The most successful nonprofit leaders have a relentless dedication to not only serve, but to empower their constituents. They strive to offer assistance that develops self-reliance. And they understand that success often means their organization will fundamentally change, or even run itself out of business.
Take Urban Tree Connection (UTC), a small urban gardening organization based in the Haddington neighborhood of Philadelphia, and a model in thoughtful neighborhood revitalization. UTC establishes farms on Haddington’s many vacant lots and runs a variety of programs for all community residents, collectively known as the Growing Healthy Initiative. UTC works tirelessly to integrate residents into all aspects of their operation, from growing and cooking food to selling and marketing it. In fact, UTC’s vision of a successful Haddington is one where the community ultimately owns and runs their farms, effectively making the organization obsolete.
Much like I argue in a previous post, success requires fearless dedication to an organization’s mission and constituency, regardless of personal implications. It’s about them, not us. What does your organization do transform your beneficiaries into fishermen (and fisherwomen)?