Mercy Housing Lakefront (MHL) is a regional office of Mercy Housing, a leading national affordable housing nonprofit. MHL owns and operates 52 affordable rental properties across Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, helping over 8,000 people.
In 2016, MHL acquired 20 properties Franciscan Ministries including one in Gurnee, Illinois. Together with a building in Grayslake they had previously development, Mercy now had 130 apartments in the northern suburbs.
Mercy was concerned that its rapid growth not diminish its ability to collaborate with local communities. They reached out to Millennia Consulting in June of 2017 for help in creating a Lake County “partnership board” that could bring local perspectives and commitment to their affordable housing work in the northern suburbs.
Millennia consultant Tom Lenz was familiar with Lake County having worked there as a community organizer in the 2000s. Together with Mark Angelini, MHL’s President and Beth Connor, Annual Giving Manager, he developed a plan to clarify their outreach goals, identify potential partnership board members, and undertake a round of individual meetings to probe for interest in Mercy and its mission. They crafted an informal gathering to allow prospective members to see a Mercy building in Grayslake, meet the residents and get to know the organization’s leadership. The final step was to invite those with interest to join the Partnership Board which had its first meeting in January of 2018.
“Tom was fantastic,” says Mercy’s Beth Connor. “We approached him with the task of helping us to identify and cultivate new partnerships and supporters in a community where we had very few. Within a short period of time, Tom helped us to host a successful reception with over 60 new people in attendance and from that develop a partnership board that consists of 12 outstanding members. We’re thrilled with the results.”
For more information about Mercy’s community engagement strategies contact firstname.lastname@example.org