With challenges mounting for those in the social service sector and pressure to perform at an all-time high, Forrest Alton and Heather Brandt have launched a new consulting firm, 1000 Feathers, to combat these challenges and assist nonprofits and social service organizations, thus bridging the divide between vision and strategy and leading to meaningful results and community change.
After spending the last 10 years serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Forrest Alton stepped down earlier this year to focus his energy on launching this new firm. In partnership with his wife, Heather Brandt, Alton has formed a team that understands the importance of strategic thinking, planning and performance, and collectively brings more than 40 years of combined experience in communities – working directly with foundations, nonprofits and government agencies.
"Our main value is to always remain client-centered, to present an approach to problem solving that results in our team working with our clients, not for them,” said Alton, who is serving as the President of the new firm. “Collectively our team has learned a lot about what it takes to create measurable change in communities. Most importantly, we have learned that there’s a big disconnect between the needs of communities, the vision of philanthropists, and the organizational strategies in the social service sector.”
In addition to bringing the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors closer together, 1000 Feathers also seeks to provide aggressive leadership development to help prepare organizations to better handle a changing landscape.
“Projecting out over the next several years, we are beginning to realize the combined impact of retiring baby boomers, changing approaches to funding and philanthropy, and a more crowded than ever nonprofit sector. There’s a need to create a space for more strategic thinking, bigger and bolder visions, and data-driven decision making,” said Brandt. While Brandt will maintain her current positions within the University of South Carolina, she will also serve as the company’s owner and will contribute to all major research projects.
The work of 1000 Feathers is based on the premise that a strong vision combined with thoughtful strategy is the only path to measurable results and real community change. But, what Brandt and Alton have uncovered through their professional careers and service on multiple state and national boards, is that there are a lot of moving parts to the “strategy + vision = results” formula, and often organizations and communities never get to the end results they desire. To create a meaningful experience for their future clients, 1000 Feathers will offer services focused on four key areas: executive consultation and leadership training; strategic thinking and planning; market engagement and communications; and research development and organization expansion.