Sample Strategic Plan for First Things First
Strategic Plan (2001)

VISION STATEMENT

In an effort to reverse the trends of destructive relationships and to strengthen the infrastructure of our community First Things First:

� Advocates for strong, healthy, life long marriages between a man and a woman;
� Promotes the fact that it is imperative for both mothers and fathers to be active in the lives of their children; and
� Works to prevent out of wedlock pregnancies.

MISSION STATEMENT BASED ON COMMUNITY NEEDS AND STATISTICS

� The most recent data ranks Tennessee second in the nation for divorce, just behind Nevada. Almost one third of Hamilton County couples have been divorced at some time. In 2000, there were 1,803 divorce filings.
� Research conducted by FTF last year revealed that 25.9 percent of Hamilton County middle and high school students had four or more sexual partners, putting them at risk for pregnancy and disease.
� There has been an increase in out-of-wedlock births among 20-35 year old single women. It is estimated that out-of-wedlock births cost taxpayers a minimum of $6.9 billion each year.
� "The most significant family or social problem facing America is the physical absence of the father in the home," according to 79 percent of Hamilton County residents surveyed.

Mission Statement: First Things First is dedicated to strengthening families through education, collaboration, and mobilization.

INTERVENTION STRATEGIES

� FTF will develop a comprehensive marketing plan to increase awareness of FTF and its issues from 46 percent to 51 percent by August 2002. Activities will include comprehensive media campaigns, speaking engagements at civic and community organizations, coordination of special events, maintenance of a website with up to date information.
� FTF will collaborate with community organizations, educational institutions, and faith-based groups who can help us increase, by 30 percent, services provided to the community that are geared towards saving marriages, decreasing out-of-wedlock pregnancies and increasing father involvement in the lives of their children to help strengthen families by August 2002.
� FTF will work to mobilize individuals, corporations, places of worship, community organizations and the community at large to participate in activities that build up families in our community. FTF will accomplish this through increasing the number of trained facilitators from 75-150; hosting a minimum of one community wide mobilization in 2001; distribution of timely materials on a quarterly basis to community organizations, places of worship and corporations and follow-up with these organizations to determine how the material is being used.
� FTF will implement the 2001 Development Plan to increase funding sources by 10 percent. FTF will accomplish this through holding at least one large event with 900 participants; sending out quarterly ask letters to inform donors of their work, etc.

OBJECTIVES

First Things First began in August of 1997 in an attempt to reverse the decline of the family in Hamilton County and to promote positive initiatives and programs that would strengthen families and prevent the problems associated with family decline.

We have three goals:
� Reduce divorce filings by 30 percent
� Reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Hamilton County by 30 percent
� Increase father involvement in the lives of their children by 30 percent

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The Marriage Alliance of Central Virginia:
Building stronger families
through stronger marriages
for a stronger community

"Marriage is the foundation of the family and the fam-ily is the founda-tion of society:
if we strengthen marriage, we strengthen the fam-ily, we strengthen the children and
we strengthen the com-munity. If your goal is to help im-prove the world, marriage
is as good a place as any to start."
-  Diane Sollee,
Grand Rapids Family Summit, 1998
 

Statement of Mission
The Marriage Alliance of Central Virginia is a cooperative network of faith communities that supports
marriage and family life by providing training, support and resources to congregations to assist them
in premarital preparation, marriage enrichment, parent and family training and other efforts to promote
and maintain a positive marriage culture in the community.

What is the Marriage Alliance of Central Virginia?
The Marriage Alliance of Central Virginia (MACV) is a cooperative network of faith communities that
supports marriage and family life by providing training, support and resources to congregations to
assist them in premarital preparation, marriage en-richment, parent and family training and other efforts
to promote and maintain a positive marriage culture in the community.
 

Who is involved in the Marriage Alliance?
The Marriage Alliance is made up of a broad spectrum of faith communities throughout the Central Virginia
area.  It is non-sectarian and has no creed or required statement of doctrine.  It was begun by pastors and
other religious leaders because the majority of marriages begin in a house of worship, and we believe
that our congregations are a good place to begin the transformation of our culture to be more pro-marriage
and pro-family.

Why was the Marriage Alliance formed?
It was formed in response to the increasing pressures on marriage and family in our culture ? pressures
which tend toward many divorces, lack of parental responsibility (es-pecially on the part of fathers), breakdown
of communications, and so on.  Our goal is to turn those attitudes around.

� Pre- and post-marital mentoring
� Marriage enrichment seminars
�"Blended" family enrichment
� Parenting workshops
� Marriage and family prayer vigil
� Couples Club events
�"The Big Decision" seminars for High School youth

How can I get involved in the Marriage Alliance?

� support this effort with your prayers
� encourage your pastor or congregational leader(s) to become part of the Alliance.
� volunteer to help
� contribute financially (MACV is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and contributions are tax-deductible)

How can I find out more  about the Marriage Alliance?
Check out our website: www.marriagealliance.org
Email us at info@marriagealliance.org

Lynchburg Area Marriage Covenant
 As religious leaders representing many faith traditions and a broad spectrum of beliefs within those
traditions, we have come together in an Alliance specifically to pledge our active support of those
who ask to be married in our faith communities, as well as those who are married and seek to enrich
their relationships.  Additionally, we will provide, when possible, experiences that can strengthen
families who turn to our communities of faith for help and guidance on family-related issues and concerns.

 Although each faith community in the Alliance is at liberty to decide how best to provide active
support, all of the undersigned accept the responsibility to work within their faith communities
to provide premarital preparation.  We believe premarital preparation can strengthen future
marriages by helping prospective couples examine the complexities inherent in marriage,
discuss differing viewpoints that may exist between the couple and appreciate more fully the
significance marriage holds within their respective faith traditions.  Accordingly, we pledge to
encourage a courtship of no less than one year and a commitment to six sessions or the equivalent
of premarital preparation.

 For faith communities interested, our Alliance will seek to provide regular training for selected
[mentor] couples that will prepare them to provide premarital preparation for engaged couples
and enrichment for married couples.  In the future, we pledge to help one another by sharing
resources, including speakers, workshops, classes, retreats, programs, and referral training.
These resources should foster marriage and family growth and will also help meet the needs
of individuals and families adjusting to separation, divorce, or the death of family members.

 The Alliance's future will be fluid as it strives to help member faith communities improve the lives
of individuals and families within the greater Central Virginia community through its ministry.
 

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