Within the rooms of Belmead Mansion on their historic grounds in Powhatan recently, the Board of the Free Clinic of Powhatan gathered for a quarterly meeting focused on their future strategic direction. The three-year old nonprofit is one of 62 free clinics serving underserved populations around the state, and we were pleased to help them reframe their strategic opportunities.
The goals for the day included discussion on the current strategic plan’s wins & opportunities, structural alignment of the Board and setting future direction for the Clinic. With an organization that’s only been around for a few years, it was fitting that the historic mansion served as our home for the day. I can only imagine the stories the walls of the mansion could tell, but they may not rival the stories we heard from board members about the importance of the work of the clinic and the impact to their patients who have nowhere else to turn for care.
We then reviewed the current strategic plan highlighting the successes achieved and the challenges that remained. It became evident, there were many areas that belonged in the success column and given the limited resources the challenges were well understood. One of the highlights that stood out to me was the strong sentiment from the Board about the volunteer base at the clinic. In so many organizations, it seems that volunteers are either hard to come by or that the work of many seems to fall on the shoulders of the few, at the Clinic it is just not that way. The core group is dedicated and flexible to meet the demands of working in health care these days.
Shifting into the afternoon, the Board agreed the two most important pieces of work were financial support and long range planning. While these two topics are intertwined, the group was undeterred to create specific, detailed plans to address them head on. And, most importantly, to address them in alignment.
Throughout the day, the group used the home to its fullest – the ceiling height was just high enough to allow the group to reach for new heights; the expansive, bay windows allowed a look beyond the current horizon to what the future may hold; everywhere we turned memories of Powhatan’s past were present.
There were many soft reminders that this group holds the keys to a future that doesn’t forget about the past but uses it as a springboard to continue their good work in the community.