Harlem Childrens Zone Case Study Summary

HARLEM CHILDREN'S ZONE BASIC CASE SUMMARY2The Harlem Children’s Zone OverviewThe Harlem Children’s Zone, also known as the Zone or HCZ, began as Rheedlen Centers as a social service organization for Families and Children in the 1970s. The center’s name changed to the HCZ in 2002. Rheedlen was initiated in Harlem as a program for truancy-prevention. In expanded its mission in the late 1990s, to include offering additional support services including education to families and children focused on a 24-block area, which it called the Children’s Zone also called the Zone (Grossma & Curran, 2004). The philosophy tagged behind the Zone was to form a positive and confident “tipping point” in the Harlem community. The program would achieve this through offering community-wide support services throughout the concentrated Harlem area. The aim was to create a mass of people who were expected to get involved in the initiated program. The people’s concentration would surround children with “an enriching environment of supportive adults peers and college-oriented.” Since its inception, HCZ has massively expanded to include nearly 100 blocks in Harlem, serving over 13,000 adults and 10,000 children (Grossma & Curran, 2004). An executive board, under the leadership of Geoffrey Canada leads and runs the HCZ. Canada, a gentleman from the Bronx, had a vision to offer support services to Harlem’s children. The support services would give them the social and educational capital to academically succeed in school, and college and in the after-college life, while strengthening the surrounding area and community to modify the culture of student generations’ growth. To achieve this, Canada anticipated forming a continuum of support services to students’ development at every point of

Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2003 (Revised March 2004)

Harlem Children's Zone, The: Driving Performance with Measurement and Evaluation

by Allen S. Grossman and Daniel F. Curran


Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, wanted his organization to grow dramatically to reach thousands of poor and underserved children in Harlem. The agency ran a variety of successful social service programs throughout New York City that were separately funded and ran independently of each other. In 2000, Canada led the organization through an ambitious planning process, promising that within 10 years, its new integrated program would reach $46 million in revenues, serve 24,000 people, and expand to an area three times the size of its current zone. But the plan required the agency to change its management structure, measurement systems, and program goals drastically. How would the organization measure the impact of its work? Could such a system be measured? And how did the changes challenge the passionate directors who first established the component programs?

Keywords: Leadership; Goals and Objectives; Measurement and Metrics; Organizational Structure; Performance Evaluation; Strategic Planning; Problems and Challenges; Nonprofit Organizations; Expansion; Valuation;

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