Home Depot Foundation and Atlanta Government

Executive Summary

The Home Depot Foundation, a registered non-profit public charity, is a major national organization that helps seniors, disabled, and homeless veterans across the country obtain affordable houses, repairs, and disaster-related aid. The charity organization funds, assists, and grants the nonprofits nationwide to help these companies fulfill the veteran- and community-oriented goals. Within the project, the Home Depot Foundation will cooperate with the Atlanta City Council, a local government, to improve the neighborhoods and the US military veterans’ living conditions. The project covers the exploration of various aspects of the collaboration based on the shared service.

Introduction

The shared community improvement project among Atlanta, Georgia, and The Home Depot Foundation, a charitable non-profit organization, is aimed to improve the living conditions and help the underserved in the local area. The main concern of the project is providing senior, disabled, and homeless veterans the appropriate living conditions and building and repairing houses after natural disasters. The public-private partnership, in this case, shows the positive tendencies, as the collaboration requires an adversarial and a cooperative relationship framework, where the nonprofit can perform without being dependent on the government’s subsidies. The shared service assessment covered exploring the parties’ communication channels, relationships, technology, grant-for-aid issues, socio-economic and cooperative constraints, and the project proved to bring solid positive changes in the future.

The Home Depot Foundation Support

The Home Depot Foundation is a registered in 2002 non-profit organization that aims to resolve the housing issue for the US military veterans and their families, including homeless, wounded, and senior veterans (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). Apart from the main activity the non-profit assists the victims of natural disasters and provides financial aid to the non-profit organizations which transform the communities, mostly in veteran-related context (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). The Foundation acts according to the 501(c)(3) register code and is a public charity that accumulates funds and assists the community-improving non-profit organizations (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). Within the assignment, the shared service between the Foundation and Atlanta City Council will be discussed.

As long as the Foundation is an initiative of the Home Depot corporation, it owns a considerable funding resource to conduct its work. Alongside the corporation’s financing, the Foundation seeks investments and donations in various forms to translate them into sufficient leverages for positive change (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). While the Foundation is registered as a public charity, it owns an active fundraising system, which should include a contributors’ network of the general public, other private organizations, government agencies, and others (“Public Charities,” 2018). The main strategic goal of the Foundation, accumulating and investing $250 million in veteran-related improvements, was reached in 2018 instead of planned 2020 (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). The Home Depot Foundation acts on the national stage and thus cooperates with numerous nonprofits and local governments. While conducting the neighborhood upgrades and investing in veterans’ capabilities, the organization fulfills its responsibilities not only against the governmental environment but also against communities and citizens.

Communication Strategy

The coursework includes exploring a particular partnership between the House Depot Foundation and the government of Atlanta, Georgia. The mission of such collaboration is to foster creating homes for veterans and strengthening the community’s values. One important aspect of the coordination is a communications strategy both of a nonprofit and a governmental agency. One study suggests that having communicational channels is a must for a non-profit organization during major changes (Bryson, 2018). The proposed communication tools include various modern social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and others, to create an opportunity for community members to express their ideas and thoughts on the matter of future changes (Bryson, 2018). Another study stresses that modern non-profit organizations neglect the social media and digital channels of communication and thus struggle in informing the community (Goldkind, 2015). At the same time, communicating and coordinating with a governmental agency may simply require e-mail reporting and arranging project meetings to adjust the unbalanced measures of both parties. This strategy allows controlling the progress and conducting effective coordination of the participants. The publicity also becomes an active unit in creating and implementing the project.

The Home Depot Foundation is a nationwide public charity company that created a considerable network of the major non-profit US companies (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). Such organizations as the American Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, Gary Sinise Foundation, and other non-profit corporations are among its partners, and the Foundation interacts with them by providing grants, volunteer programs, and other assistance in building homes for veterans. The Home Depot Foundation has also sufficiently evolved the publicity communication channels, as they report regularly using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). The Foundation may need to create a narrow channel of spreading the news for the Atlanta project. For instance, encouragement of local nonprofits to participate and an announcement of future works in Atlanta through social media can be enough to draw public attention to the project. The Atlanta City Council might also need to improve the communications and deliver the latest news to the citizens through social tools.

The Council’s Relationships to the Nonprofit’s Objectives

The mission of The Home Depot Foundation is to create homes and improve veterans’ lives through the US. The measures implemented to fulfill the mission are the company’s programs. Among the latter, the National Partner Grants Program fosters non-profit organizations’ cooperation in building houses for senior veterans, those with service-connected disabilities, and responds to the disaster consequences (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). Disaster Relief Program covers the Foundation’s assist during the recovery from natural disasters and implies providing supplies and resources to the national non-profit partners for the rebuild (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). Finally, Team Depot is a volunteer force led by the Home Depot employees, who participate in the above-listed programs to deliver positive changes in communities (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). The set of the Foundation’s objectives and practical measures will require cooperation and coordination from the Atlanta City government.

The government and a non-profit organization can assist each other in several aspects. The framework which dictates the common measures during a common project outlines the three directions of collaboration: complementary, supplementary, and adversarial relationships (Derrick-Mills, 2015). The first type appears when both government and a non-profit company have insufficient resources to conduct the work on a project separately, and they provide the resources at their disposal to the other party for a successful implementation of the project goals (Derrick-Mills, 2015).

The second type emerges when there is a need to feel the service needs not met by the other party (Derrick-Mills, 2015). For instance, the governments often omit certain groups of citizens from the impact of a project, and a nonprofit may create additional access to the service for such individuals. The last type of relationship appears when one party emphasizes the urgency of certain services and advises the other party on the possible measures to improve it (Derrick-Mills, 2015). As an example, a local government can express a need for a certain service to a nonprofit which can fulfill the idea the most effectively. The Atlanta City Council’s relationships should be in adversarial and complementary form, as the Foundation has its fundraising framework and only needs to discover the needs of Atlanta’s veterans and community.

Strengthen Relationships Using the Technology

The mission of the shared service between the government of Atlanta and the Foundation will be easier to fulfill with the technology which can strengthen the relationships between the nonprofit, the government, and the community. One study (Berman, 2014) encourages non-profit companies to use information technology for the working process improvement. The positive aspects of information technology are numerous, including an upgrade in information analysis, fast access to online services, and hence increasing online communication levels (Berman, 2014). Information technologies are proved to foster the solid relationships between nonprofits, governments, and communities, and serve the needs of publicity more efficiently (Berman, 2014). The other innovations from the private sector can also benefit relationships. The examples of possible borrowed methods are electronic learning, e-conferences held with the concerned citizens and reaching the public through social media.

The Home Depot is a modern for-profit corporation that complexly supports its non-profit Foundation, so the public charity has various technological instruments at its disposal. As the Home Depot is a progressive and succeeding commercial organization and, at the same time, a value-driven community aiming to provide housing for veterans and the poor, the corporation gives the Foundation its full technological support in the charitable projects. As a result, the Home Depot Foundation uses several communicational channels through the popular social networks, has created its network of respectable non-profit organizations, and encourages the volunteers to participate in improving the neighborhoods. The main issue within the project is the Council’s need to upgrade its electronic communication to align with the Foundation’s technological resources. The technological equilibrium will strengthen the cooperation between the government and the nonprofit and accelerate the service’s implementation.

Grants-in-Aid Advocating Challenges

Fee-for-service, grants-in-aid, and eligibility service models promotion may appear challenging within the government-nonprofit relationships. When the governments subsidize non-profit projects, the difficulty usually is to track grant spending and control its publicity, transparency, and fairness. Another obstacle to advocating grants and subsidies is bureaucracy and corruption on behalf of a governmental agency. While a public unit can approve grants for nonprofits, at the same time, the government can pursue some personal interests or have fraudulent ambitions.

The solution to the above-mentioned issues requires regular reporting, transparent transactions, and mutual trust of both a non-profit organization and a government unit.

The main asset of a non-profit organization may be its reputation. According to one research (Grant & Potoski, 2015), an appropriate non-profit company’s positioning may considerably stimulate the incoming donations. Partially, the significant impact of a nonprofit’s reputation on the funding might be explained by a certain inability to measure the quality of such organizations’ activity (Grant & Potoski, 2015). The main idea that should be taken into consideration by the growing non-profits is to maintain a positive reputational image during the evolving process.

While seeking for grants and fee-for-service may be the major concern of the usual non-profit charitable organizations, the Home Depot Foundation does not face such a problem. The public charity is an experienced respectful company that, for almost two decades of its existence, has created a network of partners and has attracted numerous sources of donations (“The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot,” 2018). Today, the Foundation manages the finance flows and provides grants and financial help to the partner companies and less significant but determined non-profit units. The further ways of generating donation-based income are social media integration, maintaining the reputation of the concerned and assisting organization, and widening the existing non-profit network. The directions of growth are defined, but the Foundation is already making progressive steps to meet the funding requirements of future programs.

Social, Economic, and Political Constraints

Every company confronts several barriers related to its operating activity. Whether it is a commercial or charitable organization, numerous political, economic, and social factors can become an obstacle to conducting a company’s work. Nonprofits are no exception and the charitable companies can also suffer from limited performance caused by several restrictions. Political factors that can affect a non-profit organization’s productivity depend on the country leaders’ intentions or preferences (Bryson, 2018). If one leader, for example, stresses on the encouragement of military development, then charitable non-profits can struggle to find political support and financing.

Social barriers can emerge when a community is stagnant for changes or there are certain beliefs in society that deter the nonprofits’ measures from effective implementation. Nonprofits are also considerably affected by tax policies, despite being registered as companies with tax-deductible operations (Bryson, 2018). Although the charity and not-for-profit units conduct their affairs tax-free and every incoming donation is considered deductible from taxes, there is still a possibility of the Internal Revenue Service legislation shift (Bryson, 2018). With the growing federal budget exceeds and annual cuts in financing social programs, the future tax implementations may also become an obstacle to charitable companies. As for the economic situation, it is proved that the donations depend on the economic cycle and the wellbeing of taxpayers and the economy as a whole (Bryson, 2018). The above restricting aspects are the most evident obstacle examples in a non-profit activity, but there are many more barriers that a nonprofit should prepare for during its performance.

The Home Depot Foundation is a solid charity company that proved its sustainability by operating for almost two decades and helping to create homes for veterans nationwide. It is backed up by the profitable corporation with shared values and stable operating income, which creates an additional pool of liquidity in a case of drastic socio-economic changes. Also, the public charity has sufficient donation sources which allowed forming a national cooperative network of nonprofits related to veterans’ needs. The Foundation needs to advance in its activity and maintain a condition of major charity partner for struggling growing nonprofits.

Contracting and Collaborating Issues

The collaboration between non-profit organizations and government agents can cause several struggles. Among the challenges a non-profit party can face within a shared service is lack of financial coverage on the programs, sophisticated and time-consuming communication and reporting mechanisms, inadequate requirements of local governments, payment debts, or changes in grant contracts (Bryson, 2018). The main concern of a shared service agreement parties is preventing the contract deviation due to changing conditions.

As long as the House Depot Foundation collaborates with the Atlanta Council without a contractual basis, the financial controversies are not an issue for the charity organization. The appropriate communication and monitoring of the parties’ responsibilities are the aspects that need precise attention instead. Collaboration between the Foundation and the partners who receive financial aid is a similar model to government-nonprofit cooperation. To effectively manage the investment of the charitable resources, the Foundation requires that its subsidiaries meet the rigorous requirements of the organization before the assistance is granted.

Reflection

The conducted research within the project has uncovered numerous aspects of public-private partnerships, shared services between nonprofits and local or state governments, and the possible operational barriers to such arrangements and their overcoming. The main conclusion that can be formed is that a non-profit organization can grow into a nationally recognized company. It should pursue the aim of becoming independent from grants and subsidies and create a solid fundraising system that can afford to maintain itself and other non-profit companies. As an example of The Home Depot Foundation demonstrates, the goal is achievable when the participants are devoted to the company’s mission. For me, as an operations manager, the learned material can be applied in the future career in numerous aspects. The study revealed essential aspects of fundraising, collaborating, setting and fulfilling goals, financial management, and other operations the nonprofits conduct within the shared services or projects. I will consider the Foundation’s unyielding ambitions and sufficient ways of their fulfillment in my future endeavors.

References

Berman, M. (2014). Productivity in public and nonprofit organizations (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Bryson, J. M. (2018). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations a guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Derrick-Mills, T. M. (2015). Exploring the dimensions of nonprofit competition through its supplementary, complementary, and adversarial relationships with the government. Nonprofit Policy Forum, 6(2), 243-262.

Goldkind, L. (2015). Social media and social service: are nonprofits plugged into the digital age? Human Service Organizations, 39(4), 380-396.

Grant, E. L., & Potoski, M. (2015). Collective reputations affect donations to nonprofits. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 34(4), 835-852.

Public Charities. (2018). Web.

The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot. (2018). Web.