Casa de Esperanza

This case is designed to document the main leadership decisions made in the life of a nonprofit founded to provide safe haven for Hispanic women experiencing domestic violence. It illustrates how leaders can develop "bicultural" organizations that both compete effectively for mainstream public and private resources and create new managerial and program principles based on the values of an ethnic community.

Case A documents the growth of the organization, in the context of the growing public recognition of the problem of violence against women and the establishment of public policy to confront it. It also describes the organizational challenges when a community-based organization must respond to the particular pressures of increased reliance on governmental funding. This segment of the case is decision-forcing; it is written to highlight an important moment in the organizational life cycle in which the main protagonist must make a key decision about the organization's mission.

Case B illustrates the organization's changes as a result of this decision about mission. As leaders embrace the agency's identity as a community-based Latina organization, rather than a government-funded domestic violence organization, they must confront many managerial challenges. The case describes the planning process, change in leadership, alterations in programming and operations caused by this new direction. Staff responses to these changes are also stressed, revealing the very human elements of organizational change.

Case C describes the institutionalization of the new organizational identity, including strengthening of organizational programs and operations to support the mission. In this case, the themes of Case A—the agency's relationship with the Latino community, domestic violence field, and government funders—are revisited in light of the new identity. New actions that were unthinkable before suddenly become realistic in light of the new organizational mission.

These cases have been used in many different classes or training venues, including courses about nonprofit and public management, leadership, family policy, and women's studies. They can be used individually or in combination, over a number of weeks. Discussion questions are included at the end of each segment.