Rusty Kennedy, Founding CEO
Orange County Human Relations

Orange County Human Relations fosters mutual understanding among residents and eliminates prejudice, intolerance and discrimination in order to make Orange County a better place for all people to live, work and do business. The Council provides an award-winning inter-group and violence prevention program in schools, and conflict resolution programs and inter-group relations initiatives in communities all over Orange County. For nearly 38 years, Rusty Kennedy has served as an inspiring, valued leader who has brought together hundreds of thousands of people in Orange County to create a safer, more inclusive community.

As the founder of an organization that combats the darker aspects of human nature – prejudice, intolerance and discrimination – and categorizes hate crimes, I am no stranger to looking hard at difficult problems. In 2013 Orange County Human Relations was forced to take such a hard look just to be able to continue the critical work we do in the face of sudden and significant funding changes.

Although we have done strategic planning yearly, the Sustainability Review conducted by The Olin Group truly paid off. We are closing our books on our first year in the black in 5 years.

Three major organizational areas benefited from The Olin Group’s review. First, they assessed how each of our programs contributes to our core mission, clarifying real costs and identifying sustainable options. This information allowed us to reallocate support without either large cancellations or radical reorganization. Second, the review allowed us to reevaluate our development structure, increasing staff in that area as well as the efficiency of our fund development. Lastly, The Olin Group’s review has become a key piece of our preparation for succession planning.

The Olin Group was able to hold a magnifying glass to the real costs associated with our programs and to illuminate a tangible path toward a long-term sustainable structure going forward.