Capstone Courses and Projects
United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York Volunteer and Leadership Development Division
The Volunteer and Leadership Development Division (VLDD) of UJAFederation of New York is a department dedicated to encouraging volunteerism through UJA-Federation and its network of agencies. Each year, VLDD works with thousands of volunteers to link them to activities and programs, educational opportunities, and leadership positions related to the work of UJA-Federation and its network of agencies. The Capstone team analyzed the structure of lay leadership development through UJA-Federation by evaluating the current successes and failures of the lay leadership development program using personal interviews with lay leaders and UJA-Federation professionals. The research process focused on commonalities among the individuals who have made their way to the top lay leadership roles. Using this data, the team recommended changes to the structure of leadership development activities, in order to recommend enhancements to VLDDs training and education agenda and strategy. The final deliverable included a series of recommendations for restructuring and improving the delivery of these programs, including recommendations for implementation. VLDD will use these recommendations to inform their decisionmaking process for future lay leadership development activities.
UJA-Federation of New York and Jewish Board of Family and Childrens Services
The Capstone team prepared a multifaceted marketing plan for the Shira Ruskay Center (SRC) of the Jewish Board of Family and Childrens Services. SRC provides endof- life care services for Jewish residents of New York City. Through interviews, focus groups, and environmental analysis the team created a seven-step marketing plan that identifies three main target groups: patients and families, service providers, and gateway institutions. The Capstone team also developed an implementation plan that outlines a calendar of diversified marketing activities for the next three years. This strategy is centered on the development of mutually beneficial relationships with partner agencies and professionals to increase referrals to SRC. These activities are supplemented by community-based publicity, intra-agency referral, and advertising in local media.
1199 National Benefit Fund
The 1199 National Benefit Fund for Hospital and Health Care Employees (NBF) asked the Capstone team to evaluate its Member Choice Program (MCP). The MCP is one of two main health care plans offered to 1199 SEIU members. The primary objective was to determine why enrollment in the MCP was not higher. Steps taken to achieve this objective included providing an overall evaluation of the MCP, analyzing program data and report cards provided by the NBF, and suggesting multiple options for NBF to administer and manage its health care program(s) more cost effectively. In addition, the Capstone team identified model networks and suggested next steps for the client to pursue.
Grand Street Settlement
In response to the changing demographics of its community, Grand Street Settlement asked the Capstone team to create a business plan for an early child development center to serve students and families across socioeconomic boundaries. While Grand Street has significant experience and proven success in providing Head Start and Early Head Start programming on the Lower East Side, it does not have any private pay clients. The proposed center would have a mix of students with a 60/40 ratio of private pay to publicly subsidized students. The Capstone team developed a business plan and corresponding budgets to help determine the feasibility and shape of the center. The plan includes an analysis of the current market, demographic data and demand, real estate costs and trends, and financial considerations and strategies for management and operations and marketing. It also highlights potential risks.
The Mayors Office to Combat Domestic Violence
The Mayors Office to Combat Domestic Violence formulates polices and programs, monitors the citywide delivery of domestic violence services, and works with diverse communities to increase awareness of domestic violence. The Capstone team helped assess the effectiveness of ongoing anti-domestic violence programs among key New York City agencies. The team interviewed representatives from nine city agencies and one nonprofit organization to evaluate current domestic violence policies and strategies, domestic violence indicators used to measure outcomes, and systemic barriers to the coordination of domestic violence services. Based on these findings, the Capstone team recommended strategies to increase collaboration and coordination of services among agencies and proposed the development of an information management system connecting multiple databases to improve quality control and outcome-based reporting.
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
With the assistance of a Capstone team, the Parks department has begun development of a 10-year capital plan. This plan is a reflection of the departments commitment to honor the needs of its constituents and ensure that it has the appropriate financial requirements needed to meet both departmental and public goals. The Parks Department enlisted the Capstone team to examine vision statements that were collected from the Parks Commissioners from all five boroughs. These statements were the basis for the evaluation of the facilities and requests from each community. This plan is the first attempt of the Parks Department to compare cost figures against the visions for each facility. When completed, it will guide the capital allocation of funds in order to maximize resources for the public good. Intended as a public document, the capital plan will drive conversations with elected officials and granting agencies as well as city, state, and federal agencies.