Transforming Nonprofit Funding

Published: July 26, 2017


The conference room overflowed as people piled in to hear from Homestretch. Those that couldn’t find an open chair lining the edges of the room spilled into the hallway. Others buzzed through the entryway with coffee and breakfast pastries. Everyone was gathered to hear about the partnership between Northwestern Mutual, Ecosystems, and Homestretch. Homestretch, a nonprofit in Falls Church, Virginia, is transforming the lives of homeless parents and children by equipping them with the resources, skills, and education they need to become self-sufficient.

The event began with an introduction from Christopher Fay, Executive Director of Homestretch. Chris talked about the importance of receiving funding from corporate donors. Alternative funding—particularly government funding—is diminishing for nonprofits like Homestretch, creating a critical gap in resources. In order to continue transforming the lives of families, Homestretch needs funding from corporate donors—such as their valued partner, Northwestern Mutual.


In order to build strong and sustained relationships with corporate donors, Homestretch is working with Ecosystems to implement Strategic Business Reviews. Northwestern Mutual has offered to participate in the inaugural use of the Strategic Business Review with Homestretch. Northwestern Mutual is generously giving their talent (financial planning and resources), time (through volunteering), and treasure (financial support) to Homestretch. The Strategic Business Review platform will allow Homestretch and Northwestern Mutual to more effectively track, assess, and measure the value their partnership creates. Northwestern Mutual plans to grow in this capacity with Homestretch in the future.

Nick Yow, Value Consultant at Ecosystems, presented the Strategic Business Review platform at the breakfast. A key part of the platform is the ability to co-create a partnership roadmap (below), where Northwestern Mutual lays out the past, present, and future direction they wish to take and Homestretch aligns to key performance metrics around those activities.  The result is a tangible roadmap focused on outcomes and value that both parties believe in:

The energy in the room was palpable as we discussed the platform and potential use for other nonprofits in the future.

Northwestern Mutual, Homestretch, and Ecosystems not only have a vision to transform the lives of many families—but also have the vision to transform the funding model for nonprofits.  By operating with a focus on outcomes, nonprofits and corporate donors can create lasting, meaningful relationships.

About the Author

Megan Hays

Megan Hays

Megan is a Marketing Manager at Ecosystems. She is passionate about identifying and communicating the unique value of a brand through a variety of channels. Megan holds a B.A. in English and Communication Studies from Grove City College.