Connecting to New Communities and New Partners
Penn State Extension
Increasingly, institutions of higher education are expanding their reach and deepening their impact beyond their immediate environs and traditional student base. Many have turned to Fairmount for business plans and fundraising strategy grounded in a deep understanding of potential markets to pave their entrée into new communities and service opportunities.
Building on our work with numerous organizations active in the field of urban agriculture, food security and sustainability, Fairmount is leading the Penn State Cooperative Extension (Philadelphia) through a focused process to redefine its role in providing citywide educational and capacity-building supports in horticulture, nutrition education, agricultural entrepreneurship and youth development.
Fairmount’s business planning support has helped Penn State Extension define the unique value it brings to the urban agricultural landscape and pinpoint opportunities for new and enhanced lines of service. To begin, Fairmount conducted an environmental scan and engagement of Penn State Extension’s internal and external stakeholders to develop a detailed inquiry and assessment which identified:
- Best practices, recommendations and implications for expansion planning
- Specific opportunities for harnessing Penn State Extension’s core program expertise to develop innovative programs in the city and promising models for urban agriculture
- Potential nonprofit, City agency, and university partners for collaboration and expanded lines of service
- Positioning strategy to raise more money for its local work from the public, corporate and philanthropic sectors
For Penn State Extension, this process is providing not only a roadmap for its future course of operations and services, but also a strategy for enhancing Penn State’s visibility in Philadelphia and on the national stage relative to this important work.