The Master Plan

Hello uu community,
It is my pleasure to present to you, our annual Founder’s First Of The Year letter – wrapping up our year and launching the new one with our 2018-2019 Master Plan.  It’s crazy but the beat from Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid in Full,” is in my head as I say the term “Master Plan,” to myself.  So, to honor that, I’ve decided to weave in their genius into my brief letter. I know you must be thinking, Erik B & Rakim? And to that I answer, Yes. Some founders quote Steve Jobs, or some other well known captain of industry.  Me, I respect Eric B & Rakim’s wisdom, and find it relevant to my journey as a social entrepreneur, so, let’s start our mission….
First, I’d like to announce 3 things before I summarize the Master Plan.
#1. I’m deeply grateful for all of you. From the folks that shop regularly to the folks that donate, you are our rock. Also, I’m grateful for many angels  that have crossed uu’s path, from Bob Lycette to all of you beautiful folks that contributed to our first Gofundme, to Jill, Kellie, to our volunteers Sandy, Diane, Levy, Laura, JP, from Amir Saadiq to our board of directors, urban university has a beautiful and strong community. We made it through the pivot of shifting our enterprise into a more sustainable scale while expanding our housing services, I know we made it because of you. Rakim, asked, after naming all of the people that support him in his work,  “Okay, so who we rollin’ with then?” I understand his sentiment, in my mind and heart, it’s quite clear that “we’re rolling with you.”
2. This year, I completed the Social Enterprise Executive Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School Of Business. There, with other social entrepreneurs from all around the world, I took a deep dive into the world of ‘creating a business for social good, & fell in love. One concept stuck with me, human- centered design. I immediately applied this new knowledge, for the first time in the history of urban university.  Eternity, one of our single moms in our current program, sat at the strategic planning table. While we stand on 20 plus years of experience and work in the community, adding the direct voice of our participant, was a fundamental shift for us. Rakim said it best, “But now I learned to earn, cause I’m righteous.” Yes, adding Eternity’s voice, was a righteous
move for our organization.
3. Two of our families that transitioned from our programs 1-2 years ago, have reached long term positive outcomes. One single mother is now a permanent mail carrier for the US Postal Office, and one single Dad has obtained permanent, affordable housing with his children.
With that, because we are highly motivated by the successful outcomes experienced by our folks as a result of our programs, here’s our True North, our Master Plan: 1) Financial Stability, because, “ without no money, it’s still a wish,” 2) Sustain Current Programs, 3) Expand Volunteering, & 4) Begin the Planning Process for Growth because, “I don’t like to dream about getting paid.” While we made it through the pivot, we have opportunities and hurdles ahead. Improved lives for our moms is our mission, take my word for it ~ they are worth the investment of our collective time, energy & resources.
And with that, we need you.  Please stay connected through our new website www.urbanuniv.org, Insta @urbanuniversityoakland and  Twitter @ UrbanUnivOakland. Additionally, keep on top of our photo documentary via www.thebeaconoflight.org. We invite you to be directly engaged in our mission. It is my hope that for our mothers’ sake,  you will answer all of the applicable calls, from us for your support.

In closing, you all know me well. You know I work everyday, to light the way.  You also feel my devotion to this beautiful plan to scale jobs, housing & support for courageous single mothers departing from poverty.  So, I leave you with this, I believe Eric & Rakim when they said, “If I strive, then maybe I’ll stay alive.” I’ll respectfully add and personalize that statement,  “If we all strive, we’ll keep this mission alive.”
Let’s try….

On the behalf of our moms, mission and leaders,

Happy New Year!