Growth. What is it good for?

December 27, 2022

Photo of CEO David Ervin
David Ervin

To paraphrase Edwin Starr: Growth, what is it good for? Quite different from the balance of the iconic song, though, we believe growth is good for quite a lot. But, before we get too far along, let’s set some context. We’ll do so in a classic ‘Did You Know’ framework.

Did you know that Makom began its 40 years of work supporting people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) with five people in a single home?

Did you know that today, we support nearly 250 people in a combination of 40 homes, three MOST™ locations and countless locations around the DMV?

Did you know that in only the past couple of years, MOST™ has grown the number of people it supports from 30 to nearly 60?

Did you know that in only the past four full fiscal years, our operating budget has grown by more than 56%?

All of this data paints a picture of a growing organization. In the last 18 months, we’ve rolled out a new mission, vision and values, a new set of strategic imperatives, new organizational structures, and are working on new lines of support that fill gaps and address longstanding needs in and around the community—all the essential underpinnings of growth.

Among our strategic imperatives are these:
–Enhance and expand our service portfolio
–Diversify the organization’s business model, building on existing and targeting new sources of revenue to achieve greater balance across major revenue streams
These are explicitly growth-related imperatives, and they guide the work we do every day.

Still, the question remains: What is it good for? Put another way, why? Why grow?

Part of the answer is, believe it or not, found in our articles of incorporation. Our founders set our stall in May 1982:

The third of our three purposes directly related to furthering the purpose of the organization. We envisioned even then the need, the obligation perhaps, to support as many people as possible, to grow the reach and impact of the organization.

Beyond that, we seek to grow in response to an evolving environment. As we’ve all seen, one in 44 kids are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, an increase of 240% since the turn of the 21st Century. It’s more than just a number. People rightly expect a growing set of supports from organizations like Makom. They thankfully want more than just a nice place to live—they want lives of abundance, and they want to determine what that looks like and the kinds of supports they receive to achieve their aspirations.

For example, Makom has added 13 new properties since the start of October last year. Several have been added to accommodate growth in MyPad. The rest have been added to afford people receiving group home supports to live differently, in smaller, far more individualized settings, while allowing us to invite people who have been waiting to join Makom and receive our supports for some time.

We’re working on new and renewed service lines, both supports we’ve never offered and supports we’ve long offered re-imagined. This invites new people to consider Makom and grows the options we’re able to offer.

We’re excited to develop clinical supports and culturally accessible and competent healthcare options, to re-imagine MOST™ to focus on transitions for people with IDD as young as 14 that deliver post-secondary careers, education and community life, and more.

Growth—the furtherance of our purpose—just as our founders envisioned. And, just as our strategic plan contemplates. It extends the reach of our mission and deepens the impact of the outcomes experienced by people with IDD, and that, my friends, is what it’s good for.

Growth extends the reach of our mission and deepens the impact of outcomes.