Sustaining Hope: A Strategic Plan for Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, MI (2009)

Client Organization: 
Growing Hope
Project Location : 
Ypsilanti, MI
Summary of Project Idea: 

Based on community and market surveys, a literature review, and site visits to similar organizations, the master's project team created a conceptual and financial plan for Growing Hope, an urban gardening organization in Ypsilanti, MI.  The plan outlines two possible directions for the organization that incorporate the director's vision for the future.  Each plan includes a substantial social enterprise component to partially fund the activities offered to community members.

Skills/Expertise Needed: 

A number of different areas of expertise would benefit this project, as described above—but the ability to be proactive in developing and following plans and timelines, coupled with ability to be flexible and adapt to organizational conditions is the most important.  Strong writing and communications skills needed, and among the team members it would be beneficial if there is experience in nonprofits, gardening/agriculture, and fundraising.  Business planning or entrepreneurship a plus!

SEAS Program Areas: 
Environmental Policy and Planning
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Sustainable Systems
Professional Career Development Benefits: 

Students have the opportunity to gain direct experience in multiple disciplines and career areas — areas as diverse as real estate/community development, brownfields, fundraising, green remodeling, and landscape architecture.  Among the volunteer planning team for the site design are architects, environmental engineers, landscape architects, and green building experts.  Opportunities to interview/visit similar centers in the US and Canada may provide networking connections in other communities.  The chance to work on this project also provides the opportunity to understand how community-based nonprofits work.

Identify expected products/deliverables: 
  • Organizational business/development plan as related to Center and social enterprises (or potentially business plans for some of the components), including 5 year projections and funding strategies.
  • Program model design for job training program
  • Other deliverables as appropriate project team background
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Andy Hoffman
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Rachel Chadderdon, MPH/MS Behavior, Education and Communication
  • Laura Colangelo, JD/MS Aquatics/Environmental Policy
  • Joel Heeres, MUP/MS Environmental Planning
  • Brian Lipinski, MS Environmental Policy 
  • Dominic Pietro, MS Sustainable Systems
  • Rachel Steel, MS Behavior, Education and Communication
Project Status: 
Past Project