Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) is a leader in providing critical human services to low-income families in metropolitan Chicago. Its programs include counseling and mental health services, child and youth development, and parent development.
One of the largest local providers—with an approximate annual budget of $30 million—MFS has seven major centers throughout metropolitan Chicago.
Because of expected cost increases and pressure on all funding streams, MFS faced an anticipated funding shortfall of $8 million.
Working in partnership with MFS, BCG’s task was to develop a five-year strategic plan that would align costs with revenues while further strengthening outcomes and impact.
The BCG work revealed that MFS needed to align and focus the services it provides in its seven target communities. The team developed a tool for program prioritization known as the "Five Cs" framework. Each “C” has associated metrics against which programs are scored. MFS first used this framework in 2003 to make program contraction decisions. It continues to use it today for ongoing portfolio decisions, including deciding where to enter, exit, expand, or contract.
By the start of the 2007-2008 planning cycle, there was measurable progress on the four key goals defined in the 2003 strategic plan:
Goal 1. MFS had adopted the Five Cs framework and exited two major program areas as a result.
Goal 2. Policies, processes, and administrative staff positions were streamlined to reduce overhead. In addition, MFS culture was changed to focus on productivity, leading to a 40 percent increase in program productivity over two years.
Goal 3. Outcome-management processes were defined and established.
Goal 4. In 2007, public funding vastly exceeded projections and private fundraising hit an all-time high.
As a result of the progress on the four key goals from the 2003 strategic plan, MFS erased a large shortfall expected for 2007, growing during a period in which its peers struggled. Today, with a reduced cost base, MFS serves a greater number of clients, while maintaining its strong program outcomes and effectiveness.
Its reputation in the community has never been stronger.
In 2007-2008, BCG completed its third strategic planning cycle for MFS. To position MFS for post-recession growth, goals focus on board development to expand private fundraising, strengthen workforce capacity, and deepen program reach within the current portfolio and target communities. MFS leadership is already implementing this latest five-year plan.