Latin American Youth Center

CONSULTING AREA: Strategic Planning

Working with Capacity Partners was a really good decision. Mary Robinson helped us deliver a new strategic plan on a tight timeline, but the process was never superficial or formulaic. She pushed us to be very specific and intentional, and she pulled out underlying themes we might have missed.

– Lori Kaplan, President & CEO, Latin American Youth Center


Latin American Youth Center is a large, complex nonprofit with multiple locations across the DC metro area. The organization works with a diverse population of youth to help them achieve a successful transition to adulthood. It was time for LAYC leadership and staff, who had used large strategy consulting firms to develop two previous strategic plans, to create a new strategic plan. Under the guidance of an experienced internal chief strategy officer, they began to develop the new plan in-house. When they realized they needed an outside perspective and assistance completing the plan, they engaged Capacity Partners.

Key Challenges

Although LAYC had extensive experience with strategic planning, the staff time required to work on a plan in addition to regular work duties made it difficult to deliver a full-fledged plan on a tight timeline. In addition, LAYC is an established nonprofit with a strong track record of success. Being in a position of relative strength and stability can make it more difficult for nonprofit leaders to dig deep and re-examine assumptions.

Services Provided

Over the course of five months, Mary Robinson worked closely with LAYC’s chief strategy officer and staff to deliver the new plan. To supplement the excellent work that had already been completed, Mary conducted three retreats to elicit and address key factors influencing the organization’s future growth strategy. Working committees were formed to flesh out the strategies and objectives for each strategic goal, and a board-staff leadership team was created to coordinate the planning from all organizational perspectives.


In addition to providing bandwidth to assist the chief strategy officer in completing the plan in a timely manner, Capacity Partners was able to offer new insights and pull out some themes that might have been missed internally, including issues related to internal alignment and the importance of relationship building to programmatic success. The result was a dynamic, forward-looking plan that was approved by LAYC’s Board of Directors in early 2013 and is now being implemented.