Evolution of a Mission-Driven Youth Development Agency: Making a Difference

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The Carnegie Foundation of New York funded this overview of Good Shepherd’s six-decade rise from a small neighborhood program to an indispensable service provider and idea lab for the city. Officially incorporated in 1947 to provide residential services for troubled girls in Brooklyn, GSS is now at the forefront of New York’s efforts to help youth and young adults in the foster care system or who are at risk of dropping out of high school.

The report provides details of those programs, and Youth Today profiled GSS’ model for retaining at-risk students in 2008, but readers will gain most from the information about GSS approach to growth, merger, financing and fundraising within the framework of a youth-development mission. Of particular interest is the information about GSS’ move into foster care, beginning with its merger with McMahon Family Services in 1996, and its efforts to improve its financial infrastructure while it took on more avenues of youth work.

It is no secret that major youth work providers in the current economy have an opportunity to find and acquire value from distressed organizations, and that these troubled organizations can find protection for their best work in more stable entities. Both parties can benefit from the lessons of GSS, which has already endured and expanded through many an economic boom and bust.

Click here to read the report.