Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

A letter from Gateway's President and CEO,
Kathryn R. O'Day, LCSW

In the face of exponential change for both nonprofits and the families that we serve, Gateway’s Board of Directors asked a courageous and important question: “How do we serve more children and families better than ever before?”

It was both an amazing honor and a daunting task when the Board hired me to achieve this goal.  Though I did not have all of the answers to the question above at the time, I knew exactly where to find them. By engaging everyone from Gateway's front-line staff to 100 percent of our Board and senior leadership, we began an intensive and inclusive strategic planning process.

The Strategic Planning Process:  

  • We first performed a thorough internal and external environmental scan.  This allowed us to compare our 125 year-old habits to an intensely fast-paced world.
  • Then we used the innovative spirit of our founders to develop a bold and ambitious vision: "A strong Alabama, built on a foundation of strong families.  Gateway will move our state forward by leading transformational change for children and families." 
  • Finally, we involved subject-matter experts from our community, state and across the country to help us plan our steps forward to navigate in uncertain social, economic and political climates.

Year One Accomplishments:  


In January 2015, we launched our strategic plan and quickly saw success.  Thanks to clear goals, objectives and strategies set for the first year, the staff was sufficiently motivated to accomplish them:

  • Expanded Intensive In-Home Services from two to 33 counties
  • Celebrated a record-breaking number of adoptions
  • Became the first and only agency fully trained in the nation’s leading trauma-informed care model
  • Met financial targets a year and a half ahead of schedule
  • Restructured every department, including the Board, to use resources to the maximum benefit for children and families
  • Received more than $2.3 million in community support and private contributions
  • Expanded Go2U School-Based Counseling Services
  • Launched a second-generation electronic health record system
  • Served more than 4,000 people

Year Two Accomplishments:  


Though it is easy to exhale after great success, our staff studied The 4 Disciplines of Execution and Peter Drucker's The Effective Executive in order to conquer "Wildly Important Goals" for year two and manage our teams effectively.  We once again surprised ourselves with our results:

  • Recruited two community leaders and innovative thinkers to serve as Gateway Board Members 
  • Licensed 20 new therapeutic foster homes using new foster parent recruitment and marketing techniques  
  • Shortened the length of time between a DHR workers first call and a child’s placement into a foster home to as low as 10 minutes, no later than 24 hours  
  • Despite having expanded from two to 33 counties, Intensive In-Home Services increased its success rate from 94 to 95 percent
  • Saw student grades increase from C to B averages due to Go2U School-Based Counseling 
  • Moved the Family Resource Center Team to the front lines of Gateway customer service, ensuring that anyone who calls or walks into Gateway first speaks to a licensed professional who can help  
  • Saw a 100 percent booking rate in family counseling 
  • Received one of the best Medicaid audits in the state and high compliments from ADAP  
  • Listed as one of Birmingham Business Journal’s top five best nonprofits  
  • Doubled Gateway’s social media following  
  • Leveraged smart-phone technology to ensure staff safety and high quality service delivery  
  • Worked with the Department of Mental Health Commissioner’s Community Engagement Committee to form a recommendation to the Governor regarding the Opioid Crisis in Alabama  
  • Ended the year financially strong and continued our 94 year-old partnership with the United Way of Central Alabama 

The Year Ahead


Though our team has accomplished a lot in a little bit of time, we are excited to accomplish major goals and initiatives for year three of the strategic plan.  Be on the lookout for more information on our website as we complete year three's planning process.

We know that the accomplishments from our strategic plan would not be possible without generations of support we have received from the community. With an uncertain forecast for government funding and public services, nonprofit agencies like Gateway must step up with the strongest local support possible in order to continue meeting rising needs in the face of flat or declining resources.

It is my hope that after exploring Gateway's website, you know that there are solutions to problems most claim are unsolvable.  With proven tools, a workforce of champions and generations of supporters like you, there is a way for every child and family in Alabama to succeed.

Families First,