Morris, G., Roberts, D., Leis, H., Mehring, A., Cederberg, C., Shahid, N., … Cavagnero, J. (2018). A national imperative: Joining forces to strengthen human services in America – 2018. New York, NY: Oliver Wyman, SeaChange Capital Partners, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and the American Public Human Services Association.

Year: 2018


This report started because of a growing concern about the financial health of community-based organizations (CBOs) which deliver human services. The project was designed to assess the financial health of the human services CBOs, identify underlying causes that lead to financial vulnerability, and to propose ways to make them stronger. The objective was to provide a path to make CBOs more sustainable. In the course of conducting the research, authors analyzed over 200,000 publicly available Form 990 tax filings by roughly 40,000 human services CBOs. This dataset represents all electronically filed Form 990s for CBOs from selected human services-related NTEE codes and available on Amazon Web Services. In addition to our comprehensive financial analysis, we fielded the National Imperative Survey online, which drew responses from 177 human services CBOs and 40 government agencies, and we conducted detailed follow-up interviews with over 40 senior executives from human services CBOs, government agencies, and philanthropic foundations. Input was solicited from a diverse group of CBOs and government agencies, chosen to ensure coverage across organizations from different regions, of different sizes, and representing different types and subsectors. This report lays out five “North Star” initiatives which, when pursued by the entire human services ecosystem (including CBOs, government agencies, and other funders), can unlock the full potential value of human services CBOs, and set the US on a path to greater prosperity.

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