Strategic Planning Update
May 18, 2021
The Arc New York Board of Governors unanimously approved The Arc New York Strategic Plan at their April meeting. This plan is an essential framework to move our organization forward with a unified vision and realize our mission to provide people with disabilities the ordinary and extraordinary opportunities of life.  

The goals of our Strategic Plan were developed based on feedback from hundreds of stakeholders at all levels of the organization. Thanks to your input, our path to success is clear, and collaborative efforts to achieve those goals is well underway.  

We will be providing you with quarterly updates on the progress toward our strategic goals. This first update outlines the challenges each strategic initiative is aiming to address, the goals we aim to achieve, and the tactics we will employ to reach those goals. The full meeting minutes can be found here.

This clarity of direction is essential for the success and sustainability of our Chapters, our statewide organization, and the system of supports and services for people with I/DD. We look forward to collaborating with you to implement our plan and realize our shared mission.   

To achieve our mission, we need an engaged workforce committed to working with us, learning with us, and growing with us professionally and personally. Unfortunately, we have experienced years of struggles with attracting and retaining staff at various positions. We have been able to manage them, but as the staffing crisis continues to escalate, we are running out of viable options. We recognize the need for an immediate solution, and are taking decisive and urgent action on this issue.

Based on data provided by the National Core Indicators Staff Stability Survey, 45.7% of DSP’s turnover within their first year of employment. Our goal is to heighten advocacy efforts to ensure pay equity for our field, and develop a comprehensive statewide plan to recruit DSPs and retain them beyond the one-year service mark. To achieve these goals we will

  • Collect workforce data on vacancy, turnover, and staffing impacts to support advocacy
  • Advocate aggressively at the federal, state and local levels for DSP wages and benefits
  • Identify best practices and enhance information sharing internally
  • Engage OPWDD to allow flexibility and regulatory relief to manage staffing shortages
  • Ensure financial stability to allow investment into our workforce
  • Identify program adjustments that will improve revenue streams and flexibilities
  • Develop a comprehensive statewide marketing campaign for DSP recruitment
  • Launch a microsite for job postings and applications  
  • Develop a statewide apprenticeship program  
  • Implement standardized employee training, transferable between Chapters 
  • Design and promote clear and achievable career ladder 
  • Conduct targeted retention surveys to identify and enhance reasons for staff stay to employed with the organization and engaged in the work 

While we continue to realize advocacy successes, we have identified weaknesses in our advocacy system that should be addressed to strengthen and solidify our efforts. The semi-formal advocacy network that exists across The Arc NY does not fully represent or leverage the size and strength of the organization. Roles, expectations and definitions for advocacy are not well-defined. There is no formal document that guides our advocacy efforts for the calendar year by detailing what we want to accomplish and outlining the tools and resources we will use to achieve our goals. Finally, we lack the focus to engage with outside groups and stakeholders other than the ones we have grown comfortable with.  

By implementing improvements to our advocacy framework, we will shift our advocacy efforts from reactive to proactive, position The Arc New York as a primary resource for information and solutions for the I/DD field, and develop a robust and informed advocacy network that can be a mobilized to advocate with a collective voice.  

To achieve these goals we will:  
  • Create set expectations, and recurring activities for our advocacy network 
  • Develop advisory groups on advocacy priorities and tactics 
  • Produce materials to support information provided to network/legislators 
  • Serve as a go-to resource for internal and external stakeholders 
  • Expand online content, media, usability, resource our advocacy network 
  • Modernize our approach to reaching external audiences 
  • Identify and develop Chapter-level or regional family and self-advocacy groups, and connect them to create a statewide network of support and advocacy 
  • Engage our workforce and identify DSP leaders 
  • Foster productive relationships with government, especially state agencies where direct relationships lack 
  • Collaborate, partner and advocate with organizations outside of our immediate sphere such as law firms, community businesses, not-for-profits, and corporations, whose issues that may align and intersect with ours 
  • Produce written documents, including white papers and reports to support our advocacy efforts 
  • Develop a statewide partnership and participation with The Arc US 

Fiscal Sustainability  
We do not currently have a mechanism to identify, implement, monitor and manage best practices by using metrics to ensure financial sustainability and program quality. We plan to identify, promote, and communicate best practices to achieve financial sustainability through metrics and efficient operations to provide the highest quality services to the individuals we support.  

Specifically, we intend to create a roadmap for each service provided throughout the Organization to achieve positive financial outcomes to maximize quality and opportunities for the people we support. Using this roadmap we aim to:  

  • Reduce or eliminate Chapters on FSRC monitoring  
  • Identify and implement systemic, operational, and administrative efficiencies that increase productivity and reduce costs 
  • Identify and implement common software that reduces costs and allows to transfer of knowledge and support 
  • Enrich technical expertise on common platforms that reduces the need for consultant or support services  
  • Maximize utilization and revenue opportunities 
Supports & Services  
The current OPWDD system is under significant financial difficulty. Funding cuts have negatively impacted I/DD providers and stifle program growth, limiting the supports and services that are available for individuals with I/DD. Furthermore, there is a lack of integrated, lower cost day and residential programming options. The current one-size-fits-all methodology does not work for individuals with varying and/or increased needs. More flexibility with funding and regulatory relief must be introduced to the service delivery system.  

We plan to identify ways in which The Arc New York can best leverage its collective expertise and experience to identify and recommend innovative, lower cost, quality approaches for service system redesign, including more integrated supportive housing options that offer funding flexibilities and reasonable regulatory standards. To achieve this goal, we will:  

  • Catalog best and promising practices and service models from across the chapters. 
  • Engage with the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in areas where The Arc New York Chapters have identified a need for regulatory reform 
  • Identify, recommend and implement new and innovative approaches, up to and including an enhanced supportive housing option 
  • Secure written information from the OPWDD that portrays acuity tiers for an enhanced supportive housing option 
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 
We recognize there is a lack of diversity within all levels of The Arc New York. We aim to increase diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) within The Arc New York. To achieve this goal, we will:  
  • Gather demographic data related to DEI at all levels of The Arc New York  
  • Develop a career pathway for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) DSPs and others  
  • Create DEI Strategies at all levels of The Arc New York  
  • Create a welcoming environment and inclusive culture  
  • Conduct outreach and collaboration with BIPOC communities  

Governance & Change Management  
The Arc New York governance is currently defined by multiple stakeholder groups with varying levels of understanding of their scope and roles. We intend to create a governance model that is aligned with the overarching vision for The Arc New York, and nurture communication and culture that supports change management throughout the organization. This model will add greater clarity of functional responsibilities & accountabilities, while also integrating and eliminating overlapping roles, resulting in greater efficiency & speed in decision-making. We will work with a consultant to develop a governance model that:  

  • Is clear, succinct, and inclusive of all stakeholder groups  
  • Ensures transparency in decision-making and clarity in roles and accountabilities  
  • Supports the need to act decisively, making the best decisions possible, based upon available information 
  • Enables The Arc New York to be nimble in its ability to pivot with anticipated and unanticipated changes in the environment 

We hope you are as excited as we are to have a definitive plan to forward the mission of The Arc New York and strengthen our Chapters and the supports and services we provide. Your continued feedback is welcome as we undertake the implementation of our strategic goals. Our continued progress depends on our shared efforts, and each of you is essential to our success. As always, STRONGER TOGETHER! 
CONTACT: Erik Geizer, CEO
This email was sent to:
  • Board of Governors 
  • Chapter Presidents
  • Chapter Board Members
  • Executive Directors 
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers  
  • HR Directors 
  • PR Directors 
  • Quality & Compliance Staff 
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance
  • Trust Services and State Office Staff