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Building the Future with Wesley House Student Residences

At the nexus of affordable housing, wraparound services, and food assistance, Wesley House Student Residences offers a unique approach to making the higher education experience more equitable for low-income students in San Diego County.

With 75% of college students identifying as people of color - a population disproportionately affected by college poverty - the community need is great. Thankfully, opportunities abound for this small nonprofit filling an important gap in higher education student services.

Wesley House first came to SVP with their eyes on the horizon. They had just welcomed new Executive Director Lisa Norombaba, and all around them the landscape of the San Diego State University campus was changing with new construction breaking ground what seemed like daily.

The need for their programs was greater than ever and opportunities to grow their impact called left and right. Where should they begin? SVP Partners Michael Dowlan (Lead) and Brad Kleban rolled up their sleeves and put on their hard hats to step into the construction zone with Wesley House to build a visionary five-year strategic plan.

With an eye toward process, SVP Partners accompanied Wesley House Leadership over the course of nine months. The team worked with both the nonprofit’s staff and board members to assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges and determine strategic alternatives to take the organization where it wanted to go. Following a directed research study, three teams comprised of board members, each presented a business case for strategic opportunities at an all-day offsite board retreat. SVP Partners concluded the day by leading a visioning activity to help Wesley House identify their top priorities for the future.

"Both Michael and Brad, each brought a unique “outsider” perspective which helped encourage creative thinking” - shared Executive Director Lisa Norombaba.

The strategic plan is not only a long-term vision for the organization, but a blueprint for how to achieve Wesley House’s goal of providing wraparound services to an even greater number of low-income college students, ensuring they are able to complete their higher education journey, experience future success and give back to their communities.



Do you too, bring a unique perspective as an outside nonprofit leader? Consider joining SVP to use your deep experience in the field and help build the future of organizations like Wesley House. Learn why other Partners decided to join SVP on our webpage.

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