The MLC Group Serves the Homeless With Strategic Planning

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Providing a meal and needed supplies are great ways to serve the Homeless in our communities. The MLC Group has also lent its innovative strategic planning skills to help.

The Harvest Center never had a Strategic Plan. We had a lot of history to respect while considering needed changes to help the organization move forward. We also acted as a thought partner through their leadership transition - Lee Connellee, CEO

The MLC Group, LLC announces the successful completion of an 18-Month pro bono project for the Harvest Center, a non-profit that provides food, clothing and transitional housing to the homeless community. As volunteers who helped cook and serve meals, Melanie and Lee Connellee, founders of The MLC Group, a management consulting firm, saw a need for this growing organization to define its Vision and build a comprehensive business model to help it effectively move to a new level of service in the community. As the Harvest Center was going through extensive leadership and governance changes, The MLC Group saw it as a strategic time to formally define and document the Organization’s Vision, Mission and Guiding Principles. They spent 18 months meeting with the Board, Executive Leadership and the Staff of the Harvest Center, to develop a 2020 Vision and Comprehensive Strategic Plan to help achieve that Vision.

“Working with the Harvest Center over this extended period of time has been a wonderful experience, said Melanie Connellee, MLC President. As volunteers, we saw first hand the value this organization brings to the community, knew the stories of the lives that are changed here, and we were glad to help it develop a formal organizational infrastructure that both inspired and energized the Board and Executive Team as well as gave it a detailed roadmap to achieve its new goals.”

Lee Connellee, MLC’s CEO added, “This was an extended project for several reasons. First, the Harvest Center has been in operation for over 20 years and never had a Strategic Plan. We had a lot of history and tradition to respect and honor while considering needed changes to help the organization move forward. In addition, the Harvest Center was going through extensive leadership and governance changes. We acted as a thought partner during that time – and when the new leadership was finalized, we then moved forward with a greater focus and solid teamwork. It’s been an honor to work with the Harvest Center in this capacity.”


On any given night in Charlotte, like most urban areas, there are thousands of people who are defined as homeless. Hundreds are sleeping outside, under a bridge, in a park, or by an uptown office building. According to The 2012 Charlotte Point-in-Time Count, a homeless count performed annually by Charlotte Mecklenburg County, 2,567 people are homeless in our community.

The Harvest Center’s giftedness is in the area of personal transformation. Their Relational and Transformation Services provide opportunities for structure and personal growth allowing their guests lives to be transformed into ones of faith, service and productivity. They seek to operate in awareness of the other services available in the community, collaborate and partner to leverage those services, and strive to offer unique and relevant programs that enhance the overall mission of serving the homeless in Charlotte.

Services Provided by the Harvest Center

To serve the homeless in the Charlotte community, The Harvest Center began as a feeding ministry. Since its inception it has added other Engagement Services such as a food pantry, a clothing distribution service and transitional housing. It’s positive impact on the community is indicated in the chart above. Between 2005 and 2010, The Harvest Center served approximately 400,000 meals and distributed approximately 100,000 boxes of groceries as well as 70,000 items of clothing. Relational and Transformational Services such as Counseling, Achiever’s Class and Job Readiness programs are underway or being developed as part of this Strategic Plan.

In January 2011, Melanie Connellee and Lee Connellee, of The MLC Group, offered to work with the Executive Director to facilitate a long-range strategic plan for the organization. The goal was to target the development of programs and infrastructure to support a greater Vision incorporating Relational and Transformation services in addition to the Engagement Services currently offered. A strategic planning task force (STF) was formed to complete the plan and report regularly to the Board of Directors. The MLC Group agreed to facilitate and lead the strategic task force through a comprehensive planning process.

The STF decided that the focus moving forward should be to clearly define the Harvest Center 2020 Vision, revise and validate its Mission Statement as well as document the foundational principles on which it would operate.

In August of 2012, the Comprehensive Strategic Plan was completed along with an Execution Dashboard (which includes detailed goals, strategies and tactics) that the Harvest Center Board and Executive Director will begin using to implement and achieve their new Vision.

About The MLC Group

The MLC Group – Because business needs clarity.

The MLC Group is a new breed of hybrid management consultants who bring innovative ideas and creative thinking strategies to organizations that want to change the way they do business in the 21st century. The firm specializes in delivering world class strategic planning and facilitation services to executive teams using its proprietary VSE ProcessTM. Their services are designed to bring clarity to planning for the future as well as managing the day to day.

The MLC Group specializes in helping organizations solve complex issues, navigate change, plan for the future and develop strategic plans that include a clear execution strategy.

Founded in 2009 by Melanie Connellee and Lee Connellee, The MLC Group brings deep experience facilitating the strategic planning process from current state initial data collection and analysis to vision definition, strategy development and then tactical execution. Working with a variety of organizations from start-ups heading to IPO’s to international corporations, The MLC Group brings unique insight, innovation and creativity into the strategic planning process.

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