Change is uncomfortable but not unnavigable.
Navigate rather than eliminate challenges. See choices clearly and make difficult decisions with informed confidence.
what we offer
Research-based strategy and management consulting for the 21st century social sector.
nimble

Whether your interest is increasing margin or social impact, we integrate strategy into all of our work. Our rigorous business planning process takes into account market opportunities, publicity and promotion, financial modeling, scenario planning, brand positioning, competitors, start-up, and operational costs.

  • Strategic business planning
  • Board transformation
  • Executive search
  • Leadership-level facilitation
  • Custom research
Executive Search and
Board Transformation
Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission driven organizations. View Opportunities
Classes and
Workshops
Join our weekly cohort-based leadership program or connect for personalized options. Learn More
They are really great social scientists.

Potrero Group excels at pulling together disparate pieces of information: surveys, literature review, different sources of information, and putting it into a coherent, comprehensible statement of what’s going on right now.”

— Susan Newton, National Park Foundation
how we work

We understand our clients' unique challenges and opportunities; for us this is a driving passion.

entrepreneurial

We take on only a limited number of clients at a time and give them our complete focus and attention. We work as a team and are dedicated to achieving the highest quality results.

who we work with
partnering
Our focus is on supporting innovative leaders and organizations making a difference in the world.

We understand the power of networks and relationships. Our team routinely navigates complicated private, public, and nonprofit alliances. We have long-standing relationships with foundations, social enterprises, and game-changing innovators across the country.

Clients
  • Alaska Geographic Association
  • American Rivers
  • Audubon Delta
  • Big Bend Conservancy
  • Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy
  • California Council of Land Trusts
  • California League of Park Associations
  • Catoctin Forest Alliance
  • Center for Ecoliteracy
  • Center for Food Safety
  • Center for Plant Conservation
  • Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership
  • Chabot Space and Science Center
  • City of Sonoma
  • Conservation Law Foundation
  • Crystal Cove Conservancy
  • East Bay Environmental Network
  • Eastern National
  • Forever Balboa Park
  • Friends of Anacostia Park
  • Friends of Cedar Mesa
  • Friends of the Smokies
  • Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Gateway Arch National Park
  • Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Grand Canyon Conservancy
  • Grand Teton Association
  • Groundwork DC
  • Groundwork USA
  • Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
  • Hispanic Access Foundation
  • Jefferson National Parks Association
  • Lincoln Presidential Foundation
  • Local Government Commission
  • MarinCAN
  • MCE (Marin Clean Energy)
  • National Forest Foundation
  • National Outdoor Leadership School
  • National Park Foundation
  • National Park Service (Washington Support Office)
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Nature Fund National Parks
  • Open Space Institute
  • Outdoor Afro
  • Pacific Historic Parks
  • Park City Scholars
  • Parks California
  • Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation
  • Peninsula Open Space Trust
  • Pulse Point
  • Redwood Parks Conservancy
  • Resources Legacy Fund
  • Rock Creek Conservancy
  • S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
  • San Francisco Bay Joint Venture
  • Sempervirens Fund
  • Sequoia Parks Conservancy
  • Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship
  • Sonoma Land Trust
  • Western National Parks Association
  • Western Rivers Conservancy
  • Zion National Park Forever Project

Innovation means looking for solutions beyond the known—seeing past the status quo to find an entirely new way to approach a challenge.

our team
learning
Our skill at distilling complex concepts and research into understandable, actionable plans, reports, and tools is demonstrated by our body of work.

Our team has spent many years analyzing and evaluating organizations and programs from the nonprofit, government, and for-profit industries. We have sophisticated expertise in research methods, data collection approaches, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and modeling. We are based in the San Francisco Bay Area and regularly work on projects nationwide.

Cleveland Justis
Amy Shea
Daniel Student
Andrew Leider
Stephanie Duncan Karp
Jena Kuznik
Karli Cowman
Stephane Alexandre
Grace Olechowski
Amy Jiang
Sherifa Holder
Keith Rosenliao
Gina Morris
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Principal
Cleveland Justis
MBA, PhD

Cleveland is the founder and principal of the Potrero Group. An accomplished organizational leader in entrepreneurship and the environment for the past 25 years, Cleveland has worked and consulted widely with startups, businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and governmental organizations, including the National Park Service, Resources Legacy Fund, and Grand Canyon Conservancy. He currently teaches Social Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. 

Cleveland’s expertise spans strategic planning, business planning, board development, public/private partnerships, entrepreneurship, network analysis, and innovation. He was formerly the executive director of the UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and co-founded and served as director of the Institute at Golden Gate. He also held executive level positions at Headlands Institute of NatureBridge (formerly Yosemite National Institutes) and the National Outdoor Leadership School. Cleveland served as board chair of the Marin Community Foundation (over $2 billion in assets), as a board member of Net Impact, an organization with a global network of more than 15,000 leaders who are changing the world through business, and as a commissioner of the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission. 

Cleveland has earned an MBA and PhD from UC Davis and is a sought-after thought leader and speaker, regularly presenting at dozens of national conferences including Net Impact, the Ahwahnee Conference, the Environmental Forum, and the Agricultural Institute of Marin. 

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Managing Director, Executive Search
Amy Shea

Amy Shea joined Potrero Group as a Managing Director in 2023. With more than 15 years of experience in executive search and career coaching, Amy has deep expertise with mission-driven clients in the nonprofit and social impact sectors. She has provided strategic talent guidance to clients nationwide in a variety of fields, including education, health and wellness, arts and culture, youth and family services, environment, and agriculture. She specializes in recruiting engagements at the highest levels, including CEO, Executive Director, President, and other key senior leadership positions.

Prior to joining Potrero Group, Amy led social impact and nonprofit searches at Korn Ferry, ZRG Partners, and Koya Partners, a Diversified Search Group, as a Managing Director (ZRG Partners, Koya Partners) and a Managing Consultant (Korn Ferry). Her clients have included Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Farmer Veteran Coalition, Geisinger Marworth, Green Dot Public Schools, Lincoln Hall Boys Haven, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, Massachusetts Department of Education, Mothers' Milk Bank, New York State School Boards Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, REFORM Alliance, Sephardic Home for the Aged Foundation, and WomenHeart.

Over the years, Amy served as both an executive recruiter and career coach for Koya Partners, guiding senior leaders in transforming their careers. Earlier in her tenure, she established and led the firm’s Career Services practice, coaching and inspiring individuals on various career services topics to feel empowered and invested in achieving their career goals. 

Previously, Amy served as Associate Director of Recruitment and Selection at the Broad Center, where she recruited executive leadership talent nationwide to become the next generation of urban school district leaders. She began recruiting at Bain & Company, where she managed the company’s internship and experienced hire recruiting programs. In addition, Amy spent several years overseeing and increasing awareness of internship programs at both Boston University and Emerson College as well as counseling students and alumni. She began her career in media relations at Citigate Cunningham, where she successfully managed national media relations and strategic communications programs for major high tech and consumer companies.

Amy holds a B.A. in Humanities from Providence College, where she volunteered as a Career Peer Advisor in the Office of Career Services. She volunteers with nonprofit organizations focused on education and the empowerment of women and serves as a yoga and meditation guide with a passion for teaching individuals in transition.

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Senior Consultant & Director of Business Development
Daniel Student
MBA

Daniel serves as a Senior Consultant and Director of Business Development for Potrero Group. He has been a cultural, environmental, and social sector leader for over fifteen years and brings a unique cross-section of creative and business strategy to his work. His previous leadership positions included serving as Executive Director for Plays & Players Theatre and Administrative Director for International Performing Arts for Youth. Daniel has also served as a theater director of over thirty plays, from which he draws facilitation and innovation skills to bring to his client work. 

Daniel's Potrero Group clients have included Outdoor Afro, North Cascades Institute, Audubon Delta, and Chabot Space & Science Center, for which he has led strategic planning, new program development, board transformation and executive search. Notably, Daniel led Potrero Group’s engagement through Resources Legacy Fund to provide program management to the development of California Natural Resource Agency’s 30x30 strategy to conserve thirty percent of the state's lands and coastal waters by 2030.

Daniel co-created a series of courses on Multinational Crosscultural Teams for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education on Coursera, for which he authored and designed the curriculum. Daniel also co-authored a business case with Potrero Group Principal Dr. Cleveland Justis for the 2020 University of California SIEML leadership program for African American and Latina/o undergrads on Outdoor Afro’s new business ventures and with UC Davis Michael and Joelle Hurlston Presidential Chair Dr. Shannon Anderson on strategic cost management decisions made by community-driven food company The Town Kitchen during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. He won the global 2020 PwC/U21 Innovation Challenge for his presentation on the future of education to prepare students for jobs in a green economy. He has also co-presented at the Unite For Sight Global Health & Innovation Conference, Public Lands Alliance Conference, the Land Trust Alliance’s Rally Conference, and was the closing session co-keynote for the California League of Park Association’s Conference & Training.

Daniel received his MBA at U.C. Davis Graduate School of Management (GSM), where he was the recipient of the Newberry Distinguished Fellowship Award for Leadership, the largest privately funded fellowship awarded to two Full-Time MBAs who exhibit long-term CEO potential, as well as the Brad Atwood Scholarship for Social Responsibility.

 

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Managing Director
Andrew Leider

Andrew is the managing director of Potrero Group. He specializes in program design, leadership strategy, and project management for organizations in transition. Andrew is the founder of two nonprofit educational organizations and a past director with the Orfalea Foundation and senior manager for Outward Bound, On The Edge Productions, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.                    

As senior program manager with the Institute at the Golden Gate, Andrew was instrumental in the development of Healthy Parks, Healthy People, a groundbreaking program linking parks with underserved, high health-need communities. He also was a leader of Food for the Parks, a program supporting the NPS’ adoption of healthy food standards for concession contracting.                    

A lifelong advocate for connecting people with the natural world, Andrew conceived and launched Climate in the Parks, a national program to promote science and climate change literacy through public lands. He has led transformative learning processes for organizations and individuals for more than 20 years. Andrew holds a somatic coach certification from Strozzi Institute and a degree in history from Gustavus.

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Director of Communications and Marketing
Stephanie Duncan Karp
MFA

Stephanie Duncan Karp is Director of Communications and Marketing. She joined Potrero Group as a writer, researcher, and senior consultant in 2013. Stephanie's consulting clients have included the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, California State Parks, Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Clean Energy, and Resources Legacy Fund, among others. She employs creativity and collaboration as her primary tools.

Prior to joining Potrero Group, Stephanie directed Healthy Parks, Healthy People programs at the Institute at the Golden Gate. These initiatives leveraged parks and public lands to address societal issues and community needs. She helped catalyze "park prescriptions," a movement connecting public lands to our healthcare system, and launched the National Park Service's Healthy Parks Healthy People US initiative nationwide. As proof of concept, she founded Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area, a collective impact initiative of over 40 public lands, public health, academic and corporate partners to increase park use and enjoyment for the health and wellbeing of all San Francisco Bay Area residents. Following this work, she facilitated and drafted the National Park Service's Urban Agenda, repositioning NPS as a community partner that collaborates beyond park borders to serve local needs. She received her BA from Swarthmore College and her MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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Senior Consultant
Jena Kuznik
MEM

Jena Kuznik is a senior consultant with Potrero Group. Her work has primarily focused on recruitment for nonprofit leadership. She coordinates Potrero’s search and hiring process for thought leaders and non-traditional candidates for executive roles. In addition to her work with Potrero Group, Jena has managed projects for organizations focused on sustainable agriculture, water resilience, and environmental philanthropy. She specializes in developing collaborative partnerships between diverse actors to create broader impact.

Previously, Jena worked in agricultural investment as an operational risk analyst focused on sustainability and safety. Before that, she worked on the land as a cowgirl in New Mexico and Australia. Jena received her BS in international agricultural development from UC Davis and her Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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Consultant
Karli Cowman
MA

Karli (she/her/hers) is a consultant at Potrero Group, a strategy and management consulting firm for park partners and conservation nonprofits. She is a leader on Potrero Group’s executive search team and is passionate about deconstructing and dismantling reinforcing systems of oppression in organizations and removing barriers to access to support equity, inclusion, and belonging outdoors. For over ten years she lived and worked on Coast Miwok, Ohlone, and Southern Pomo indigenous land in the Golden Gate National Recreation area, where she connected youth to the natural world as an Environmental Educator and Youth Development Program Manager. As an intersectional environmentalist, she is interested in the overlap of environmentalism and queerness. 

Karli’s executive search projects have included Forever Balboa Park - CEO, Environmental Volunteers - Executive Director, Outward Bound California - Executive Director, Zion Forever Project - CEO, Jack London Park Partners - Development Director, National Forest Foundation - Chief Marketing Officer, National Outdoor Leadership School - CFO. She has her MA in Organization Development from Sonoma State University.

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Associate Consultant
Stephane Alexandre

Steph is an Associate Consultant with Potrero Group. Stephane supports Potrero Group project planning and management by conducting high-level research and analysis of client materials. Her background is in analyzing political systems and movements in academia. 

Previously, Stephane was the administrative coordinator at the Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School. In addition to supporting the leadership team, she coordinated with the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum and the Fellows and Study Groups Program to support scheduling and meeting planning. Stephane focuses on building relationships, coordinating high-level events, and coordinating partners to ensure effective processes. She also worked as a staff assistant at the Harvard Global Health Institute, supporting operational logistics for research and programmatic teams. 

Stephane has supported research, operations, and communications across a variety of Potrero Group projects including National Outdoor Leadership School, Zion Forever, Lincoln Presidential Foundation, and Parks California, among others. She received her BA in International Relations and Community Health from Tufts University.

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Consultant
Grace Olechowski

Grace is a Consultant at Potrero Group. She conducts strategic planning, board development, and financial modeling. Her recent clients include Aquarium of the Pacific, Veggielution Community Farm, Outdoor Afro, and the National Park Service Partnerships Directorate.

Grace served in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer and has eight years of experience leading high-performance teams, managing multi-stakeholder programs, and implementing inclusionary and equitable change management initiatives. As a ship driver and department manager, Grace trained and led teams through complex at-sea operations and managed the cross-functional operations of 60 Sailors during two overseas deployments. She served as the Women in Special Operations Forces Program Manager at Naval Special Warfare, where she regularly implemented organization-wide change management policies and developed sustainable training program structures to ensure the equitable integration of female special warfare operators.

Grace’s advocacy for inclusion, first cultivated in her military career, is threaded throughout her experiences as an impact consultant. She has worked as a business consultant for the National Park Service, where she completed a strategic analysis of Tribal Partner co-stewardship practices at Arizona parks and developed an accompanying tactical decision-support playbook to aid park superintendents in deepening co-stewardship efforts. As a voluntary strategy consultant for Start Lighthouse, a non-profit dedicated to narrowing youth literacy gaps by building inclusive educational experiences for children in the Bronx borough, she assisted in developing an accessible financial model and pricing strategy.

Grace received her MBA from UC Berkeley. She has completed the university’s Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business and volunteers as a Leadership Coach for undergraduate students enrolled in a course focused on high-impact teams.

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Associate Consultant
Amy Jiang
MBA

Amy Jiang (she/her/hers) is an Associate Consultant with Potrero Group. She previously worked at UCSF Cancer Center as a surgery coordinator, where she delivered exceptional care by navigating patients through complex procedures. Additionally, she has served as a mental health case manager at a community-based clinic, working to improve the quality of life of AAPI older adults. Through her extensive experience in healthcare, she developed a passion for advocating for underserved communities. She hopes to use this lens to contribute to a more sustainable and just future. 

She received her BS in Psychology at UC Davis and her MBA in Sustainable Solutions at Presidio Graduate School, where she leads the Net Impact Club as Chapter President. Amy placed as a graduate finalist in the 2022 Intentional Endowment Network's Corporate Engagement Competition, which fueled her interest in ESG investing and allocating resources toward public good. She is bilingual and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese. Outside of her professional and academic life, Amy enjoys long-distance running and hiking.

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Associate Search Consultant
Sherifa Holder
BA

Sherifa Holder (she/her) is an Associate Search Consultant at Potrero Group. Prior to joining Potrero Group, she was a research assistant at m/Oppenheim Executive Search, where she brought critical thinking and attention to detail to the role. A former court researcher, Sherifa brings invaluable quality assurance and data processing skills to our team. Sherifa has a passion for nonprofit and public sector organizations fueled by her volunteer experiences, including Safe House, OpenHand, and acting as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children. She holds a BA in Political Science from Georgia State University.

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Consultant
Keith Rosenliao
MBA

Keith is a Consultant with Potrero Group. He has been a public lands and sustainability consultant for over five years, serving as an internal consultant with National Park Service's (NPS) Business Management Group and as the external Lead Technologist on Booz Allen Hamilton’s NPS consulting team. His previous work includes leading the development of a strategic plan for the NPS Facility Planning Branch, analyzing transportation data to forecast visitation for NPS’s Alternative Transportation System, and developing an improved strategic planning and business process for NPS’s Strategic Facility Investment Plan.

Keith is an entrepreneur in the outdoor recreation space, and founded the first commercial climbing gym in Ithaca, NY. He now owns and operates the gym remotely. Keith is a Guest Lecturer at Cornell’s Master of Health Administration program, teaching Data Analytics using Python to students in an annual intensive weekend class. He also teaches a local entrepreneurship workshop for Cornell’s Big Red Microenterprises club.

Keith was previously a practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy. He has worked with over 1000 patients and now applies his communication skills to interview key stakeholders and staff for Potrero Group client organizations. He received his MBA at Cornell University, with a focus on Sustainable Global Enterprise.

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Consultant
Gina Morris

Gina is a consultant with Potrero Group. She is a consultant to nonprofit and for-profit organizations looking to improve their organizational effectiveness and long-term sustainability. She has over 20 years of experience across nonprofits, foundations, K-12 schools, universities, and technology start-ups. As a CEO, Gina led strategic growth, organizational priorities, and management for a nonprofit organization serving educators, youth organizations, families, and students. As Vice President of Programs for a Silicon Valley EdTech company, Gina managed strategic partnerships and designed initiatives to improve daily operations across international engineering teams and education, marketing, and program departments. She has also served as a nonprofit board member and currently serves on the PTA Board and School Site Council for a Berkeley, CA public school.

Gina has also worked as adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education, a curriculum and product design director at Stanford University, a middle school dean, and a classroom teacher for grades 3-6. Gina is a graduate of California State University where she earned a B.S. in Psychology, and of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, where she earned a master’s degree in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies.

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Advisory Council

The Potrero Group Advisory Council is a group of industry-leading professionals providing guidance, expertise, and opportunity to enhance the quality and impact of the work we provide.

Leyna Bernstein
Founder/Senior Advisor, Leadership Search Partners
Miguel Gavaldón
Coalition Facilitator
Board Chair, Buck Trust, Marin Community Foundation
Jon Jarvis
Former Director, National Park Service
Marianna Leuschel
Creative Strategist, New Agency
Rue Mapp
Founder/CEO, Outdoor Afro
Lisa Maulhardt
Executive Vice President, SYPartners
Julie Pierce Williams
Founder, Kirtan Solutions
Former SVP, National Park Foundation
Former Senior Advisor, Department of Interior
Steve Schroeder, MD
Professor, UCSF
Former CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Wilford Welch
Former Board Chair, NOLS and NatureBridge
Potrero thinks deeply about social processes and people.

Collaboration has been around forever, but there is now a changing understanding of what that means. We must work together in networks. If an organization can position itself in the context of what others are doing, they can have bigger impact.”

— Gary Knoblock, S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
your results
intersection
We value and embrace cross sector collaboration.

Our team has worked closely with large and small organizations from national park units to regional governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and hospitals. We have deep experience in public-private partnerships and actively lecture and write about social enterprises. Click on one of the images below to read a case study of one of our projects or download one of our reports.

Philanthropic Impact Assessment
Transforming Public Institutions
Defining Market Position
Financial Analysis of Nonprofits
Feasibility and Business Planning
New Organization: Concept to Launch
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National Park Foundation
National Park Partners: Status and Trends
Context

The National Park Foundation (NPF) works within a large network of local park partners throughout the country. Potrero Group conducted a qualitative and quantitative analysis of 216 nonprofit partners that support the National Park Service (NPS). The objective was to help both NPF and NPS better understand these partners and their needs.

Insights
  • Local partnerships benefit from national coordination. 
  • Different segments of this network have different needs and capacity. 
  • Strengthening the network, rather than investing in each individual organization, builds the overall capacity of the partner network.
Results

Potrero Group's research helped to characterize and analyze the structure and scope of the NPS partner community. The research identified opportunities to enhance NPS’s and National Park Foundation’s engagement with partners. One of the outcomes of the work was the development of common assessment metrics for partners’ outcomes, growth, and sustainability.

Download Final Report (1.41 MB PDF)
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Transform SDC
Sonoma Development Center: Site Transformation Study
Context

A coalition led by the Sonoma Land Trust and Parent Hospital Association sought novel approaches to transform a closing state institution in Northern California. The strategic analysis and research accounted for social issues, regional contexts, local and statewide political climate and community interests.

Insights
  • The planning process needs to engage the community and include critical stakeholders.
  • The process should include significant high-level state, corporate, and/or national leadership.
  • Financial self-sufficiency must be at the core of planning.
  • A powerful vision for transformation attracts financial and volunteer resources.
  • Alternative governance structures can enable the site to transcend limitations of traditional development and/or government ownership.
Results

Potential models were developed for an innovative, community driven public-private partnership at the Sonoma Developmental Center. The client and its coalition learned best practices for transforming large public institutions for new uses. They were able to bring innovative practices and relevant examples to discussions with state agencies and legislators.

Download Final Report (1.84 MB PDF)
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Marin Clean Energy
Energy Efficiency Business Plan
Context

MCE utilizes an entrepreneurial public-private partnership model (community choice aggregation) that is transforming clean energy delivery. MCE needed to present a business case to state regulators in support of the organization's ability to compete with larger utility providers in the energy efficiency market.

Insights

MCE has a tailored approach to customer engagement which allows them to provide flexible energy efficiency solutions and unparalleled service delivery. Potrero Group helped MCE demonstrate that their deep market knowledge and high levels of customer service differentiate their business model from other service providers.

Results

MCE moved forward to expand the scope and scale of their energy efficiency programs with confidence. State regulators now have a powerful tool to evaluate the energy efficiency contributions of MCE and other organizations that elect to use a similar model.

Download Final Report (8.27 MB PDF)
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Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership
Napa County Nonprofits at Work
Context

The Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership and the Napa Valley Coalition of Nonprofit Agencies sought to understand the economic and social impacts of the nonprofits in Napa County. Potrero Group conducted a mixed method analysis of 634 nonprofits in Napa County and delivered a report detailing findings and recommendations for further research and community engagement.

Insights

Nonprofits and those who support them are more effective when they:

  • increase investment in nonprofit infrastructure, leadership development, and training
  • raise the community's understanding of the important role of nonprofits in Napa County 
  • expand the sector’s philanthropic capacity, reach, and focus
  • continually assess current and projected needs of the community
  • influence policy through advocacy for the nonprofit sector and the stakeholders it serves
Results

Nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, and government partners now have a tool and a common language to discuss the role, impact, and needs of local nonprofits and the community at large.

Download Final Report (2.57 MB PDF)
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Resources Legacy Fund
Parks California Feasibility Study & Business Plan
Context

In 2015, the California Parks Forward Commission recommended creating a new nonprofit organization to support California parks statewide. Potrero Group was engaged by Resources Legacy Fund to complete a feasibility study and subsequent business plan for the proposed organization. The first phase assessed statewide need and clarified the proposed organization's mission scope, partnership approach, and structural considerations. The business planning phase evaluated operations and revenue scenarios and helped decision-makers and funders select a desired business approach and scale of operations.

Insights

Potrero Group’s feasibility study confirmed the California Parks Forward Commission recommendation that a new organization was needed to bring added resources, expertise, and flexibility in support of a visionary, world-class park system in California. Potrero Group’s business plan proposed a model that will synthesize a strong project and program approach with an effective platform for philanthropic, public, and project-related funding. Initially, it will rely heavily on philanthropy and funds from projects and will build credibility and momentum by demonstrating success. In order to succeed, the organization will need a strong partnership culture, clarity of purpose, and engaged and effective board members and staff.

Results

The new organization, Parks California, will fill an important role by assisting the California Department of Parks and Recreation with pressing systemwide priorities. It will also help to amplify the vision and values of California’s parks to a broader community, anchor the system as political administrations and priorities change, and welcome new supporters and constituencies. Parks California will help to grow overall support for parks rather than cut into existing resources, and expand the role parks can play in the lives of Californians and visitors.

Parks Support Organization Business Plan (3.61 MB PDF)
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Pacific Historic Parks
Pearl Harbor Institute
Context

An internationally recognized national park wanted to develop cutting edge educational programming. The project was an outcome of a public-private partnership between NPS and its philanthropic partners. Potrero Group helped guide the project through initial inquiry and feasibility, narrowed the scope of the project with stakeholders, developed a business plan, and supported the launch of the new organization.

Insights

As stakeholders evaluated different business and program models, three core principals emerged. The institution would:

  • strengthen national parks as places of learning that develop American values, civic engagement, and citizen stewardship
  • use leading-edge technologies and social media to effectively communicate with and capture the interest of the public
  • collaborate with partners and other education institutions to expand National Park Service education programs
Results

The Pearl Harbor Institute launched in the spring of 2014 and the first executive director was hired in the fall of 2014. Programming began in the spring of 2015.

Download Final Report (4.54 MB PDF)
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Learning Resources
Books, articles, websites and other resources that inspire us.
Show All Strategy and Strategic Planning Current Opportunities Business Planning Coming Soon Public Private Partnerships Recent Searches Leadership Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaboration Networks
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Collective Impact
Collective Impact on the Ground
Cracking the Network Code: Four Principles for Grantmakers
Current Issues In Social Entrepreneurship: Funding and Finance
Emergent Learning: A Framework for Whole- System Strategy, Learning, and Adaptation
Facilitating Generative Gatherings
Food for the Parks
Four Network Principles for Collaboration Success
Go Tell It On The Mountain: Ways To Measure Collaboration
Guide to People Management During COVID-19
How Adaptive Strategy is Adapting
How to Put the Fun in Fundraising (and bring in much more money for your non-profit)
Model Behavior: 20 Business Model Innovations for Sustainability
Park Prescriptions: Profiles and Resources for Good Health from the Great Outdoors
Pay-What-It-Takes Philanthropy
Recombinant Innovation
Six Theory of Change Pitfalls to Avoid
Social Entrepreneurship at the Nexus
The Big Lie of Strategic Planning
The Dynamic Board: Lessons from High-Performing Nonprofits
The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs
The Science of What Makes People Care
The Smart Talk Trap
The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Strategy.
Understanding New Power
Why the Lean Start-up Changes Everything
Anticipate. The Architecture of Small Team Innovation and Product Success
Best Practices and Tools for Working Remotely
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers and Challengers
Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate
How Google Works
Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World
Sustainable Innovation: Build Your Company's Capacity to Change the World
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change
Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life
What to Do When it's Your Turn (and it's Always Your Turn)
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Harvard Business Review
Insights on Innovation: A Presentation at SOCAP
Seth’s Blog
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Working with Consultants
Newsletter Archive
Insights and announcements from past issues of our newsletter.
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