Summer 2015 Home Games: Milano Students Consult for Youth Baseball Leagues

Summer 2015 Home Games
Milano graduate students’ consulting for local youth baseball organizations

Coursework at Milano and throughout The New School consciously aims to blend theory and practice, with students engaging in and learning from a wide variety of organizations.  We hope this will be the first of several articles highlighting the work students do as a part of their learning and service to the community.

This summer six Milano graduate students had the opportunity to participate in a short-term, consultancy with a foundation supporting the development of youth baseball league–and receive a stipend for their work. The team was a mix of Nonprofit Management, International Affairs, and Organizational Change Management students. Under the leadership and guidance of  Karen Noble, OCM alum and professor Michael Park, the six were divided into two teams to work with foundation-selected clients: South Jersey Pride (SJP – a growing league based in Camden County NJ) and Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA – a seasoned organization working in the NY metropolitan area since 1945).

Each team first took on the task of organizational assessment, gathering research from what they saw and heard from the organizations themselves, public records, and other available information. Their aim was to define clearly the organizational needs based on each client’s current situations, and an analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)  therein. Each team chose to use an adapted nonprofit lifecycle model (from Paul Connolly) to better explain both the current situation assessment of SJP and GNYSAA and also be able to materialize possibilities for their respective next steps.

baseball model


Through the use of this model, recommendations were made on strategic planning, board development, fundraising initiative awareness and programming, evaluation methodology, and service provision. The teams sourced relevant nonprofit research  in these areas on top of providing open-source toolkits for organizational capacity building. Each team developed an individualized report, presenting these recommendations and possible plans for action. Michael and Karen guided the use of organization-accessible language and encouraged the teams to personalize the reports with creative graphic representations of findings and actionable steps.

For Tatiana Garcia, “This collaborative project was a wonderful way to put our graduate coursework skill-sets to the test in a supervised environment. It allowed us to work as a team, engage with and help a community organization all the while building our professional consulting portfolio.” Emily Jarvis comments, Though our whole project was a team effort, the end result was a unique collaborative writing process. Not only did we need to make our findings comprehensible to our clients, but we needed to develop and perfect our common, consistent voice as a co-writing team of three people from different disciplines”.

Karen Noble made the initial contact with the supporting foundation through her consulting business Noble Concepts Inc. Knowing the value of client-based work from her OCM degree at Milano a few years ago, the foundation’s proposal “sounded like a great opportunity to combine the unique talents and experience of The New School students with the needs of a non-profit organization looking to make a difference in the kids’ groups they support. Students gained valuable hands-on experience, and the organizations received recommendations they would not have thought of on their own — a win/win for both.”

Congratulations to the students who finished their hard work on this in July.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *