At Onward, we know whom we work for: the homeless, children and families, our planet — the same people you work for. Your mission is our mission, and it demands the best work and best value.

A selection of recent clients includes:

Strategy and Organizational Development

Campaign For Youth JusticeWith staff, Onward conducted a SWOT analysis, created the organization’s first logic model, identified 2-3 year strategic priorities, and created vetting criteria to focus its operations. Onward worked with the board to make critical decisions.  Today, Onward is working helping staff operationalize it’s strategic plan into individual workplans.

Escola Das Nacoes Onward conducted an assessment to ascertain each department’s priorities and alignment with the school’s five-year strategic plan.

Friends of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
 After a thorough review, Onward presented to the board an analysis of its  historic mission, vision, and goal language; presented content from comparable organizations; and facilitated a discussion and revision of these critical elements.

Onward’s second phase of work will help the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to draft a strategic plan that restructures its stewardship and educational programs to meet the needs of its core beneficiares efficiently and that includes fundraising goals, strategies, and tools.

Higher Achievement Program
 Onward provided a multi-year  comprehensive strategic and operational plan for the organization’s national expansion, including

  • Staffing plans
  • Fundraising
  • Project management
  • Executive coaching

ISTA Foundation: With generous funding from the NEA Foundation, the Indiana State Teacher Association (ISTA) contracted Onward to conduct a study of the ISTA Foundation to clarify its strengths, challenges and opportunities; and to make recommendations on how the ISTA Foundation could develop. To inform this process, Onward benchmarked national NBCT data, assessed comparable foundations, researched changes in Indiana’s political environment and their impact, conducted a landscaping of Indiana’s educational funding and interviewed leaders from philanthropy, elected office and ISTA staff, board members and educators.

Learning First Alliance With thought partnership funding from the NEA Foundation, Onward worked with the Learning First Alliance to:

  • Understand member perceptions by examining the organization’s competitive landscape; comparative advantage; and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
  • Redefine its vision, mission, and values collaboratively with the board of directors
  • Develop goals and strategies for an annual plan
  • Create assessment indicators per strategy to track and assess progress
  • Develop an accountability model to track critical metrics and to keep the board of directors informed about the organization’s progress

Mundo Verde Public Charter School (MVPCS): Onward researched and wrote extensive case studies on School+ programs in the United States. The work involved working with board and staff to: define criteria, prioritize research, secondary and primary research and drafting case studies. Onward provided a summary presentation for the Board of Directors on the research and the related learnings for Mundo Verde’s future planning.

National Education Association (NEA) Health Information Network AKA Health Futures: Onward conducted a logic-modeling workshop for all staff, drafted the organization’s logic model, drafted logic models for each NEA HIN department, and provided strategic insight on interim planning, building capital and prioritizing opportunities.

The Fishing SchoolOnward managed a comprehensive strategic planning process including

  • Materials review
  • Stakeholder surveys
  • Benchmarking
  • External perception audit
  • SWOT sessions
  • Board self-assessment
  • Strategic plan development
  • Staff work planning

Management and Program Excellence

Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) Onward coauthored the Academic Success Program for middle school students and the Leadership and College Readiness Program for high school students. This included

  • Writing curricula
  • Creating performance measurement tools
  • Training
  • Staff coaching
  • Recruiting staff

CollegeTracks Onward identified key strategies to build the College Success Program. We also

  • Recruited new talent
  • Created the organization’s first annual report
  • Provide ongoing transition support

Higher Achievement Program Onward developed the Higher Achievement Alumni Program plan, including

  • Identifying and interviewing alumni and key stakeholders
  • Developing an Alumni Council
  • Providing event support

Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School Onward organized a thorough conversation with Mundo Verde’s parent community using cutting-edge technology to collect, share, prioritize, and address parents’ concerns related to a planned campus relocation.

Washington Literacy Center With funding from the MARPAT Foundation, Onward worked with staff to focus the organization’s mission and audience and build a comprehensive logic model and accountability model.


Anonymous Onward reorganized the development department, including

  • Conducting an audit and benchmark study
  • Creating strategic and operational plans
  • Correlating staff work plans
  • Designing a new staffing chart
  • Searching for new talent
  • Mentoring staff

fhi360 sought to better understand the private philanthropic landscape for Early Childhood Care and Education and its Disabilities Programs answering questions like:

  • Who are the big investors that support Early Childhood Care & Education and Disabilities in the US?
  • What program areas are they supporting? (What, where, who, how much?)
  • What are the trends & future opportunities and where could FHi360 programs fit in?

Onward assessed fhi360’s development materials, interviewed staff and funders, answered the questions above and provided a robust vetted list of potential supporters in priority order.

Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter SchoolOnward conducted an assessment of the development department and directed the candidate search process to hire Mundo Verde’s first development manager.

NEA Foundation Onward conducted a high-level assessment of NEAF’s fundraising activities and drafted strategic fundraising recommendations for the organization.  The work comprised a deep dive into all organizational materials, board and staff interviews, a benchmarking study of other fundraising departments, SWOT analysis, and primary & secondary research.

N Street Village Onward conducted a full-scale audit of N Street’s development department, drafted a 5-year results driven strategic fundraising plan, developed goal-centered staff workplans by fundraising area, and coordinated the search for its director of individual giving.

See Forever Foundation and Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools
 Onward completed a development audit and crafted strategic and tactical development plans.

Thought Partnership and Coaching

America Scores Onward conducted several Q&A brainstorming sessions, documented all thinking, combined it with research and helped develop critical plans and materials. The final product was a succinct PowerPoint with high-level graphics and text that summarized where America SCORES has been, what they’ve accomplished so far, where they need to go in the future, and recommendations on how they can get there.

Campaign For Youth Justice
 With staff, Onward conducted a SWOT analysis, created the organization’s first logic model, identified 2-3 year strategic priorities, and created vetting criteria to focus its operations. Onward worked with the board to make critical decisions.  Today, Onward is working helping staff operationalize it’s strategic plan into individual workplans.

Inspired Teaching SchoolOnward provided diverse strategic support as needed. Projects have included the development of an annual calendar, conducting staff workshops and providing counsel.

Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter SchoolOnward has an ongoing thought partnership contract with Mundo Verde to provide diverse strategic support and coaching as needed. Projects have included

  • Benchmarking
  • Hiring staff
  • Creating job descriptions
  • Developing an operations plan
  • Work planning with all Senior staff
  • Training on stages and changes in organizational development
  • Revising organizational management structures and authorities

DC Employment Justice CenterOnward provided coaching services to senior staff.

Talent and Transitions

Human Capital:

At Onward, we feel a deep knowledge of the organization is essential when recruiting the right staff for each organization.  Therefore, we prioritize current clients for all recruitment efforts.

Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School
 Onward managed the search process to hire Mundo Verde’s first Development Director.

N Street Village Onward managed to search process to hire N Street Villages first Manager of Individual Giving.

NEA Health Information Network Onward managed the search process to replace HIN’s Development Director.

Interim Staff

NEA Health Information Network Onward placed an interim development director onsite to manage fundraising activities, organize the office, and support the recruitment of a new development staffer.

Crisis Management

 Onward explored a confidential nonprofit takeover. In a highly confidential environment, we

  • Assessed assets and liabilities
  • Recruited potential candidates with the interest and capability to execute a takeover
  • Presented a slate of candidates to the client