Alternatives Federal Credit Union Internet Incubator
Sponsors: Bill Myers, Deirdre Silverman, Patrick Woods
Team: Sven Grasshoff, Michael Perlman
The Alternatives Federal Credit Union (AFCU) is a nonprofit community development financial institution owned by its members. Building on efforts of Park Fellows of the last three years, this project worked to develop an internet incubator space for the AFCU's entrepreneurs. The Fellows analyzed the various web options available to AFCU and concluded that a customized "Alternative Web Mall" was not a realistic solution. Instead they assessed the pros and cons of the two most attractive options, Yahoo Stores and eBay, and concluded that most of the functions desired by local entrepreneurs were best met through eBay.
Challenge Industries: Strategic Real Property Options
Sponsor: Patrick McKee, Executive Director
Team: David Maier
Challenge Industries is a local vocation services institution providing support to people with disabilities that present handicaps to employment. Challenge is housed in a large building in a prime real estate location in downtown Ithaca. Collaborating with the executive chef, David has worked to evaluate the real estate needs of Challenge and to assess usage and location options of their current property. The options include sale of the existing property and moving to a new location. the project is continuing through the end of June this year as the team actively pursues current possibilities.
Challenge Industries: Strategic Marketing Assessment
Sponsor: Patrick McKee, Executive Director
Team: Brett Blumenthal, Caroline Co, Kara Kownacki, Yael Wielgus
The Park Fellow team assisted Challenge in developing and implementing a strategy for better meeting the needs of its customers. The project consisted of developing a comprehensive survey of potential local community users to identify the depth and breadth of community outsourcing needs, assess the perceptions of local customers of Challenge, and evaluate the current strengths and weaknesses of services to current customers. The survey resulted in a 15% rate (2% is typical for marketing research) and specific recommendations included outsourcing approaches, managing perceptions, client prospecting, providing services, and better managing the client relationship.
Historic Ithaca: State Theatre Business Plan
Sponsor: State Theatre Board, George Holets, General Manager of STI, and Scott Whitham
Team: Renee Clark, Jason Jones, Justin Stone, Jon Vervoot
The State Theatre is a historic regional theatre that operates as a non-profit, and faces chronic financial challenges. The overall goal of the team was to analyze the Theatre's program strategy and refine it to improve its profitability. The team's efforts focused on developing recommendations for programming, advertising, and operations. the comprehensive set of final recommendations includes specific action items in marketing, operations, organizational development, strategic alliances and finances. The students conducted 2 large scale audience surveys across 10 different events, yielding 450 respondents. They used the results to develop an audience profile for the State Theatre and segmentation of customers. Each segment was analyzed, and tailored and marketing strategies were presented. In addition, more than a dozen interviews with other comparative historic theatres and performing arts venues in the Northeast were conducted. This helped the team evaluate the feasibility of various operating plans. Lastly, the team carefully analyzed the financial plan of the theatre and recommend budget adjustments based on their short-term and long-term goals.
Sponsors: home reGenerations
Team: Jessica Berg, Sven Grasshoff, Michael Perlman, Nathaniel Russell, Amy Stepanian, Jason Tauber
This team of Park Fellows worked together to launch home reGenerations, a non-profit, 501(c)(3). The mission of home reGenerations is to refurbish homes using volunteer labor and community donations for underprivileged families with children. The organization strives to create home environments that foster self-esteem, pride and hope. The Park Fellows raised $2500 through a charity auction at the School and then provided the labor for the home renovation of its first client. The basic concept and its result was the product of the Park Fellows - there is no sponsoring organization. home reGenerations will be carried forward next year by another team of Park Fellows.
Ithaca Fine Chocolates: Business Launch
Sponsors: Erika Fowler-Decatur, Founder and CEO
Team: Jessica Crolick, Michael Ford
Ithaca Fine Chocolates is a socially oriented chocolate company based in Ithaca. It is the first Fair Trade Certified and USDA Certified Organic Chocolate Company in the US. The Park Fellows worked with the founder to develop and implement the first business plan for the young company. Efforts included implementing an new financial accounting system, forming a new corporate entity, developing a pricing model for the art bars, sourcing of the chocolate manufacturing process, creating a distribution plan that would use multiple channels, and developing a relationship with Whole Foods as a keys sales partner.
Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program: Program Documentary
Sponsor: Clint Sidle, Director
Team: Katherine Butler, Natalie Heidelberg, Chris Vansant
As often noted in this report over the years, the Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows Program is most likely the leading program of its kind in an elite business school. Unfortunately, that claim has not always been matched by the visibility and shared understanding of the Program. To help address the challenge, the team of Park Fellows developed a highly professional, 60 minute documentary of the Program featuring service leadership projects. The purpose of the film is to generate awareness of the Program throughout the local community, demystify the program to internal and external constituents, and provide insights into the transformative impact on the lives of the Park Fellows, so that future classes and applicants have tangible illustration of the program benefits.
Sponsor: Charlie Trautman, Executive Director
Team: Aaron Todd, Charles Hamilton, Melissa Kolltides
The Sciencenter is a local museum designed to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to discover the excitement of science through programs, exhibits and hands-on interaction. With a newly expanded facility and increasing traffic flow, the Sciencenter needs additional sources of ongoing revenue to support increased variable expenses. The Park Fellows worked with the center to develop a business plan for a sustainable revenue stream in the form of a science-themed outdoor mini-golf course. Each hole is to be based on a scientific principle to entertain and educate the museum's patrons. The business plan was completed in December and the first prototype golf holes were being constructed in the Spring of 2004.
Village at Ithaca: Strategic Reorganization
Sponsors: Cal Walker, Founder
Team: Samuel Buchanan III
The Village at Ithaca is a two year old grassroots volunteer organization co-founded by Cal Walker, Associate Director of Cornell's Learning Strategies Center. the Village mission is to advocate for equity and excellence in the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) by developing strategic community relationships that ensure African-American and Hispanic-American students consistently meet or exceed ICSD and state standards of academic achievement. In working with members of the Board, Samuel helped overcome some of its early growing pains by reorganizing efforts to distribute the work more evenly, formalizing and better documenting it activities, and developing a more professional 501 (c)(3) charitable organization for grant funding.