NOC is on a trajectory of expansion in keeping with its strategic goals and priorities for the next five years. Clearly, NOC’s development approach and business model for empowering individuals, families, and communities are showing positive results. By maintaining financial integrity and high quality, demand driven programs, and programs that are cost effective and replicable, NOC has established a solid track record and credibility. The NOC model has recently received national attention for its success, with its results covered in the Wall Street Journal Market Watch, “Making an Investment in At-Risk Kids,” and Real Clear Markets, “Unlearning World Bank Lessons to Fix Local Poverty.” But NOC’s greatest asset continues to be its strong presence in low income neighborhoods, connection with people in these neighborhoods, and introduction of important service providers into these neighborhoods through its programs.
NOC’s commitment to its mission, outreach programs, and the people it serves was put to the test as it addressed the problem of eviction by the new owners of Bluffton House (Aspen Square Management) in mid-2013. Because of its integrity, commitment, and perseverance, NOC was able to renegotiate a contract to stay at Bluffton House by renting one apartment. NOC’s aim is to add another apartment in 2014. NOC is highly indebted to the residents of Bluffton House, the local media, the Town of Bluffton, Lowcountry Presbyterian Church, and the Bluffton community for their support to help NOC retain its program center at Bluffton House. The Bluffton House case shows that together we can make a difference.
In the next five years, NOC will continue to bring educational programs, technology, and health screenings to people with limited pathways to academic and economic success. At the outset of 2014, NOC will focus on the following strategic goals over the next five years:
goal one: Expand NOC’s Program Centers from 3 to 7 to include additional neighborhoods in Beaufort and Jasper counties. Neighborhoods for expansion will be identified in collaboration with local school districts. (Add another 300 students.)
goal two: Improve pre-school (< 5 years) children’s readiness to enter pre-K, improve academic performance outcomes of children in K through Grade 8, and empower non-English speaking individuals in low-income neighborhoods to become functional in English language. (Supporting outcome goals set by BCSD and United Way)
goal three: Improve the health of people living in low-income neighborhoods through outreach, health screenings, referrals, education, and case management. (Target 500 persons annually.)
goal four: Increase NOC’s annual budget from $375,000 in 2013/2014 to $500,000 in 2014-2015, and sustain an average 25% annual growth rate through FY2020.
goal five: Promote NOC’s brand, business model, and results through aggressive marketing, especially in support of fund raising.
In close, I want to thank Ally McNair, NOC’s Vice Chair for her hard work and commitment to NOC’s mission. She has strengthened NOC’s leadership significantly. I also want to extend my special thanks to NOC’s Board of Directors, NOC staff and volunteers, funding agencies, private donors, and friends for their support of NOC. Each day, my personal commitment to NOC’s mission and programs grows as I witness success stories of children and adults from low income neighborhoods, as well as when I see the struggles of people, including children and women, in neighborhoods such as Cordillo Courts, Hedges, and Woodhaven.
Again, together we can make a difference.
Best wishes for 2014.