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Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

CRC on the Rise: A Path Forward Investee Update

After nearly forty years of working to advance conservation efforts, Boulder’s Center for Resource Conservation felt adrift. The needs of the community had changed, and the organization craved renewed focus.

CRC’s partnership with Social Venture Partners Boulder County began in 2013. Says Dan Stellar, CRC’s Senior Director of Sustainability Programs, “SVP really helped structure the process, bringing extremely helpful enthusiasm, expertise, and experience in strategic planning.”

Extensive stakeholder outreach garnered clarity around key needs, and led to a systemic process for engaging both internal and external audiences in the process. Next, SVP led facilitated and collaborative discussions that better-defined CRC’s core areas of focus. Says Dan, “Under SVP’s guidance, we were able to create new mission and vision statements that allowed us to focus on our core strengths.”

Discussions also clarified and reinvigorated each of CRC’s areas of work, leading to a more focused geographic footprint, clarity around the role of education in the organization’s efforts, and fed the creation of a strong, forward-looking strategic plan. Now, CRC is primed for even greater focus on ‘action in conservation’ in the organization’s next chapter.

One shift has been the role of social enterprise. “We recognized we wanted to organize our community impact in a way that looked more like a business, so we could generate income and impact,” says CRC’s Executive Director Neal Lurie, “With SVP’s help, we were able to shift our social enterprise activities from a small part of our business model to an essential part of the CRC brand. The clarity we gained through that shift now offers us guardrails in helping evaluate what to pursue and what to pass on.”

Supporting CRC’s staff was another component of the work with SVP. “To ensure we continue to have a strong team, we looked strategically at ways to support and develop our talent,” says Neal. SVP helped inform this thinking, and created a human resources plan with ideas like cross-training staff and ensuring back up support for daily activities helps facilitate knowledge sharing and pushing beyond silos.

Overall, reflects Neal, “We view SVP as a critical partner who brought a business mindset and a highly collaborative process. It’s often not enough to come up with good ideas alone; bringing in additional expertise and thoughtful questions from an outside perspective helps and ultimately leads to a better result.”

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