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Congreso de Latinos Unidos: Strategic Planning to Strengthen Programs

In August 2008, Metis Associates completed a strategic planning effort for Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a community-based organization in North Philadelphia. Congreso, the largest organization serving Latinos in Pennsylvania and one of the largest of its kind in the country, is nationally recognized for its programs addressing children and youth, employment, health, and neighborhood and family development. It is particularly focused on the causes of high unemployment in the Latino community, such as high drop-out rates, low levels of education, and language and health barriers.

With a grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Congreso engaged the Philadelphia office of Metis Associates to help it strengthen its programs. In particular, the organization wanted to identify successful, evidence-based programs undertaken by other organizations serving similar populations. Following a series of interviews with key staff to understand Congreso's current programming, Metis began to research those programs that the organization could replicate or learn from. Metis staff mined databases of government, university, and nonprofit research to identify successful projects. They then homed in on which ones would be most appropriate for Congreso and made recommendations about how the organization could develop or modify its current programs, establishing clear outcome goals. For example, Metis helped Congreso determine what type of after-school programs would be most likely to lead to positive outcomes for youth and established a framework for measuring participants' academic success and behavior in school.