In July 2020, the Streams Community Hub (Streams) Board of Directors began developing a set of strategic directions for our growing organization.
We recognize the importance of a focused plan that sets out clear priorities, directs our efforts and resources, and ensures alignment with our mission and vision. Now in our fourth year, Streams has grown in size and reputation. This plan provides direction for the next five years, setting the foundation for a visionary and vibrant future.
A dedicated group of volunteers, the Board is responsible for the governance and stewardship of Streams. We are committed to nurturing a sense of significance, value, and purpose through the arts for children and youth in Shelburne and across North Dufferin County. Through the provision of arts-based programming for school-aged children and youth—from kindergarten through to high school—Streams enhances the well-being of our community through creativity, learning, and opportunity.
As we began to envision our future, we turned to our broad community of stakeholders. It was essential for us to gather the thoughts, ideas, and input of those who regularly interact with Streams. We also wanted to connect with those who may be newer to the organization. This way, we could ensure the plan reflects and responds to the needs of those we serve now and in the future as we grow. We were inspired by the level of commitment and engagement from all, including volunteers, artists, youth, partner and community organizations, churches and faith groups, donors and funders, and the general public. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and critiques—for being open and vulnerable in a way that will help us continue to grow.
We are deeply committed to pursuing these four strategic directions. Together we will continue in our mission to ignite purpose through the arts. We invite you to join us!
Juli-Anne James, Board President
Streams is an arts-centered, youth-focused registered charity. Founded and based in Shelburne, Ontario, we serve the region of North Dufferin County. Over the past three years, through the provision of seasonal creative arts camps, we have served over 200 children. We are on a mission to ignite learning, inspire youth, and enrich the community through the arts. From July to November 2020, Streams engaged Laridae, a management consulting firm, to guide the Board of Directors through a strategic planning process, leading to the adoption of a five-year strategic plan. Our thanks to the Community Foundations of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program for the grant to support this important work.
The strategic planning approach, based on best practices for non-profit organizations, supported the Board of Directors throughout the process as they championed the planning and provided oversight in developing the final strategy.
The planning process involved significant stakeholder engagement. Before making any decisions, the Board of Directors created a process that reached out to engage and listen to Streams’ community of stakeholders—those who regularly interact with the organization, and those who may be newer to Streams, including volunteers, artists, youth, partner and community organizations, churches and faith groups, donors and funders, and members of the communities in which Streams exists.
Their feedback served to strengthen and shape the conversations that followed. By engaging stakeholders, Streams is ensuring that this strategic plan is informed by experience, evidence, and the broadest-held perceptions of all those we serve, and hope to serve.
Engagement strategies to solicit input included focus groups, key informant interviews, and an online survey. Throughout the engagement phase, from August 31 to September 27, 2020, input and feedback were gathered from 230 stakeholders, including:
- 195 respondents to the online survey
- 31 focus group participants
- Four key person interviewees
The focus groups, key informant interviews, and online survey had two general purposes:
- To engage stakeholders by gathering input, ideas, and suggestions; and by including them in the planning process directly and in a meaningful way.
- To educate stakeholders about and promote the work of Streams (as a positive legacy of the planning process).
The themes identified in the engagement process were core elements that helped guide the Board of Director’s thinking leading up to and during the strategic planning retreat on October 28 and 29, 2020. From the perspective of Streams’ most valued stakeholders, several themes emerged as areas where the organization excels or could grow and improve with a newly developed strategic plan. They were:Communications
- Fund Development
- Physical Space
- Partnership and Community
At Streams, we commit to continuing to provide innovative, exciting, and accessible programming for Shelburne and North Dufferin County. We aim to nurture a sense of significance, value, and purpose—through arts education, opportunity, and inspiration. To further this, we will focus on expanding our program offerings beyond summer and holiday camps, to after-school and year-round programming. We will build even stronger relationships with our partners, to foster a more cohesive community and to strengthen and enrich our collective capacity. We will continue to offer diverse programs for a diverse community, ensuring a welcoming, safe, inclusive environment. We take pride in finding arts facilitators who are at the forefront of their craft and practice, who make it their mission to continue learning, and who bring that energy and knowledge to the children and youth we serve.
Over the next five years, we commit to Vibrant Arts Programming and Partnerships through:
- Programming: Assessing, refining, and expanding our program offerings to ensure they are impactful, high quality, relevant, and offered year-round. We will engage children and youth, and local artists, in our program planning processes.
- Strategic Partnerships: Building reciprocal, collaborative relationships with non-profit and public sector organizations, to offer joint programming, explore and leverage one another’s expertise, and expand community capacity.
- Facilitation: Regularly reviewing and recruiting artists to develop and facilitate programming, ensuring they are aligned with Streams’ vision, work well with children and youth, are skilled in their craft, and invested in giving back to their community.
- Artists: Providing space in our community, along with a platform to empower artists to share their art and traditions, connect with aspiring artists, sharpen their professional practice, and inspire others.
- Accessibility: Exploring and implementing, on an ongoing basis, new ways in which to be more accessible and flexible in meeting client needs.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Fostering inclusion through the arts while ensuring our programming and spaces are welcoming to everyone.
Our future will see us move from rented and borrowed spaces into a purpose-built youth arts hub that will be the envy of communities many times our size. This vision is a bold but achievable one. We are determined and committed. We aim to create a safe space for children and youth to play, learn, grow, and discover, while providing a stage for artists to share, connect, and inspire.
The only way to achieve this is through collective effort and a collaborative investment in a future that isn’t limited by the size of our town—only the expanse of our imagination. We are grateful for the generous support we have been shown so far, and we commit to prudent stewardship of the funds we raise. We are dedicated to moving forward, in alignment with our core values, and building a strong, diversified revenue base that will ensure our sustainability for decades to come.
Over the next five years, we commit to A Bold, Sustainable Organization through:
- Resources: Securing our fund development efforts, including resourcing for a fundraising staff person, to help develop and execute on a philanthropic strategy and a clear, convincing brand story and case for support.
- Interim Space: Ensuring the funds and partnerships are in place to expand into a space for year-round programming, until the vision of a purpose-built youth arts hub is achieved.
- Donor Base: Developing a dedicated donor base, by initiating, building, and cultivating relationships with individuals who share Streams’ vision.
- Capital Campaign: Developing and launching a capital campaign to finance a purpose-built youth arts hub.
- Diversified Funding: Building a diversified base for our program and operational funding needs that includes a mix of social enterprise, grants, core funding sources, and annual giving.
At Streams, we will continue to clearly articulate our vision and develop compelling communications that connect emotionally and move our stakeholders and community to support us. As leaders, we understand the importance of clear, consistent, professional communication. Through captivating storytelling, authentic engagement, and impactful, consistent communication channels, we will build on our strong reputation to further Streams’ awareness and reach across North Dufferin County. We will actively engage with our audiences and listen in an open, trusting, and transparent manner. We will ensure our programming continues to have a positive impact as our community expands and evolves in the years ahead.
Over the next five years, we commit to Creative, Compelling Communications through:
- Communications Planning: Developing and executing on an annual communications plan that ensures we are communicating in a way that is relevant to the needs of each of our varied stakeholder groups.
- Branding: Strengthening and leveraging our brand in an authentic, professional, proactive manner, ensuring clarity in how we describe ourselves, those we serve, and building trust with our broader community.
- Community Engagement: Building and deepening relationships with all stakeholders while developing established processes for gathering and sharing feedback.
- Storytelling: Telling our story in clear, compelling, and aesthetically pleasing ways that further our mission and increase our presence and visibility across North Dufferin County.
- Agility: Ensuring our communications maintain the relevance that we have established by finding ways to engage with our stakeholders—especially youth and artists—that are creative, bold, and always safe.
As our organization continues to grow, we will develop the business processes and systems necessary to professionalize and formalize, while ensuring we remain responsive and flexible. We commit to finding the right people and skillsets to build our team—individuals who are aligned with the vision that drives our organization and who are committed to upholding our values. We will ensure that volunteers, staff, and Board members have what they need to be successful, to ensure a safe and welcoming environment, to strengthen our collective capacity, and to build Streams’ resiliency. Through a continuous feedback cycle, we will ensure our program quality best meets the needs of the community, incorporates arts education best practices, and continues to evolve as needs and interests grow and change.
Over the next five years, we commit to Foundational Processes and Systems through:
- Talent Management: Developing and implementing a talent management plan to meet the current and anticipated staffing needs of the organization. This includes staff and volunteer recruitment and retention, alongside the attraction and retention of a paid, professional leader—our inaugural executive director—for the organization.
- Systems: Developing and strengthening clear organizational policies, procedures, and structures that will help our organization run smoothly, including foundational pieces such as human resources, health and safety, risk management, privacy, and financial management.
- Governance: Growing our Board and ensuring strategic Board renewal to align our expertise with the changing needs of the organization.
- Training and Onboarding: Developing and implementing onboarding and training for volunteers and staff, with clear accountabilities, roles, responsibilities, and expectations.
- Evidence and Data: Ensuring our decisions are supported with a feedback cycle by collecting meaningful data and implementing regular improvements in a deliberate, inclusive, and reflective manner.
Created with images by pyrech - "forest tree nature" • blickpixel - "wood board structure" • Pexels - "books college cover" • garageband - "abstract art background"