History of the Center

The Center's Vision is Born
The origin of the Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance lies in the consulting work of its founder, Barbara Raye, who through her private practice came to see the need in the nonprofit and public sectors for a central source of specialized consulting and training services. Raye believed that the effectiveness of disparate individual change agents working for social justice should be complemented by an integrated, multi-discipline organization which would strategically strengthen their work. And it was from this vision that the Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance was born.

With the co-operation and support of friends and colleagues who shared (and contributed to) this vision, the Center selected its first board of directors and formed its mission statement in April of 1999. Upon this foundation Raye then developed an organization structure she refers to as functional "hubs" — each of which has connections or "spokes" which interlink the other hubs and extend outward to individuals and organizations in the community.

Evolving an Ethical Systems Approach
The need for a holistic, outcome-oriented approach was not the only impetus behind the founding of the Center. In its warp and weft is the conviction that effective leadership is informed by ethics and integrity. Thus it set about hiring consultants and trainers as much for their shared commitment to this ideal as for their education, experience, and skill. In so doing, the value of ethical leadership became not only an end but also a means by which the Center served its clients.

The Center Opens for Business
The Center opened its first offices in a multicultural neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Initially the clients were taken from Raye’s own private consulting practice, but as more people joined the Center’s network of consultants and trainers (as staff, partners, contractors, volunteers, etc), and as the Center’s array of services expanded, the number (and kind) of clients grew rapidly. Very quickly the Center was serving and working with social service organizations, school districts, citizen groups, and governments at the city, county, and state levels. Such expansion led the Center to relocate to larger offices (also in Minneapolis) in the summer of 2000.

Expanding the Client Base
In the next two and a half years, under Raye’s leadership the Center received inquiries from outside its home city and state and from overseas as well. Highlights include being awarded tax exempt status in March 2001, welcoming and later integrating the Learning Labs as a Center program, winning a contract to act as the international administrative headquarters of the Victim Offender Mediation Association, and forging ties with a number of consulting and training firms throughout North America. And this expansion did not stop at national borders. In March of 2002, the Center opened offices in Nairobi, Kenya (as part of its international development work).

The Center Today: Adding New Programs
Today the Center makes its main offices in St Paul, Minnesota, and it continues its core mission to provide — from a central source — services for the fundamental needs of over 200 local, national, and international nonprofit and government organizations as well as over 1000 individuals. In addition to its consulting and training program, the Center now provides direct service through additional programs and projects. These include restorative justice mediation initiatives in Kenya and Romania as well as the Restorative Justice Council on Sexual Misconduct in Faith Communities. Led by its Program Director, Linda Harvey, the "RJ Council" provides restorative alternatives nationwide to the victims of sexual abuse in the clergy.

The Center's Future
The Center's future is looking bright! We are in talks with two very talented nonprofit management consultants who may establish satellite offices in important areas of the United States not now served with a local presence by the Center. We continue to win new clients from the nonprofit, educational, and governmental sectors and we are working in partnership with other organizations. For current details about Center activities and future developments, consult the Center News.