Building A New Playbook

U-TURN is a nonprofit at the intersection of faith, sports and kids. We’re helping build their long-term strategy.

If you drive around the Willow Lawn area regularly, you might know U-TURN Sports Performance Academy as the owner/occupant of the old Circuit City store on Tahlbro Street. Within the 150,000-squar e-foot building is a hidden secret – and another of Richmond’s hidden nonprofit gems.

I’ve known about U-TURN for several years. The organization was created 18 years ago around its founder’s passion for tennis and God.

In a nutshell, U-TURN is committed to helping kids from all walks of life build character through athletic training and spiritual growth. It has a strong outreach component, and a deep commitment to serving Richmond-area students who might not have access to year-round sports programming or state-of-the-art equipment.

When founder Paul Manning left U-TURN last year, I was pleased to hear that the nonprofit had landed Robert L. Dortch Jr. as its new president.

I met Robert several years ago through a Greater Richmond Chamber community initiative, and connected with his passion, his thinking and his ability to preach powerfully from any pulpit – religious or secular.

Robert and I reconnected earlier this year, and after a series of conversations he invited Floricane to support U-TURN in the development of its new strategic plan. Sarah Milston, Cara McDaniel and I will be working closely with the staff and board of U-TURN into the winter to craft a plan that can help U-TURN continue to grow and thrive.

We started work recently, and have already seen huge opportunity for U-TURN to live more powerfully into its mission and to strategically maximize its use of its 150,000-square-foot training facility. More than 3,000 kids pass through U-TURN’s athletic programs every year – kids from private and public schools, from the city and from the counties, kids with a passion for tennis, volleyball, football and more.

It’s likely I’ll exhaust my limited supply of sports metaphors quickly in the strategic planning process, but I’m confident that the staff and board will be quick to fill any gaps.