Urban Alliance Foundation

CONSULTING AREA: Market study and strategic analysis

Capacity Partners was invaluable in helping us to assess our strategic position relative to our financial plans — and in setting us on the right path to revise our strategic vision.

– Mary Menell Zients, Board Chair and Founder, Urban Alliance Foundation


Today, the Urban Alliance Foundation – which helps under-resourced students develop economic self-sufficiency — is a well-known nonprofit organization that has served more than 10,000 youth in the District of Columbia, Baltimore and Chicago. However, when its founder and Board of Directors turned to Capacity Partners for assistance back in 2004, it was still an emerging nonprofit, and they wanted to dramatically expand its reach. They needed an experienced consulting partner to assess and recommend fundraising and growth strategies.

Key Challenges

The organization had a solid base of foundation funders and large individual donors, but had reached a juncture in its evolution where it needed a more focused strategy for steady, sustainable growth.

Services Provided

Capacity Partners recommended an approach to strategic planning built around the concepts of “vision, visibility, and validation” and conducted in-depth research on fundraising options. We gave the Board essential insight into the organization’s fundraising potential and how rapidly it could expand.


Capacity Partners recommended that the Urban Alliance Foundation clarify its vision, heighten its visibility, and validate its program success. Based on our guidance, the Board decided to undertake a yearlong capacity-building process, which provided a foundation for Urban Alliance’s future success.