Morgan Stanley

Union Settlement Association Team Wins Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge

Jun 14, 2012

Working with 15 Nonprofits for Eight Weeks, Morgan Stanley Professionals Deliver More Than 8,000 Pro Bono Hours in Strategic Advisory Services

New York —


Union Settlement Association and a team of Morgan Stanley professionals have won the fourth annual Strategy Challenge, Morgan Stanley’s signature skills-based volunteering program providing nonprofits with pro bono strategic consulting.  Union Settlement Association, the oldest and largest social service agency in East Harlem, serves more than 13,000 low-income residents annually through effective early childhood, youth, adult education, seniors and mental health programs. 

The Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge pairs teams of outstanding Morgan Stanley professionals with nonprofit organizations across the country for eight weeks to provide pro bono strategic advice on scalability and growth issues including business model optimization, geographic and program expansion and new ventures.  The participating nonprofits work on causes ranging from youth development and microfinance to arts and culture, and are based in San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

The teams presented their final recommendations in a competition at Morgan Stanley’s New York headquarters.  The nonprofits associated with the top three teams - Union Settlement Association, Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Family & Children’s Agency - were presented cash grants of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, by Morgan Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James P. Gorman.

“We commend all the participants and wish the nonprofit organizations every success as they move forward with the recommendations they received from our dedicated volunteers,” said Gorman.  “The annual Strategy Challenge reflects Morgan Stanley’s commitment to being a strong, reliable partner with people who are making a difference in our communities.”

This year, the Morgan Stanley teams donated more than 8,000 hours, equivalent to a market value of approximately $1.2 million, based on standards developed by Pro Bono Action Tank.  This figure does not capture the additional value that the actual recommendations and strategies bring to the nonprofits in areas such as productivity improvements, new revenue streams and more efficient business models.  Over the past four years, the Strategy Challenge has cumulatively delivered over 22,500 hours to 51 nonprofit organizations.

The Morgan Stanley team working with Union Settlement Association created an innovative approach to significantly expand enrollment for the nonprofit’s English as a Second Language program and to address the large unmet need for these services. 

“On behalf of everyone here at Union Settlement Association, I want to thank Morgan Stanley for the opportunity to participate in the Strategy Challenge and to have access to a superbly talented team of professionals, who brought tremendous levels of analysis, creativity and commitment to this project,” said David Nocenti, Executive Director, Union Settlement Association.  “We will be moving immediately to implement the Strategy Challenge recommendations, which will allow us to bring our vital English language instruction to hundreds of additional East Harlem residents.  This will lead to better jobs, greater opportunities, and will have a transformational impact on their lives.”

The Strategy Challenge is jointly sponsored by Morgan Stanley Global Sustainable Finance and Morgan Stanley Community Affairs.

"The Strategy Challenge is a powerful opportunity for Morgan Stanley to engage our best and brightest talent in helping our nonprofit partners execute on their missions more efficiently and effectively.  Through volunteering with their skills, experience and expertise, we believe that our professionals can help contribute to the success and sustainability of these partners,” said Audrey Choi, Head of Global Sustainable Finance at Morgan Stanley.

“The most impactful nonprofits have a long-term vision for how they will serve their community and fulfill their mission.  We hope that the recommendations received through the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge will not only provide guidance over the short-term but also create a comprehensive framework to assist with strategic decisions for many years to come,” said Joan Steinberg, Head of Morgan Stanley Community Affairs and President of the Morgan Stanley Foundation.

Participating nonprofits:


Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Chicago Youth Centers

Macaulay Honors College M

Children’s Aid Society

Reach the World

Children’s Museum of Manhattan


Covenant House

Tuesday’s Children

Family & Children’s Agency

Union Settlement Association

Friends for Youth

Working in Support of Education

Grameen America



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