Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) today announced the completion of the seventh annual U.S. Strategy Challenge, a ten-week program in which top-performing Morgan Stanley employees provide pro-bono strategic advice to nonprofit organizations on mission critical challenges. This year, nine nonprofits participated in the program and Morgan Stanley teams presented final strategic recommendations for each nonprofit in a competition at Morgan Stanley’s New York headquarters on June 3.
The winner of the seventh annual U.S. Strategy Challenge was The Headstrong Project, an organization that helps post- 9/11 combat veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions. New York-based The Headstrong Project challenged its Morgan Stanley team to evaluate whether the organization should expand to another city and to identify the best location and process to implement that expansion. After performing extensive analysis, the Morgan Stanley team recommended expansion to San Diego, and presented an implementation plan for the coming year.
“Before the Strategy Challenge, I knew we would expand into a new city, but we weren’t sure exactly where or when we’d be able to,” said Zachary Iscol, CEO and Executive Director of The Headstrong Project and a Veteran himself. “With the help of the Morgan Stanley team, we know we are ready to help serve veterans suffering from PTSD in the San Diego area, have an action plan to do so, and this isn’t months or years away – we’re going to be able to put this into action in mere weeks.”
The Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge was developed to tap into the talented minds of our employees and put their analytical and strategic thinking to work in our communities through pro-bono volunteering with key nonprofit partners. Since its launch in 2009, the program has cumulatively delivered more than 56,000 hours of service to 90 non-profit organizations, providing charities with significant assistance in bringing true value and lasting change to our communities, while giving valuable skills training to 474 Morgan Stanley employees.
“The true value of the Strategy Challenge program is the recommendations delivered by our employees and the outcomes we will see down the road in our communities as a result of the investment of their time with these nonprofits,” said Joan Steinberg, Global Head of Philanthropy at Morgan Stanley. “In a few short weeks, we have seen these partnerships flourish from a group of employees working with their client, to a true team, working with ‘their’ charity to solve a strategic challenge and developing relationships that will last for years to come.”
At the Strategy Challenge final event, each team had 15 minutes to present their work to a mixed panel consisting of a senior Managing Director from Morgan Stanley, a partner from The Bridgespan Group, and an Executive Director from a past nonprofit participant. The New York Center for Autism Charter School was the runner up and the Grace Institute received third place. The top three nonprofits won cash grants of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. The six remaining organizations received grants of $5,000 each.
The nine nonprofit organizations that participated in this year’s U.S. Strategy Challenge are:
- Bridge Street Development Corporation
- Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
- Grace Institute
- Harlem Educational Activities Fund
- The Headstrong Project
- Partnership with Children
- The New York Center for Autism Charter School
- Start Small Think Big
- Student Sponsor Partners
Last month, Morgan Stanley also concluded the second annual Strategy Challenge in the UK, benefitting five London-based nonprofit organizations. Rays of Sunshine and ThinkForward won the competition, which took place at Morgan Stanley’s Canary Wharf offices in London.
For more on the Strategy Challenge programs in the U.S. and the UK, visit the Strategy Challenge blog and follow #StrategyChallenge on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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