Messages from the Chair
Narendra P. Sharma, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors
Below are some of my thoughts and priorities for 2013.
The transition from 2012 into 2013 marks neither an end nor a beginning … it is simply part of a continuum of ongoing change. For NOC, this represents an opportunity to grow and progress.
In retrospect, 2012 was an excellent year for NOC. But our work has just begun and the challenges we face remain formidable if we are to make NOC highly relevant as a local community development organization. We face two formidable challenges that must be addressed because of moral, social, and economic considerations and because of their impact locally.
- There is a serious level of poverty in a number of neighborhoods in Beaufort County (affecting 14% of the county’s population).
- A significant proportion (35% to 40%) of the new majority in public schools (nearly 11,000 African American and Hispanic students) needs help in order to meet school standards, remain in school, and graduate on time with the right skills and knowledge; most of these children live in low income neighborhoods.
NOC is moving in the right direction to address these challenges. Clearly, NOC’s strength lies in its mission, business model, and core programs (education, health services, and workforce development), and, more importantly, in its ability to generate results efficiently on the ground. NOC must build on this strength as it moves forward.
To this end, NOC will focus on …
- growth — targeting programs that have high payoffs and outcome (e.g., pre-school, K through Grade 5, health screenings);
- continuous positive results to help those who are in need, especially the children;
- connection with people in targeted neighborhoods by building trust and respect;
- strategic partnerships with key agencies to leverage resources, services, and knowledge/information to help the poor and those in need; and
- integrity in how NOC conducts its business.
In 2013, NOC will continue expanding and improving the quality of its core programs. While education will remain NOC’s flagship program, we will concentrate on the following priorities:
- Use existing strategic plans for implementation of pre-school, K through Grade 5, 2013 summer program, and ESL programs in Bluffton and HHI; re-introduce middle school program in HHI and Bluffton on a pilot scale.
- Complete establishment of the VL Rotary supported Virtual Learning Center in Oaks and place more emphasis on technology in order to focus on education goals.
- Execute 3 to 6 health screenings in HHI and Bluffton and support at least 9 to 12 health workshops relating to health care (including PASO programs), nutrition, dental care, and pre-natal care.
- Strengthen NOC’s field team by hiring a Program Manager for Bluffton PC and two AmeriCorps members to support field operations.
- Add 3 new members to NOC’s Board and make NOC’s organization more effective and impact-oriented through a training program and a matrix of responsibilities for Board members.
- Utilize the $20,000 grant strategically to raise capital ($200,000) linked to NOC’s programming and budgeting for 2013.
- Establish health services and minority affairs committees to concentrate on strategic plans, policies, performance, and improvement of operations, following the model of the Education Committee; these committees will present their findings to the Board in a timely manner to improve decision making and quality of NOC’s programs.
- Strengthen NOC’s capabilities for monitoring program impacts by establishing a performance matrix with clearly defined performance indicators (outputs/outcomes) and a database in partnership with the BCSD.
- Promote NOC’s brand, business model, and results through aggressive marketing, especially in support of fund raising; prepare a new NOC brochure and make Constant Contact fully operational; and use social media (especially Facebook) for networking and informing others.
We are optimistic about NOC’s future and we expect 2013 to be another excellent year with impacts on the lives of many people, especially children in low income neighborhoods.
Happy New Year!