The 2022 Ebell Strategic Plan – Next Steps

Posted by Randi Jones and Patty Lombard

October 3, 2022

Ebell Board retreat June 16, 2022


At the June 2022 Board meeting, an updated strategic plan which builds on the foundation of our 2019 plan was approved by our board of directors. The updated plan was the product of dozens of Ebell  members working together in a Strategic Planning Working Group formed by then President Patricia Lombard in February 2022. Vice President Randi Jones and Board Secretary J. Lee Braly chaired the Working Group. The mission of the group was to update the 2019 strategic plan, creating a clear framework with measurable goals and objectives that would provide a road map for enabling The Ebell to achieve our strategic goals for the fiscal years 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25, and beyond.

Working Group members included President Laurie Schechter, Membership Director LaToya Hearns, then-President Patricia Lombard, Past President Ginger Barnard, and Executive Director Stacy Brightman. Consultants Karen Constine and Allison Sampson, generously funded by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, served as facilitators. Sub-Working Groups including then-current and incoming board members and other key volunteer leaders were formed to focus on five specific areas of the 2019 plan. 

From March through June 2022, The Strategic Plan Working Group and the five Sub-Working Groups identified below held over 30 formal meetings to review organizational goals and needs, update the plan’s goals, objectives, and actions, and create an implementation schedule. They developed these concise goal statements to guide their crafting of objectives and action plans. 

MEMBERSHIP: Engage, grow, and retain membership within the organization.

PROGRAMS & COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Engage members, uplift women, and build community through robust programming and partnership.

BUILDINGS & COLLECTIONS: Preserve, maintain, rehabilitate, and repair the building and grounds.

FUNDRAISING & DIVERSITY OF REVENUES: Increase, diversify, and optimize revenue.

GOVERNANCE & BOARD DEVELOPMENT:Update Governance and the Board structure to reflect the partnership with The Ebell’s Executive Director by migrating the board to at-large board seats with strategic oversight through board committees.

The following members served on the Sub-Working Groups:

Chair: LaToya Hearns
Members: Liza Ameen, Aretha Green, Donna Russell, Rosalie Roth, Anne Lynch, Lizzie Blatt, Denise Parga
Staff: Stacy Brightman, Meredyth Deighton

Programs & Community Partners
Chair: Laurie Schechter
Members: Phyllis Hansen, Amy Sinclair, Krista Kolegraff, Teryl Warren, Julie Barkan, Anne Lynch
Staff: Stacy Brightman, Meredyth Deighton 

Building & Collections
Chair: Christy McAvoy
Members: Marla Felber, Caroline Moser, Amy Green, Lois DeArmond, Amy Vukovich
Staff: Stacy Brightman, Hailey Simmons

Fundraising & Diversity of Revenues
Chair: J. Lee Braly
Members: Lorraine Spector, Fran Varga, Patty Lombard, Kay Balue, Madelyn Murray, Camille Lombardo, Christy McAvoy
Staff: Stacy Brightman

Governance & Board Development
Chair: Randi Jones
Members: Janis Barquist, J. Lee Braly, Ginger Barnard, Jill Bauman, Janna Harris, Julie Barkan
Staff: Stacy Brightman

Based on their work, the Working Group developed the following key recommendations:

1. In order to address leadership continuity of board members and staff, The Ebell should follow non-profit industry best practices and change the current board structure to one with officers and directors at-large who will serve on standing committees.

2. The board should be expanded to allow for greater inclusivity and board terms should be increased to three years.

3. Given the decline in membership during the pandemic, The Ebell must refocus its efforts on growing a diverse membership by offering compelling benefits to ensure a broad leadership pool and support fundraising needs.

4. The organization must prioritize fundraising and revenue generation to raise the $20 million needed to comply with the City of Los Angeles’s mandate to retrofit historic buildings by 2043.

5. The Ebell should engage expert consultants in several areas to help define its future and implement best practices, including marketing and communications, fundraising and campaign readiness, historic preservation/space planning and utilization, technology, and finance professionals.

6. The Ebell should develop a comprehensive marketing and communications plan to more effectively promote The Ebell, its mission/brand, and activities.

7. The Ebell will be more strategic across its focus areas, removing silos where they exist and updating its governance and operations.

8. The Ebell must improve its understanding of actual costs of every activity it sponsors or engages in and increase its capacity to deliver services to members and to the community.


 Actuating the Plan Priorities & Goals

The next step is to adopt action plans and share them with The Ebell membership in order to engage members in implementation of these plans. Further iteration of the plans is expected  as more members become engaged in the planning process. The 2022 plan is intended to serve as a road map for action to fulfill the mission of The Ebell and address the challenges facing the organization. 

Members are the heart and soul of The Ebell and your active participation is not only urgently requested but also essential to our success in the future. We invite you to get involved! Please feel free to email Randi Jones or Lee Braly if you have any questions or would like to get involved.