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Blue Shield of California Foundation: Strategic Plan

Case Overview

FSG worked with the Blue Shield of California Foundation to develop a focused strategic initiative for each of Blue Shield’s three program areas: Health Access, Technology and Healthcare, and Blue Shield Against Violence.

The Challenge

Blue Shield was at a critical point in the Foundation’s development. It had to decide upon the key opportunities for impact within each of its three program areas, its target audiences and how it will bring about change. The Foundation sought a partner to guide it through a complex matrix of choices to develop a strategic plan that would maximize its impact, and to develop an evaluation system for the program areas and for the Foundation as a whole that would allow it to track progress over time.

Approach & Solutions

FSG began by developing a comprehensive understanding of the Foundation’s resources, values and expertise. FSG interviewed Blue Shield Foundation staff and facilitated a staff retreat with the goal of selecting several focus areas within each program area as a basis for strategy development.

FSG conducted extensive research on each focus area to identify and develop strategic options, including ways that the Foundation could create value beyond grantmaking. The approaches and agendas of other funders working in relevant areas — both in California and nationally — were benchmarked to identify partnership opportunities and lessons learned.

To select goals and an approach for each program area, FSG facilitated a decision-making process for Foundation staff and Board. All available options were presented, along with associated grantmaking approaches, for the Foundation to discuss and prioritize. Once goals were selected, FSG led the Foundation in a process to determine the relative weightings of each program goal within the Foundation’s overall portfolio mix.

For each selected programmatic focus area, specific goals, outcome and evaluation metrics were developed. Based on goals and outcomes, specific action steps were delineated, detailing the sequence of grantmaking and non-grantmaking activities over the next three years. An evaluation plan was created, recommending the most effective and efficient evaluative instruments. To ensure ongoing evaluation, a future monitoring plan was developed to schedule future "check ups" by relevant objective third parties.
To position the Foundation to implement the strategy, FSG determined the skills, capabilities and organizational resources required for success and articulated the required changes to the Foundation’s human resources and knowledge management approach.

FSG led the Foundation to create a detailed roadmap to increase the Foundation’s impact while providing a learning process and influencing strategic direction for years to come.

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

The mission of the Blue Shield of California Foundation is to "make a contribution to the health of Californians through direct support and partnerships with organizations that share our goal of finding solutions to community needs." The Foundation strives to accomplish this goal through three program areas focused on health access issues, medical technology assessment and patient safety, and domestic violence prevention.

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