After several years of discussion and analysis, advocates for California’s statewide network of family resource centers and family support programs decided it was time to plan the formation of a new state association that would connect the field of family support throughout the state. They also agreed that they would require additional expertise to make the vision a reality. With this in mind, SEI was engaged in December 2003 to guide them through the process of creating the association.SEI started by turning interest into momentum.

We began by guiding a statewide leadership team through the creation of a strategic business plan, which outlined the roles that the association would serve for the family support field, what the framework of the organization would be, and how it would function. We identified issues that related to how the organization would attract membership, how it would be financed, and what kinds of infrastructure would be required to make it successful.

But we also knew that a good plan required diligent outreach. The association wouldn’t succeed without strong support from the field, and this meant hearing first hand from family resource centers across the state. With that in mind, we conducted an intensive, statewide survey reaching thousands of family support agencies, and coordinated focus groups and other outreach efforts to reach parents, funders, service providers and many other stakeholders.

The results were conclusive: a state association was viable and could make a real difference for families and the organizations that serve them. And with SEI’s guidance, a complete business plan was in place with a blueprint for creating the association. Now there was clarity and consensus, and it was time to push forward again.

SEI assisted with launching the association in several important ways. The first was support for recruiting, selecting and orienting the initial Board of Directors. Shortly after, the Board appointed an Executive Director, with SEI supporting the nuts-and-bolts work of developing bylaws, appointing officers, deciding whether to incorporate as a separate non-profit entity, and selecting web-based technology to manage communications, memberships and events. By 2005, the organization had form and was prepared to function.

Today, the California Family Resource Association serves as a vibrant voice for organizations and individuals that serve California’s children, families, and communities. Learn more about the association at

We are also proud to have provided extensive support for launching the First 5 Association of California ( Our roles included developing a business plan, creating the fiscal management systems and other organizational infrastructure, managing events ranging from membership meetings to statewide conferences, governance support, member communications, launching the association’s initial website, and much more.