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Harvard Business School Publishes Case Study on Youth Villages in North Carolina

MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Harvard Business School recently completed a case study that examines the growth and impact of Youth Villages, a nonprofit organization that helps children and families statewide in North Carolina and has become a national leader in the field of children's behavioral health in the last decade.



Written by HBS Professor Allen Grossman, Catherine Ross of the HBS Global Research Group and William Foster, a partner at the Bridgespan Group, the case study explores Youth Villages' innovative treatment approach, use of research in program development and targeted growth strategies.

Youth Villages was an early champion of research-based treatment approaches and helping troubled children and families in the least restrictive setting, especially through intensive in-home services. That approach has produced consistently high long-term success rates for the approximately 12,000 children Youth Villages serves in 10 states each year. In 2008, 86 percent of the children who completed their program at Youth Villages were discharged successfully; data consistently show that 84 percent are living successfully in the community two years after discharge.

The case on Youth Villages was written for inclusion in a new course Grossman has developed at the Harvard Business School called "Leading and Governing Highly Effective Nonprofit Organizations." The course teaches what it takes to be an organization that does innovative and highly effective work and explores various challenges those organizations encounter. HBS cases serve as a springboard for class discussion.

Grossman was president and chief executive officer of Outward Bound USA for six years before moving on to study and address challenges in public education and the nonprofit sector.

"Youth Villages is a highly effective organization with quality leadership and a proven approach that faces a series of challenges and opportunities as it attempts to make its programs available in more states outside of Tennessee," Grossman says. "We wanted to look more closely at the challenges involved in expanding coverage while working primarily within a system of government funding."

Youth Villages Chief Executive Officer Patrick W. Lawler and Chief Operating Officer Lee Rone engaged in extensive interviews for the case study and provided research, financial data and other information. Lawler and Rone also participated in class discussions when the study first was presented to students.

"We were pleased that the Harvard Business School and Professor Grossman recognized Youth Villages and the hard work our staff has put into finding and implementing the most effective ways to make a difference in the lives of troubled children and their families," Lawler says. "We firmly believe that successful, effective nonprofit organizations have a responsibility to reach out, to expand their programs into underserved areas. Through his research and teaching, Professor Grossman is helping that cause."

Youth Villages' growth plan, created through the support of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, calls for the organization to help 50 percent more children and young people over the next five years and quadruple the number of youth served outside of Tennessee. As part of EMCF's Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot, Youth Villages secured $40 million in up-front growth capital to finance the building of Youth Villages' capacity to support its larger scale.

"If successful, Youth Villages will be poised to become a national leader in providing proven services to assist the nation's most at-risk youth," said Woody McCutchen, EMCF portfolio manager, "as well as being positioned to reach long-term financial sustainability."

Investors in the growth plan include The Day Foundation, FedEx Corp., The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Jenesis Group, The Kresge Foundation, Strategic Grant Partners, the GreenLight Fund, the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, the Duke Endowment and the Youth Villages board of directors. All co-investors support the growth plan, aligned terms and conditions for investment with one another, and created a unified reporting and performance tracking structure for Youth Villages.

Lawler has led Youth Villages since its founding in the merger of two small residential campuses in Memphis in 1986. The organization has grown from helping 50 children a year to touching the lives of more than 12,000 children and families in 10 states and the District of Columbia last year. In North Carolina, Youth Villages operates offices in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro, Greenville, Hickory, Pinehurst and Wilmington. The private nonprofit organization has grown from an annual revenue of $1 million in 1986 to more than $97 million in 2008. In 2006, U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government named Lawler one of "America's Best Leaders," along with financier Warren Buffett, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Teach for America CEO Wendy Kopp.

The complete case study is available at More information about Youth Villages is at

SOURCE Youth Villages
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