By Jeff Mortensen
President & CEO
This is my thirteenth year at 360 Communities, and 2019 was one of our most intense years of meeting challenges with mission-driven intentionality. We continued to elevate our community impact with effective service delivery for clients, and maintained a relentless determination toward understanding and delivering the highest social returns for donors.
We started the year with an updated mission statement: 360 Communities delivers safety and stability that improves lives, and a new tagline: Help in the moment. Hope for the future. We believe these concise statements describe us well and provide focus. We also moved our Burnsville Family Resource Center, Food Shelf, and Administrative offices into a new location, gaining over 1,500 square feet while keeping lease costs flat.
A Year of Strategic Leadership and Partnership
The 360 Communities Board of Directors led strategically with the leadership team to create a shared seven-year vision with clearly defined annual objectives. This allowed a reorganization that reduced the number of directors, aligned program supervisors, and expanded administrative roles.
Community needs continue to be larger than our capacity to fully meet them. We received funding from a wide range of sources, including federal and state grants, individual donors, businesses, clubs, faith communities, and foundations. Thanks to these groups, the five-year fundraising trends across all categories remained strong. This is a real sign of the community’s trust in 360 Communities. With your support, we will be able to continue current programs and build capacity for growth.
We now have staff located in over 45 locations across Dakota County made possible because of strong community partnerships. Specifically, key collaboration with the City of Rosemount and Senator Clausen made the expansion of our Rosemount Family Resource Center possible. Design and construction are complete. As a result, the resource center tripled in size and created the “one-stop-shop” to meet needs and grow civic engagement.
Measuring for Social Returns
As one of many nonprofits doing meaningful work, 360 Communities’ ability to measure outcomes helps us stand out. We are two years into a new client data system that provides the necessary infrastructure to analyze services in ways never before possible. We now evaluate outcomes, including changes in conditions, knowledge, and behaviors of people we work with. Additionally, we can link these numbers to tangible social benefit returns.
For instance, we know that the $161,000 we spent on preventing 299 people from becoming homeless this year delivered at least $1,127,000 in social returns for the community! A study by the University of Minnesota showed the value of our Partners for Success program. If we help just four high school seniors graduate on time, there would be enough long-term benefits to cover the cost of the entire program for a school year. Last year we helped 55 seniors graduate!
Serving with Purpose and Client Focus
This past year, we had 77 staff and over 1,200 volunteers working to solve some of society’s most complex problems with limited resources. They provided safety and stability to more than 16,600 people on an annual budget of $5,170,000. They are mission-driven and do important work. Some are even saving lives!
We desire to reflect the populations we serve within our staff, board, and volunteers. Because of this, we are on an on-going journey of developing cultural competence that we began five years ago. While there is still progress to be made, we are proud of our growth. I believe 360 Communities is your best investment to provide meaningful and measurable support for people in Dakota County.
Thank you all for your trust and continued generosity. Get involved in 2020. You’ll discover it will be a good choice not only for the community but for yourself.