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SDC’s Strategic Planning Session

In the auditorium where SDC’s CEO, program managers and commissioners gather, someone raises a hand and shouts, “Empower customers by asking them what they need.”

The meeting facilitator takes out a marker and writes the comment on a huge sheet of paper taped to the wall.

“Yes, and…” another manager says.  The phrase, suggested by the facilitator,   became a popular means to inspire feedback.

With that, discussion begins. There are rapid-fire responses as leaders talk about a variety of issues.

“Yes, and… we need to clearly measure success.”
“Yes, and… this requires collaboration.”
“Yes, and… we need to look at funding differently.”

Using a technique known to increase creativity and discussion, SDC’s leaders launch their annual brainstorming session. This is one of several tools used to develop strategies that address issues like poverty, unemployment and mental health in Milwaukee County.

It’s cutting-edge.

Breaking the older, traditional social-service mold, SDC has built a data-driven model to create innovative programming and better meet customer needs.

As the saying goes, this isn’t your mother’s SDC.

While SDC’s mission hasn’t changed, the way the agency conducts business has.

SDC no longer offers the Energy Assistance program.
SDC no longer runs Head Start.
SDC no longer helps people buy cars with a loan program.

No longer tied to such programs, SDC is smaller but more nimble.  As CEO George Hinton likes to say, “able to turn on a dime.”

What you will see in the agency’s strategic plan is more advocacy on behalf of people experiencing poverty. This may include pushing for a particular policy or law, support of grass-roots community initiatives and more research.

Also expect to see SDC’s six elected commissioners have increased visibility and community involvement as they advocate for resources to help people experiencing poverty in their districts.