We’re proud to announce the project outcomes of the Encore Louisville program. Now in its sixth year, Encore Louisville teams have served nearly 90 nonprofit organizations – 18 projects in 2019. Participants are members of the Leadership Louisville Center and most are graduates of our other civic programs, who are retired or transitioning in their careers. The class works in teams to provide strategic guidance to local nonprofits who requested help with specific issues.

Here are a few examples of the work the Class of 2019 accomplished – all probono – with local nonprofits.

WE Kentucky


(left to right) Wendy & Kris Sirchio, co-founders of WE Kentucky, and Encore Louisville team members: Steve Rungwerth (EL ’17-’19), David X. Thurmond (EL ’16-19, BF ’96, LL ’91), Steve Ellis (EL ’18, ’19)

WE Kentucky exists to inspire young people to find and ignite their spark about social causes they are passionate about to help make the world a better place through service. The organization asked the Encore Louisville team, “How do we take WE KY to the next level and keep it sustainable?” In response, the team co-developed a streamlined Long-Term Strategic Plan. They clarified the intent NOT to build a traditional local Board structure and offered recommendations including adding an Advisory Panel. They identified new school partnerships and helped create a relationship with KET to further expand WE KY’s platform. They also identified a new potential fundraising partner for 2020.

Here’s what WE KY’s co-founders, Kris and Wendy Sirchio had to say…

“Overall, working with our Encore Louisville team was an excellent experience. Our Encore team had diverse and direct experience that could be easily applied to our challenge and the Encore leaders were motivated and excited to unselfishly contribute to the overall success of the project. The Encore team had a clear leadership structure and made the time to review and prepare ahead of every meeting which enabled focused discussion and tangible positive results (see above). Of specific note was our focus and progress made in the “Partnership” pillar for our strategic plan. Together we identified a new platform partner (KET) that could cost-effectively enable us to reach 100% of all KY Schools with service-learning curriculum. David Thurmond opened the door, helped us secure a meeting, and attended the meeting in person. We also advanced our thinking in the area of governance and fundraising which will prove very helpful in the future. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the Encore Team and would highly recommend it to any other Louisville non-profit organization. Focused – Real Results – Great fun. Thank you!”


Hosparus Health


Encore Louisville team members: (left to right) Pam Greenwell (IL ’16-’19, FL ’15), Tom Monahan (EL ’15-’19, LL ’92), Ken Middleton (EL ’15-’19, LL ’00), not pictured: Michael Shaikun (EL ’17-’19, FL ’94)

Hosparus Health wanted “innovative ideas and direction for improving the reach and impact of their grief counseling services”.  With a new counseling center on the horizon, they were looking at all the ways they deliver grief counseling services, as well as additional services they could offer.

The Encore team facilitated a brainstorming session that focused on Hosparus’s core counseling services and possible additional services and provided a framework for setting priorities. In addition to the matrix they helped Hosparus develop, their counseling team realized they needed the assistance of their finance staff to cost out the options and explore ways to bill for services currently offered for free.

The result was the establishment of what they call “foundational priorities” to help focus a multi-year strategic plan.

Here’s what leaders at Hosparus Health had to say…

“Hosparus Health is truly indebted to the Leadership Louisville Encore project team for helping launch our strategic planning effort for our Grief Counseling Center.” — Scott A. Herrmann, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Hosparus Health

“The years of experience and expertise that the Encore Louisville team brings to the participating nonprofits is invaluable. This has been a very helpful process for our organization and I would highly recommend it to others.” –  Amy Hill, Executive Director of Counseling Services, Hosparus Health


Coalition for Workforce Diversity


Encore Louisville team members: Cindy Adelberg (left) (EL ’15-’19, BF ’02, LL ’81), Edie Nixon (right) (EL ’16-’19, LL ’94) not pictured: Janet Sims (EL ’15-’19, LL ’14)

The Coalition for Workforce Diversity (the Coalition) is a network of employers, service providers, and resources committed to supporting people with disabilities focusing on employment opportunities. The executive director asked an Encore Louisville team to explore the feasibility of separating the Coalition, currently operating under the Options Unlimited umbrella, into a separate 501c3.

The Encore team did one-on-one interviews with the Coalition’s executive director and a representative of the Kentucky Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. They conducted two separate SWOT assessments – one with supported employment providers and the other with employers who are currently participating in the Coalition to assess the pros and cons of creating a separate non-profit. Following the assessments, the Encore team developed recommendations for a path forward for the Coalition, including specific next steps.

Recommendations included:

  • Creating a team of employers and service providers to assist with the creation of an independent 501c3
  • Consider implementing technology tools for tracking data on jobs filled, individuals placed and to allow employers and individuals with disabilities to more easily see opportunities available.
  • Consider applying for a Leadership Louisville Ignite Louisville team to 1) assess technology tools, 2) explore funding sources for technology solutions, and 3) increase visibility of the Coalition with a wider variety of employers.

Here’s what Willie Byrd, executive director of Options Unlimited, Inc. had to say…

“The Encore Louisville team helped us refine our thinking in relation to forming a new nonprofit out of one of our programs. They brought a wide breadth of experience to our future planning. I hope to draw upon their expertise to facilitate discussions with employers.”


Waterfront Development Corporation

Encore Louisville team with Waterfront Development Corp. leaders

(left to right) Deb Bilitski, president of Waterfront Development Corporation, David Karem, retired president WDC, with Encore Louisville team members: Harold Butler (EL ’18, ’19, FL), Nancy Gordon Moore (EL ’19, LN ’07, LL ’06), J-R Curtin (EL ’15-’19, BF ’91, LL ’85). Team members not pictured: Tom Monahan (EL ’15 – ’19, LL ’92), Doug Butler (EL ’15-’19, BF ’10, LL ’93), Donna Zapata (EL ’15, ’16, ’19, LL ’84)

The Waterfront Development Corporation (WDC) has been struggling to provide the ongoing funds for operation.  When the Corporation was originally incorporated the Commonwealth of Kentucky assumed responsibility for a third of the ongoing budget.  The City of Louisville assumed a third and Jefferson County assumed a third.  When the City and the County merged, the new Metro Government agreed to provide two-thirds funding as the new entity. Over the last several years the Commonwealth has reduced and then withdrawn its funding.  The Metro Government has continued to reduce its share of its commitment.  The result is that the WDC has had to deal with ongoing financial stress and reached out to Encore for an independent assessment of its position and possible short- and long-term plans for financial stability.

The Encore team in partnership with the staff and Board of the WDC identified three main goals: 1) Financial Stability; 2) Growth in Strategic Areas; and 3) Increase Public Awareness. The Encore team developed concrete plans for achieving each of these goals.


Volunteers of America – Beaded Treasures Integration

Encore Louisville team members: Janet Sims (EL ’15, ’17, ’18, ’19, LL ’14), Beth Dlutowski (EL ’15-’19, BF ’13, FL ’12), Marty Bell (EL ’15-19, BF ’07, ’96, LL ’82), Jim Gravitt (EL ’18, ’19, FL ’14), Linda Valentine (EL ’16-’19), LL ’11, FL ’09)

Beaded Treasures Project is a program of Volunteers of America that empowers women and families while promoting economic independence.

Volunteers of America (VOA) sought assistance from a Leadership Louisville Center team to fully merge Beaded Treasures Project, a successful social change enterprise, into their organization and programming, ensuring: long-term sustainability and succession planning for this innovative enterprise; successful transfer of vocational/creative skills to agency clients; and retail market expansion through development of an online presence and retail storefront in a prime downtown location.

The Encore team helped facilitate alignment on the goals VOA Leadership had for Beaded Treasures inside VOA and helped the organization understand and create a realistic financial plan for the new retail organization. The team also provided an assessment of current jewelry production and retail operations and recommended a transition plan for the Beaded Treasurers founder.

The de Paul School

Encore Louisville team members: Joe Mitchell (EL ’18-’19, FL ’18), Mimi Zinniel (EL ’19, BF ’10), Susan Zepeda (EL ’18-’19, FL ’18), Diane Kyle (EL ’18-’19, FL ’17), Gail Becker (EL ’15,’17-’19, LL ’93), Edie Nixon (EL ’16-’19, LL ’94)

The de Paul School requested assistance from an Encore Louisville team on issues relate to leadership succession planning as part of the school’s upcoming accreditation process.


The Louisville Cardinal

Encore Louisville participant Tom Monahan was part of the team helping the Louisville Cardinal newspaper.

Encore Louisville participant Tom Monahan, retired publisher of Louisville Business First, worked with the Louisville Cardinal staff.

Encore Louisville team members: Tom Monohan (EL ’15 – ’19, LL ’92), Marty Bell (EL ’15-19, BF ’07, ’96, LL ’82), Steve Ellis (EL ’18-’19), Gail Lyttle (EL ’19, LL ’11), Mike Smith (EL ’18-’19, LL ’84)

The Louisville Cardinal is a weekly independent student newspaper at the University of Louisville available in print and online during the school year.

The printed and online newspaper is staffed by two paid part-time employees and 45-60 student volunteers at a university without a journalism program. The University is ending its financial support and advertising revenue is diminishing.

The Encore team developed several dozen suggestions to increase revenue and reduce costs, increase visibility and image of the paper on campus, and develop better and more formal relationships with the university community.  It also developed job descriptions for the paid staff and suggested revisions to the Board by-laws and board governance.

Three of the five team members had previous journalism experience. Their suggestions were based on seasoned knowledge of journalism, trends in the newsprint media, and specific knowledge of the university community.

Implementation of strategic suggestions will be up to the board which will have almost half new members and a new Chair when newspaper operations resume after the annual summer shut down.


Serenity House

Encore Louisville participants J-R Curtin and Beth Dlutowski (above), along with teammates Lynn Ashton and Ken Middleton, worked with leaders of the Serenity House.

Encore Louisville team members: Beth Dlutowski (EL ’15-’19, BF ’13, FL ’12), Lynn Ashton (EL ’16-18, BF ’08, ’00, LL ’98), J-R Curtin (EL ’15-’19, BF ’91, LL ’85), Ken Middleton (EL ’15-’19, LL ’00)

Serenity House is a 48-bed residential halfway program for men in Jeffersonville, Indiana established in 1974.

An Encore Louisville team helped develop a plan to strengthen its appeal to major funders to help sustain its ongoing operations and complete an adjacent building designed to provide recreational space for the men and host meetings of alcohol and drug support groups in the community.

Working with the Executive Director and key board members, the Encore team recommended and the Board agreed to:

— recruit a prominent community leader to join an ad hoc board leadership team to lead necessary changes and then transition the group to an executive leadership group within the board with the expertise needed to guide the organization long-term;

— create a strong “story” about the mission and success of Serenity House, the need for its services, and proof of its sustainability and recruit a local marketing firm to help;

— develop a succession plan for the Executive Director who is nearing retirement and evaluate the need for additional management support;

— transform financials into a format more easily understood by funders including a multi-year forecast that demonstrates sustainability

— meet with local foundations to demonstrate its plans and commitment to sustainability.


U of L Family Business Center

The University of Louisville Family Business Center staff explained their project to Encore Louisville participants Kevin Wardell, Michelle Wells, and Steve Rungwerth.

Encore Louisville team members: Michelle Wells (EL ’18-’19, LL ’13), Gail Becker (EL ’17-’19, ’15, LL ’93), Stuart Goldberg (EL ’16-’19, LL ’92), Michael Shaikun (EL ’17-19, FL ’94)

The University of Louisville Family Business Center (FBC) has almost 100 members and represents many of the region’s strongest and most reputable family business leaders.  Business-owning families can exchange strategies and experiences, safely explore challenging issues, and learn from leading experts in areas that are unique to family businesses.

The FBC had been operating with an Interim Executive Director since the fall of 2017.

With the impending hiring of an executive director in the fall of 2019, FBC requested recommendations that would benefit the on-boarding of the new hire while rebuilding the reputation of FBC in Louisville and Southern Indiana and help increase its membership and influence.

The Encore team members represented a broad background of businesses — family-owned, not-for-profit, and Fortune 250 corporate so the team able to offer diverse perspectives on responding to FBC’s need.

The team provided (1) recommendations of more than 80 local organizations that could help with enhancing the profile/brand while continuing to grow FBC’s membership: government agencies, community service organizations, business and professional associations, media outlets, and foundations. (2) Suggestions that could improve the integration and visibility of FBC within UofL and (3) Ideas to support the on-boarding of a new Executive Director.


See examples of outcomes of the 2018 Encore Louisville program