Urban Alliance’s mission is to empower under-resourced youth to succeed through paid internships, formal training, and mentorship. When Urban Alliance first partnered with Orr Group in mid-2017, it had recently received a $10 million Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant to scale its work over the next five years in its current four regions, and to expand its impact to an additional region, with the goal of doubling the number of students it serves.

A key focus area for Urban Alliance was to enhance and augment its national corporate and foundation partnerships program. To kick off the planning process, Orr Group undertook discovery to understand Urban Alliance’s key programmatic priorities and five-year strategic plan, as well as prospect research to determine potential funders active in the youth employment space. In developing a plan to enhance Urban Alliance’s corporate partnerships program, we looked for creative new ways to deepen and broaden relationships with current funders and job partners. We also worked to put in place systems and processes to ensure that Urban Alliance’s relationships with regional philanthropic funders in its target regions were being leveraged as effectively as possible.

As our partnership broadened and deepened, our embedded team worked closely with Urban Alliance’s staff to refine and test its case for support to help crystallize the “ask” for current and potential funders. Orr Group synthesized this research to determine Urban Alliance’s current state and made recommendations to guide Urban Alliance’s fundraising efforts to grow its budget.

Our priorities shifted to focus on the Obama Youth Jobs Corps (OYJC), a partnership of Urban Alliance and the Obama Foundation targeting underserved Chicago youth. We worked to expand existing corporate partnerships and facilitate new relationships in Chicago that could generate both internship opportunities for students, as well as increased philanthropic support.

Our evolving partnership with Urban Alliance has been built on a high level of trust and mutual respect. Over the course of more than nine months:

  • Urban Alliance’s national funder prospect pipeline tripled in size through prospect research and outreach
  • Orr Group finalized a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound) Development Plan to guide Urban Alliance’s fundraising efforts over the next two years, and
  • We established a pipeline of potential OYJC Signature Partners and developed benefits and stewardship plans to cultivate and steward these high-level partners.

Working with Orr Group, Urban Alliance’s national funder prospect pipeline tripled in size through prospect research and outreach.