Building Community Engagement And Change Through Strategic Planning


Companies are always happy when they get to build a long-term relationship with a client. The ability to see the client’s vision approached over a multi-year arc offers an opportunity to get to know the substantive work that underlies the vision, and it allows the strategic advisory team to serve in a number of roles. Such has been the case for my company, Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC. Our team first collaborated with The Alliance for Health Equity (formerly the Brandywine Health Foundation) in late 2018 at the request of Vanessa Briggs, President and CEO. Our focus was the completion of the three-year strategic planning process for the foundation, which opened in 2001 to serve the Greater Coatesville community.

Instead of the typical top-down approach, we quickly found that we were in agreement that an intentional process would center the community, particularly those that have been most marginalized. We paired a comprehensive community engagement process that made it possible for hundreds of residents to identify community needs, along

with an invitation to local and regional thought leaders to share their expertise alongside these larger community efforts. The shared thoughts, suggestions, and insights all informed the final plan, which included three core strategic priority areas: Integrated Services, Healthy Environment, and Community Voice.

The team at The Alliance for Health Equity was prescient in its approach. Their deeper roots in the community and efforts to think very differently about how to meet needs helped the Alliance team pursue multiple directions to support the Coatesville community, including during challenges and disruptions associated with the global pandemic and Hurricane Ida. In late 2021, the Board of Directors confirmed the ongoing efficacy of the strategic plan and approved the development of a business plan to operationalize ongoing sustainability. In doing so, the Alliance team created space to consider options beyond traditional grantmaking, e.g. mission-aligned investment using trust-based philanthropy. This robust approach has the potential to increase The Alliance for Health Equity’s ability and capacity to cultivate innovation that moves beyond charitable giving to sustained community investment.

Our team is grateful to be on this journey with the Coatesville community and The Alliance for Health Equity. Just as we were excited to help create a very different way to develop a strategic plan, so is the case for this fascinating business planning process. This time we have three years of community data and insights, understanding collected from two years of using the strategic plan, and a new Think Tank that includes local, regional, and national thought leaders, some with extensive mission-aligned and or social impact investing experience to help guide and inform the process and decision making. We are in the process of compiling all that we have learned, and the draft plan is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Directors at its March 2022 retreat. This will mark an important inflection point in The Alliance for Health Equity’s history. This process will provide multiple pathways for engaging individual donors who have been with The Alliance for Health Equity since its founding, while for the first time creating large multi-faceted cross-sector relationships and co-investment strategies.

Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC has had the good fortune of collaborating on many long-term, large-scale projects. We value the chance to support organizations and communities. We appreciate Vanessa Briggs and the Board of Directors, as well as their vision and leadership for a Coatesville community that meets the needs of all of its residents. Thank you for inviting us to partner.


Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC is a certified National Supplier Development Council Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Small Business Administration (SBA) Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), and Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) woman-owned company. The company is comprised of a suite of brands, including TDB Group Strategic Advisory, a management consulting firm, as well as Looking Forward Lab, which offers a full-service learning engagement model focused on Gen Z workplace development and support for their managers.

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