Urban Ecology

Spring-Summer 2005
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Earned Income
Organization Type
Community or Economic Development,


Urban Ecology’s (UE) mission is to create neighborhoods that are thriving, healthy places to live. Based in downtown Oakland, Urban Ecology specializes in participatory land use planning that creates a vision for change, as well as policy advocacy that turns a community’s vision into reality. UE believes that vibrant neighborhoods - with a mix of housing, transportation and open spaces - serve as the building blocks of thriving cities and healthy regions. Its focus is on low-income, ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

Project Objectives

As UE sought ways to reduce its philanthropic dependency and to tap into new revenue streams, an ACT team was asked for help in evaluating the feasibility of a fee-for-service (FFS) income program.

Project Overview

The ACT team met with UE Board Chair, FFS Committee, and Executive Director to initiate project. The team then interviewed nonprofits with fee-for-service experience, as well as potential partners, competitors, and customers to identify market potential and UE strengths and weaknesses. Finally the ACT team developed a staffing plan and financial model.

Key Conclusions

  • Fee-for-service projects are feasible for UE, but there are limited opportunities and strong competitors
  • The new “mentor-staff-intern” strategy makes sense for FFS projects
  • Major grant funding is still needed, especially if FFS projects do not become visible as quickly as expected
  • Continue to look for partners for FFS projects, both non-profit and for-profit organizations

Final Report Outline

  • Project background and timing
  • Project plan outline
  • August report to board committee
  • UE’s financial challenge
  • UE’s new fee-for-service (FFS) strategy
  • Fee-for-service financial model
  • FFS modeling assumptions
  • Financial projections from FFS model
  • Project conclusions/recommendations
  • Next steps for UE


  • Information on Bay Area community planning marketplace
  • Fee-for-service financial model