Opinion » Guest Opinion

USES Vision 125

Friday Oct 19, 2018

Submitted by Maicharia Z. Weir, President & CEO, Lytle Julia Johannsen, Board Chair

United South End Settlements (USES), founded in 1892, has served the rich, diverse, and ever-evolving South End community for over 125 years. Today, the South End is considered vibrant and welcoming by many. However, micro-segregation has created barriers that continue to mask the struggles of many of our neighbors.

The South End has the greatest wealth disparity in the City of Boston, with 41% of residents living in subsidized housing and 36% of children living below the poverty line. In our continued effort to deliver on the vision of our settlement house roots — an inclusive and welcoming community where neighbors come together and lift each other up — we began a rigorous strategic planning process in August of 2016 to align our limited resources with programs that provide the greatest impact and outcomes for children and families living in poverty.

The Vision125 strategic planning process, led by a team of Wellspring consultants, engaged over 100 stakeholders in exploration of the following questions:

  • Who is our target population?
  • What is our intended impact? How do we achieve this impact?
  • How do we align our real estate to achieve our impact?
  • What is our business model to achieve impact?
  • What are our strategic priorities?

    Over the past 125 years, USES has learned to reinvent and revitalize our organization to continually meet the needs of the community through eras of change. We believe that as families stabilize and take advantage of opportunities for advancement, their children are better able to develop the skills needed for educational and workplace success in the 21st century, which will ultimately allow them to break the cycle of poverty.

    In May of 2017, the board voted on USES's renewed mission — to harness the power of our diverse community to disrupt the cycle of poverty for children and their families. With this cornerstone, we are focusing on four priorities that are outlined in our Strategic Plan, evolving our program model, demonstrating our impact, creating state-of-the-art facilities, and building a sustainable future.

    Together, we have the capacity to set children up for a bright future. As we move forward in uniting community to strengthen families, our friends and supporters will be vital to our success.
    We invite you to join our movement. You can read our Strategic Plan at www.uses.org/vision125/