Inclusion and building community partnerships amongst priorities
Friday March 18, 2011 — Lisa Bailey
The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) new, five-year strategic plan follows five overarching themes.
They’ve been identified by BACI’s board of directors, senior management team and the board of BACI’s Sharing Our Future Foundation, based on strengths-based discussions with four groups — people with disabilities served by BACI, families, staff members and community stakeholders.
The themes include: social and economic inclusion; a healthy, appreciated and connected workforce; prosperity, person- and family-centredness; and community partnerships.
Executive director Tanya Sather says developing a strategic plan is an exciting process as it “gives everybody a chance to refocus and come together and decide what the priorities are and what’s important for the organization.”
The themes represent “the soul of BACI,” executive director Richard Faucher says, with operating plans that set actions to foster these goals constituting the mechanical body of the organization.
“Goals are part of quality improvement, part of what we do, like the DNA of BACI,” Richard says.
Some themes carry over from the previous strategic plan for 2006-2010, including social and economic inclusion for people supported by BACI.
This theme closely reflects BACI overall mission of inclusion through innovation, so people who have disabilities are full and equal participants in society.
This goal means not only active involvement in community organizations, activities and events but also contributing economically as people with meaningful employment who work for and spend their dollars, Richard says.
Tanya notes that employment was an important point amongst those who participated in the grassroots consultative process.
She says BACI must look at how it leverages its assets as an organization but also help families “figure out a way that they can look at their own assets and how they can leverage them as they raise their sons and daughters to be less reliant on government.”
Tanya and Richard note that BACI also strives to continue to be a top employer in the community, which includes succession planning as an organization and at the board level, as well as being reflective of the community to foster greater inclusion.
Richard notes, for example, that it’s important to reflect the culturally diverse community that BACI is a part of, and to treat team members with respect and to recognize their contributions.
Building community partnerships is also key to BACI’s mission.
Richard notes that suppliers, the local board of trade and other community stakeholders, in their consultative session, said they see BACI has a “huge player in our community, a real champion of hospitality and an organization that has tremendous power to influence around inclusion.”
They encouraged BACI to open up and reach out to the community.
Tanya says community partners can help transform the organization.
Resiliency, she notes, is key and “the more people you are in partnerships and relationships with, the stronger you are, especially in a time right now when there are questions around funding and the longevity of social service organizations.
Another enduring theme of BACI’s strategic plan, person- and family-centredness, applies to plans, thoughts and actions.
“This goes at the heart of what we do, which is quality of life,” Richard says, with BACI’s efforts measured against the question of, “Are we making an impact on the people that we serve in terms of improving their quality of life?”
With the themes set, senior managers develop operational plans for regular intervals. The first plan for the next three and six months is to be presented to BACI’s membership at a March 17 meeting.
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