each committee will dissect this strategic plan and put into action their recommendations to reach each prospective goal.  Various committee chairs and members should meet on an annual basis to report on their progress.

Be the go-to-resource for the neighborhood

As the go-to-resource for the neighborhood SSCO will be the “first call” for community members, business leaders, and landowners when they have an issue or idea for the neighborhood.  To accomplish this goal SSCO will need to build knowledge and capacity to provide quick and meaningful responses.  Committee leaders need to gain in depth knowledge of all aspects of the neighborhood.


Build Volunteer and Staff Capacity

SSCO will build the volunteer and staff capacity necessary to provide community members with the information and support they need to address issues and accomplish their ideas.  An ideal staff ratio is:  Executive Director, Safety Coordinator and an Outreach Director.

Strengthen and Improve SSCO’s Marketing and Communications Abilities

SSCO through various committees will develop and implement a marketing and communications plan that clearly communicates to community members, policy makers, and the larger community about the positive actions which SSCO does for the neighborhood.

A redesign of the website should take priority; while conducting a marketing direction for the neighborhood.  The “Little Brooklyn” of Minneapolis has been a constant observance of community members and should be exploited to SSCO’s advantage.


Improve Informational Management

SSCO will develop information management systems that provide the support needed to communicate with people about the things they are most interested.  The information system will also serve to support the committees’ work by providing them with an opportunity to better understand trends of the neighborhood while accomplishing SSCO’s vision and goals.

Provide Diverse Programming

SSCO understands that not every type of program and activity will be interesting to all members of the community.  To engage its diverse community, SSCO will strive to engage a diverse group of community members to develop and implement a wide range of programming and activities which meet people where they are at in life and encourage them to explore and grow as community members.

During 2010-2011 SSCO will develop a system to design, implement, and evaluate the organization’s programs around five categories: age; economic status; ethnicity; renters/homeowners; and families/singles/couples to help make sure that the organization is offering a diverse set of programs that meet the community’s needs.

Engage Community members to actively improve the neighborhood 

Empower SSCO Committees’ to be a Source of Neighborhood Leadership and Action

SSCO will support the ongoing work of the committees in order to provide a place for community members to focus on issues they are interested in and are important to the neighborhood’s health.  Committees also provide SSCO with a place to develop expertise on important issues to develop leaders.

SSCO Board members shall engage in a strategic focus to encompass more individuals into the organization directly through committees.  A natural progression of involvement into the inner workings (board membership) should follow within 24 months.


Build and Maintain Strategic Partnerships

SSCO will actively build and maintain partnerships with other neighborhood organization, nonprofits, and businesses, units of government and policy makers that advance SSCO’s vision and help accomplish SSCO’s goals.



SSCO will have the human, financial and organizational resources necessary to accomplish its goals


Create and Implement a Leadership Development System

Having a high number of renters versus homeowners gives SSCO advantages and disadvantages in cultivating leadership.  Many of the volunteers over the past five years have moved on to other housing outside of the neighborhood.  To thrive as an organization it is important for SSCO to create a leadership development system to ensure that the organization has people ready to take on leadership.


A concerted effort should be made to have contact with all new residents through a programmatic system of introduction through a partnership with local landlords (email, newsletter).


Invest in Staff Resources and Development

SSCO will continue to invest in a professional staff.  A professional staff of full-time and part-time employees and contractors provides SSCO with the expertise and capacity necessary to have a high functioning organization.  A professional staff also allows community members to focus on the areas they are interested in working on, instead of administrative tasks.


Strengthen Financial Resources

The next five years of SSCO will need to have a dedicated effort from volunteers and staff to multiply its financial resources.  In order to successfully accomplish all of SSCO’s goals an increase of fundraising is necessary.  To this end, SSCO will continue to increase funds through individual giving, grants, sponsorships, and governmental funding. 


A strong effort through negotiations with the City of Minneapolis must be accomplished to identify future funding streams.



Outcome measures

Current Status


Build Volunteer and staff capacity

SSCO will increase the number of new volunteers and amount of volunteer time contributed to the organization by 10 percent each of the next 5 years


Annual Evaluation






Committees will have the volunteer resources necessary to compete their annual work


Annual Evaluation






Staff and volunteers will have demonstrated expertise to address pertinent issues








Hire an outreach coordinator








SSCO will have the capacity to either address community members issues or to connect them to other resources


Annual Evaluation

Improve Marketing and communications

SSCO will develop and implement a marketing and communications plan in 2011

Create a task force in the November 2010 meeting







Create a speakers bureau to speak with groups of residents

Create a task force in the November 2010 meeting







Increase Web usage by 10 percent in each of next five years

Create a task force in the November 2010 meeting







Create promotional material and information

Create a task force in the November 2010 meeting







Increase the number of users for the newsletter by 10 percent in each of the next five years

Create a task force in the November 2010 meeting





Outcome measures

Current Status



Develop a working information management system

Develop a system to efficiently organize and track SSCO's contacts and activities








Have a website training for volunteers and staff








Complete the SSCO website overhaul in order to make a valuable interactive community service








Develop a financial/donor relationship tracking source








Develop a system to effectively track open store front or opportunistic properties

Utilize a map type program







Keep track of inquiries into SSCO








Develop a system to effectively track and manage problem properties



SSCO will support the work of committees to provide people with the opportunity to work on important issues affecting the neighborhood

Each SSCO committee will create an annual work plan for each year that outlines what the committee and board hopes to accomplish for the year and how they will accomplish it








Each committee will establish an ad-hoc committee to accomplish tasks that cannot regularly be accomplished








SSCO will increase the number of people involved and the amount of volunteer time contributed to committees by 10% in each of the next five years




Outcome measures

Current Status


Build strategic partnerships (internal and external of SS-LH neighborhood)

SSCO will maintain active memberships in organizations that help SSCO accomplish its goals








SSCO will sustain its active partnerships with pertinent parties








Outreach to the student base within the neighborhood for specific issues; provide internship opportunities








Outreach to new and established residents, businesses and property owners








SSCO will work with other neighborhood organizations and other nonprofit service providers



Neighborhood Programs and Activities

SSCO will develop and implement programs and events  that help to promote the well-being of the neighborhood and environment








Promote community and cultural activities








Develop activities to promote local businesses








Develop activities/events that promote and showcase commercial corridors





Outcome measures

Current Status


SSCO will develop and implement a systematic approach to developing neighborhood leaders

SSCO will develop a formal leadership development plan that will establish goals and strategies that will include specific plans to:

  • Increase participation on the board and committees;
  • Develop a training program for the board and committees that will include training about nonprofit management, public policy, and information on committee specific issues








Formalized training for new board members by experienced members








Outreach to the student base within the neighborhood for specific issues; provide internship opportunities








Provide growth opportunities for current and potential volunteers invested in a leadership positions(s)








Cultivate a mentorship type program for new volunteers using experienced volunteers



SSCO will continue to invest in a professional staff

SSCO will continue to invest in a professional staff by providing competitive benefits, and excellent work environment and room for professional growth.

Set annual professional development goals for staff

Annual Evaluation






Ideal staff ratio is: Executive Director, Safety Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator




Outcome measures

Current Status


SSCO will have the financial resources necessary to achieve its mission

To have the financial resources necessary to accomplish SSCO's mission SSCO will:

  • Increase the amount of individual giving by 10%
  • Start a membership program Increase the percentage of funding for SSCO from Non NRP sources by five percent in each of the next five years
  • Hold annual fundraisers




Develop a financial/donor relationship tracking source




The board will review and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategic plan on behalf of the board and committees work








Update the strategic plan for new priorities, goals, concerns and effectiveness

Executive committee reviews progress on a quarterly basis



Related Content:

“We the people of Stevens Square-Loring Heights have the right to, and recognize our collective responsibility to foster, a neighborhood that is safe, clean, respectful and friendly.”

Stevens Square Community Organization (SSCO) has in place a comprehensive and proactive safety and crime prevention program that works successfully with law enforcement to reduce and prevent crime by bringing to the table significant volunteer involvement and staff expertise.  SSCO has the longest active Block Patrol in the city, which has been highly effective.  Block Patrol is a way for residents to communicate with the organization regarding concerns, and a way for the organization to connect with residents to promote safety in the neighborhood.

The Stevens Square-Loring Heights NRP Building Safety Improvement Program aims to support property owners and tenants in their efforts to increase the safety of the neighborhood through improvements to their buildings and environs. This program was formerly known as the Lighting and Fencing Program, but has been expanded to include other safety-related improvements, as described in the guidelines. It is funded in full by the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program in conjunction with the priorities of the members of the Stevens Square-Loring Heights neighborhood, and is implemented with the support of the 5th Precinct SAFE Unit.

I you are interested in applying for a safety grant, please contact SSCO’s Safety Coordinator at (612) 874-2840.

Here are a few useful links to local and state safety-related sites.

Restorative Justice Community Action

Just moved into the neighborhood, or looking for some assistance? Here are a few links that may be helpful:

Community safety resources

Neighborhood Revitalization Program

Please join us on Tuesday, May 8th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Plymouth Church (1900 Nicollet Ave - use the Lasalle Ave entrance).

Learn how to keep yourself and you neighbors safe. Topics will include the recent fire at 137 East 17th St, preventing fires in multi-unit buildings, evacuation plans, fire inspection procedures, and renters insurance. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

City Council Member Robert Lilligren will facilitate the meeting. Presenters will include Minneapolis Fire Department staff and a member of the Minnesota Multi Housing Association. Co-sponsored by Mint Properties, Stevens Community Apartments, The Apartment Shop, Kleinman Realty, Copenhagen Enterprises and Rand Management.

Please call 612-874-2840 with questions.

Don't talk trash . . . pick it up!

SSCO's Spring Clean Sweep is set for:

Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m. to noon.  Meet at Stevens Square Park, East 18th St & 2nd Ave South.

Compete for the prize (an Electric Fetus gift card) for finding the most unusual piece of trash!

Saturday May 26th at the Overlook Gardens on 17th street between 2nd and Stevens: We will be meeting at 10:30 a.m. Come be part of the native habitat garden we have been installing. We need volunteers to help clean and add some more plants.

Brought to you by Stevens Square Community Organization and Minneapolis Park Board.

Contact Robert Skafte for questions: or 612 750 3779

Stevens Square Community Organization's annual meeting is set for:

Saturday, June 9, 2012
Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., the meeting begins at 10:00 a.m.
Plymouth Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave.
(Use the LaSalle Ave entrance.)

On the agenda:

Election of Board officers and directors: chair, secretary, and four at-large directors.
Updates from committee co-chairs on SSCO activities.
Reports from public officials.

Eligible voters include anyone 16 years of age or older who lives, owns property, or is employed (up to two employees per business) in the Stevens Square-Loring Heights neighborhood. Please bring a form of identification verifying that you are eligible to vote, such as a current Minnesota driver's license or identification card, utility statement, lease agreement, state or county tax statement, a pay stub showing employment in the neighborhood, or an eligible voter to vouch for you.

For more information, call SSCO at (612) 874-2840.