3-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN
For over two decades Black Health Alliance has worked to bring people and organizations together to advance the health and well-being of Black people. Our work is community-led and deeply rooted in our commitment to health justice, equity and systems change.
Black communities have a strong legacy of self-determination and taking action to improve our health and well-being. Whether it is responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, anti-Black racism in healthcare systems, decade-long work responding to economic inequality or developing critical interventions that many communities rely on, we continue to push for equitable systems that impact our health.
While this strong legacy of action has resulted in significant gains, and many promising practices, what remains clear is that we are facing extraordinary challenges in every sphere of life.
As we engaged with our peers and communities to develop this Strategic Plan, we were heartened and inspired by the innumerable ways Black communities continue to demonstrate care for each other, imagine new ways of being, and work to build and enact a healthier future for Black people.
We join with communities across the country in envisioning “a Canada where Black communities, in all our diversity, thrive and enjoy optimal health and well-being”.
We are cognizant that the issues we tackle are complex and cannot be solved by a single entity, individual or organization. This Strategic Plan represents our roadmap to achieve the deep and meaningful impact and transformational change we hope to see in collaboration with and on behalf of the communities we serve.
We are excited to unveil the four strategic priorities that will guide our work from 2022 to 2025:
Chair, Board of Directors
A Renewed Purpose
When we undertook this planning process, we were excited to create space to gather feedback on our vision, mission and values. We wanted to have a clear compass to guide our actions and a way to mobilize our mission. To this end, we are delighted to present our refreshed foundational statements:
A Canada where Black communities, in all our diversity, enjoy optimal health and well-being, and thrive.
As influencers, enablers and convenors, we work to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada.
Values & Principles
We are the Black Health Alliance
What we do
Who we serve
We serve all Black people and recognize our diversity as our strength. We understand that despite our many differences, we are united by our shared history, ingenuity and resourcefulness and that together, we will find lasting solutions to the systemic and structural barriers tha compromise our health and well-being.
We invest in the community through an approach that starts with listening to communities. We ensure every solution we co-create is built on a foundation of solid data, a shared vision, and moves quickly from idea to implementation — always with the goal of systems-level change.
Theory of Change
We have a strong legacy of working to understand and respond to community needs, bringing people together, and mobilizing for action. We build on this strong legacy as we move to reshape our organization, with a stronger sense of shared purpose and direction to actualize our mission.
Our partners in the community have told us that there is a need for us to take bigger and bolder action toward improving population health approaches that focus on Black people. To that end we believe that:
That there is deep expertise and insight in Black communities about what is needed to improve health outcomes
Then our role is to
- Listen deeply to, and engage with, Black communities across our diversity
- Bring people together to align on vision, priorities, and impact
- Surface, access, generate and interpret evidence and promising practices to guide our work
- Co-create actionable, culturally responsive and appropriate solutions to shift systems to improve health outcomes
- Work collaboratively to mobilize the tools, skills, partnerships and investments needed to deliver results
Amplify the voices of diverse Black communities, deepen our engagement and grow our presence across the country
Black communities must be at the centre of defining the barriers and solutions to improving our health and well-being. As such, we will strive to cement BHA as an expert and leader in Black health and well-being by deepening our engagement with Black communities and organizations across Canada. We will work to amplify their voices while continuing to develop and maintain mutually reinforcing strategic partnerships with other relevant organizations and networks.
1.1 Convene and amplify the voices of Black communities
We will increase our commitment to convening and coordinating Black communities, Black leaders, Black-led and Black-focussed organizations working on health and well-being to support advocacy, cross-learning, capacity building and the development of a pipeline of empowered, knowledgeable advocates.
1.2 Build meaningful partnerships with communities
1.3 Establish a national presence
We will clarify what it means to become a truly national organization, and identify and implement changes to be made to the governance structure, operating model, staffing, and programming to realize that ambition.
Facilitate solutions for change by becoming a hub for knowledge, policy and solutions
2.1 Refine Domains of Change
2.2 Become a Black Health Knowledge and Policy Hub
2.3 Build a Solutions Lab Model
We aim to build out a “solutions lab” as a key function for how the organization will support the implementation of activities that will serve to improve the health and well-being of Black populations. Guided by a results-based approach, we will track and document the impact of the organization’s work on the health and well-being of Black populations over time.
Lay the groundwork for a National Black Health & Well-being strategy.
Anti-Black racism is increasingly being recognized as a public health crisis but without reprioritization and reallocation of resources, we will continue to be stymied by inaction. A national Black Health & Well-being Strategy that is adaptable, decentralized and actionable is long overdue. Co-ordinated and coherent effort is needed to build, implement, and monitor a nationwide strategy.
3.1 Support the development of the growing Black Health Ecosystem and champion and participate in the development of a nationwide Black Health and Well-being Strategy
3.2 Engage in policy dialogue as well as advocacy for systems change and greater accountability
We will bring our voice, expertise, knowledge and political acumen to inform and influence decision-makers at policy-making tables and ensure that policies reflect the unique needs and lived experiences of Black populations. We will also develop our capacity to track and monitor progress and hold duty bearers accountable for their commitments.
Build a strong, reputable, and sustainable organization.
Patterns of philanthropic under-investment and anti-Black racism have long served to undermine the operations and capacity of Black-led organizations and thwart their impact. Funders sometimes lack the nuanced understanding and lived experience to be able to identify and fund promising approaches. Without core funding, many Black-led organizations are unable to build the very capacity that is a precondition for sustaining funding. To deliver on our mission, we will bolster and scale-up our governance and operations; and develop a fund development strategy that supports our sustainability, and resiliency.
4.1 Strengthen and develop the operational and organizational infrastructure
We will develop and implement back-bone systems (HR, finance systems; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; as well as internal and external communication systems) to support current and future operational needs. Review the work of the organization to re-calibrate staff responsibilities and workloads and adjust compensation to be in line with industry standards and maintain high levels of employee engagement.
4.2 Strengthen communication and visual identity
We will develop a communication strategy that raises awareness of our work and highlights our history, achievements, and successes while creating a consistent and recognizable visual identity. We will track, document, and communicate the impact of the organization’s work on the health and well-being of Black populations over time. We will also develop metrics to track: reach; quality and usefulness; uptake and; use of our communications products and activities.
4.3 Build internal capacity
We will build staff teams, internal capacities, and tools to deliver on our mission, including measurement systems that demonstrate impact.
4.4 Fortify the governance structure
We will continue to strengthen and diversify the composition of the Board of Directors. Ensure that the Board is fostering the development of new and emerging leaders from across the country and at the intersections of multiple identities. Ensure that the Board is prepared to manage an executive leadership transition.
4.5 Move towards sustainability
We will develop and execute a fund development strategy that ensures a diversified stream of revenue and multi-year funding commitments to stabilize and sustain core operations.
The Planning Process
Since our founding, we have played an important role in convening community members and community leaders. In September 2021, our Board of Directors initiated a planning process to renew the foundational statements, determine our overarching longer-term direction, and identify strategic priorities to guide the organization over the next 3 years. Our strategic planning process was an opportunity to bring the community together to help us set our intentions for the future.
1. Research Process
From October – December 2021 our consultant team led a research process which included:
- Establishing an external Advisory Committee
- Internal document review
- A literature review
- An environmental scan
- Assessment of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- Online surveys
- Consultations with stakeholders from across Canada
2. What we Heard
of this strategy specifically identified:
- Visionary leadership, highly engaged talent and meaningful community engagement
- Commitment to uphold the value of “nothing for us without us” and in the spirit of genuine support and collaboration
- A trusted, relevant organization with a timely mission
- Explicit and unapologetic focus on Black communities
- A strong track record as a champion, community-based convener, catalyst and promoter of health and well-being
- We are not well-known by communities outside the Greater Toronto Area
- There is a need to pursue greater focus and articulate measurable goals, objectives and deliverables
- Our operational infrastructure needs to be strengthened to scale with sustainable revenue streams
- We are highlighting and attempting to uproot deeply entrenched systems of oppression that will not cede power easily
3. Strategic Planning Sessions
participated in two strategic planning sessions to:
- Confirm refreshed foundational statements
- Agree on the overarching theory of change
- Develop strategic priorities to guide the organization over the next 3 years
We would like to thank those who gave their time and energy to help us envision the future for BHA. Individuals from across the country actively participated as key informants, in focus groups and through online surveys. We see you and appreciate you!
Under a mandate from BHA’s Board of Directors: Lydia-Joi Marshall; Amoye Henry; Dr. Christopher Morgan; Ngozi Iroanyah; Samiya Abdi; Abdul-Aziz Garuba Jr.; Phil Gagnon-Joseph; Tatenda Musewe; Sume Ndume-Eyoh; Renee Raymond and with support from There Management Consulting, the Sustainability Committee led the strategic planning process for the organization. None of this would have been possible without their commitment and guidance.
We were also fortunate to have the support of an external Advisory Committee as part of our commitment to broader accountability and to leverage their extensive expertise and insights. A huge thanks to Dr. Wale Ajiboye, Sharon Davis-Murdoch, Dr. Winston Husbands, Dr. Notisha Massaquoi, Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Camille Orridge, Angela Robertson, Paulette Senior, Douglas Stewart, and Dr. Roberta Timothy.
Importantly, we want to acknowledge our staff team and the laser-focused leadership of our Executive Director in bringing this project to fruition. This team shows up every day and does the work necessary to realize our mission and for this, we thank you.
Lastly, we want to acknowledge and thank our donors and funders. Without your generous and consistent support, our work to drive health justice would not be possible.