Mahube-Otwa Whole Family Approach


Three years ago, the MAHUBE-OTWA Board of Directors began digging deeper into what it means to accomplish our mission of helping people achieve self-sufficiency. Year after year, results were outstanding for each of the individual programs (Head Start; Child Care; Housing/Homeless; Seniors; Energy Assistance/Weatherization; Family Planning) exceeding funder expectations in nearly every category; but while program goals were met, too few households were moving out of poverty. The Board turned to the Whole Family Approach which pairs comprehensive high quality services for the entire household with a rigorous focus on family driven outcomes and a grounding in equity.

In January 2018, MAHUBE-OTWA was selected as one of ten Community Action Programs across the country to participate in a two-year Community of Practice with the National Community Action Partnership to transform our service delivery model into a Whole Family Approach. With this new Approach, we still provide information each of our funders or regulators require, but we seek additional information for ourselves. We welcome people as MAHUBE-OTWA clients at any one of five levels and then assist them to reach the next level:

Level 1 [Crisis]

Level 2 [Benefits]

Level 3 [Relationship-Based Coaching]

Level 4 [Asset-Building]

Level 5 [Giving Back]

By looking holistically, we found only 46% of Head Start families accessed Energy Assistance; 12% accessed Tax Aid; and 2% Family Planning. With a better focus on family outcomes rather than program outcomes, we have started to bridge siloes for better results. By putting families first, MAHUBE-OTWA has seen improved employee satisfaction:

25% increase in staff reporting that our organization makes our priorities clear (from 66% to 91%);
22% increase in staff reporting that organization regularly assesses and improves processes (from 53% to 75%);
85% continue to rank MAHUBE-OTWA as a great place to work (versus 43% of employees across all sectors nationally)
The Community of Practice connected us with peers across the country to examine and update our processes to meet our changing local context while delivering better results for our clients and improving staff morale! It helped shift the organizational culture from being cramped within a tight regulatory framework toward generating creative solutions to challenging problems.

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