Matrix Human Services

Scaling a 38-location Head Start program


The Problem

Matrix Human Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty, received a federal grant to implement a Head Start program in 38 locations throughout metro Detroit. In order to be eligible, the grant stipulated that Matrix must raise additional matching funds to sustain the program long-term.

Intensified competition throughout the sector and demanding grant requirements have placed many well-established organizations, like Matrix Human Services, on precarious footing. Without a clear path to meet these federally-mandated requirements, Matrix was at risk of losing the critical financial support that is needed to provide early childhood care and education and support the thousands of children and families to which is provides essential services each year.

Matrix needed a sustainable, multi-channel marketing strategy to accomplish two goals; to raise additional funds and to increase public awareness of the services Matrix Head Start and Matrix Human Services provides to the community.


The Solution

Acting as a strategic partner and advisor to Matrix’ leadership, Dandelion spent the first 30 days of the engagement reviewing and analyzing the existing structure of the Head Start program, including the organization’s existing fund development processes, to understand how funds were historically raised and identify new solutions to support the program’s long-term sustainability.

Together with Matrix’ planning and program development team, we developed a new strategy to fulfill the grant’s fundraising requirement and position Matrix to grow. Utilizing the messaging and communication tools Dandelion developed, the organization was able to position Matrix Human Services as a thought leader in early childhood education, and establish itself as the gold standard for Head Start Early Childhood Education programs in Detroit.