In May 2021, the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center (Isaacs Center) entered into a strategic partnership with Goddard Riverside (Goddard) with the purpose of enhancing the services that both organizations provide to New Yorkers. Joining forces with Goddard, at this critical moment in the City’s history, will expand access to economic security and housing stability for thousands of low-income New Yorkers (from Lincoln Square to East Harlem) and support a just and fair recovery for communities most affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
This partnership has been a long time in the making. Since the Isaacs Center was the beneficiary of Morgan Stanley’s pro bono Strategy Challenge program, which assessed the Isaacs Center’s mission and aspirations, and offered insight into sustainability strategies, the board explored opportunities for partnership that would position the organization to create change on local and city-wide level. In Goddard, we found an organization with similar values and vision, whose long history (since the 1800s) and present leadership demonstrates an enduring commitment to serving vulnerable New Yorkers with sensitivity and integrity. Our mutual alliance was made official in May with an eye toward demonstrating efficiency and effectiveness while building the capacity and leverage necessary to influence the City’s ability to improve the lives of vulnerable New Yorkers.
Who is Goddard?
Goddard supports families at every stage of life, serving more than 20,000 people a year on the Upper West Side and throughout New York City. Like the Isaacs Center, Goddard is an active member of the settlement house community. They prioritize dignity and respect, and work within a social justice framework to create a fair and just society where all people have the opportunity to make choices that lead to better lives for themselves and their families.
Dr. Roderick (Rod) Jones has served as Goddard Executive Director since February 2017. Rod grew up in New York City public housing and went into social services, first in Rochester and then in St. Louis. He was named Not-for-Profit Leader of the Year in 2011 by the Regional Chamber of Commerce and The St. Louis American. Rod has a doctorate in Education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York and a Master’s in Public Administration from SUNY-Brockport. He sees the role of settlement houses like Goddard and the Isaacs Center as “enabling people to make the best choices they can for themselves and their families.”
What has changed?
The agreement between the Isaacs Center and Goddard allows the Isaacs Center to maintain its independent non-profit status while becoming a membership organization under Goddard. As a subsidiary of Goddard, the Isaacs Center can also offer better benefits and more growth opportunities to its staff, who are essential to our good work and deserving of the best possible compensation.
The Isaacs Center now has a single, corporate board member: Goddard, and its reconstituted board comprises five Goddard board members. Eight of the previous Isaacs Center board members joined the Goddard board, ensuring continuity of governance and oversight. Other previous Isaacs Center board members wishing to continue their service to the Isaacs Center were invited to join Goddard board committees.
During the summer, our administrative offices (human resources, development, finance, and operations) began migrating to Goddard. For these teams, the move to Goddard means a larger staff and access to more resources. The cost savings of combining our respective back office functions are complemented by greater capacity to execute those functions. In the coming months, the senior leaders of Isaacs Center programs will be migrated under the Goddard umbrella to lead the alignment of Goddard and Isaacs Center programs. Isaacs Center Executive Director Gregory J (Greg) Morris will serve under Rod as Chief Program Officer (for both Isaacs Center and Goddard programs).
What stays the same?
Both organizations are maintaining our respective 501c3 designations, meaning that our programs and finances will be kept separate. Importantly, donors who wish to support Isaacs Center programs are welcome to continue to do so. Both donors and volunteers continue to be essential to the programs and services Isaacs Center provides in our community.
In joining forces with Goddard, we will continue our tremendous history of strengthening the communities we serve while we launch collaborative efforts that improve access to economic security and housing stability for New Yorkers in need. We invite you, our Isaacs Center family, to continue that long history with us.