Making Alexandria More Welcoming and inclusive-One Organization at a Time

S&G Endeavors works with a variety of nonprofits and community-based organizations each year to strengthen their effectiveness and help them become more strategic in their work. Though a church and a member-driven nonprofit have differences in their approach, both are working to make Alexandria more welcoming and inclusive, and the S&G Endeavors Engaged Change process helped them in 2018 and beyond. Learn how both organizations benefited from our customizable design and facilitation.

Commonwealth Baptist Church—Growing community Spiritually and Physically

Commonwealth Baptist Church “is a community of diverse people who feel at home as we grow spiritually and physically – working with our community as we engage with each other seeking to discover where the Spirit is leading us next.”

In a spring 2018 day-long retreat, the Church council and staff formed together as a leadership team, holding a series of collaborative conversations design to help their team:

  • Increase understanding of opportunities, dreams, and desires for their service as leaders and for the church as a whole;
  • Gain consensus around their vision and aspirations for the church;
  • Create a measurable set of draft goals and next steps that can guide the team; and,
  • In the process, create a more unified, energized, connected, and fully engaged leadership team that can best serve and guide the church.

The collaborative dialog at the retreat helped build a stronger team, identified some draft actions to guide the team in 2018, and as described by Robin Anderson, one of CBC’s Pastors, “really helped us tackle some of those challenging conversations, defining a cohesive vision, and positioning us with ideas to engage various teams to help us succeed with our actions we defined.”

Bob Whitman, who has now moved from Vice Chair to Chair of the Council, further remarked, , “I remembered the value of a facilitator when I watched how S&G Endeavors, specifically Jeremy, guided us through this process.  With his thoughtfulness, organization, and guidance, we truly accomplished a lot in a day’s time. We are now poised to strengthen our teams, creating a more welcoming and inclusive experience for all who want to join and serve our community.”

Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee—Growing Community Through Increased Biking, Walking, and Livability

The Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee promotes walking, biking, and other active transportation, and advocates for infrastructure, policy, and cultural changes that create a safe, accessible, and livable city for all.

At their day-long August retreat, they wanted to have a diverse collection of voices in the room to collaborate on their new strategic plan. “The goal was to increase the buy-in from committee members and our partners, so that we could grow as an organization and tackle the challenges we face,” says Jim Durham, Chair of the committee. “S&G Endeavors facilitated a series of collaborative conversations that brought us together to create our strategic plan with lots of wisdom and representation from various demographics we serve.”

Since the retreat, Alexandria BPAC has implemented a team structure, which is distributing the work amongst members and creating points of engagement for new members and volunteers. Evaluations noted how the retreat dialog helped uncover challenges, created clear goals, and created measurable actions that will help the organization as it defines membership, grows capacity, and becomes a nonprofit that engages all people who bike and walk and creates a more livable Alexandria.

2 different organizations, 2 different approaches, 1 stronger community

Working directly with a church and with a member-driven nonprofit can be quite different, as each institution is formed with a very different purpose.

“Though there are differences between the two organizations,” Remarked Jeremy Grandstaff, President of S&g Endeavors and the lead consultant on these projects, “we were able to use the S&G Endeavors Engaged Change process to deliver two different retreats that were uniquely designed to meet both organizations in their own space.” Some of the commonalities within the approaches that made them so successful for our clients include:

  • Each organization utilized the expertise of a design team to develop the agenda—resulting in a well-planned retreat that made the best use of time and convened the important conversations.
  • Each retreat was a series of collaborative, dialog-based, activities and conversations—resulting in common desires, clear vision, and actions (or next steps) that guided implementation
  • Each organization valued teams and wisdom from others—resulting in increased understanding of challenges and increased collaborative structures to guide implementation

S&G’s customizable design helps organizations take their planning to the next level. Why not contact us for a consultation and find out how we can help your organization transform its effectiveness in 2019.


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