Helping education, government and nonprofit leaders envision and achieve a brighter future for those they serve.
Portage Partners is the outfitter, navigator and beacon of courage on the journey to excellence for schools, districts, higher education institutions, nonprofits and government agencies. We are a mission-driven consulting group that supports the leaders and organizations making the world better place through community engagement, strategic planning and implementation support.
Our services include:
The Portage Partners Difference:
EQUITY-FIRST: We believe that all planning and implementation efforts must be hyper-conscious of the inequities that are currently baked into our systems and culture. Our approach is built to break-through the status quo in how we work as well as the products we help create. Meaningful stakeholder engagement, human-centered design tools and equity focused decision-making are just some of the strategies we use to help our clients build more equitable solutions.
RESULTS-FOCUSED: Delivering results for our clients is our top priority. We are frequently called in when organizations are struggling to land the plane on an issue or agenda. We give critical conversations the time and space they require while maintaining a focus on keeping the process moving forward. We are the the chief-of-staff / planning office / project management team that you wish you had. We roll-up our sleeves and deliver real results for our clients.
PRACTICAL: We understand the competing demands on your time and limited resources. We're here to get you focused, organized and supported to achieve your goals as quickly as possible. Our process is streamlined, expedited and designed to get you to your desired results fast.
CUSTOMIZED: You will never get a cookie-cutter approach from us. While we have a large set of tested tools and approaches and a broad network of functional and subject-matter experts to bring to the table, we are flexible and strategic in how we use these resources. For each engagement put together the right team and tools to meet your unique needs and context.
PARTNERS: You know your constituents, content and environment better than anyone else. We are here to free you up to do what you do best by bringing the right tools, training and support to keep you on the path to results. Our process is designed to turn your vision into a reality. We walk with you and your team as a coach and partner, helping you achieve and sustain transformational outcomes.
INCLUSIVE: We are highly skilled at achieving transformational results under the public spotlight and in partnership with a diverse array of stakeholders. We know that engaging and including stakeholders early and often in any change process is critical to successfully achieve sustainable results. Our process will delight your stakeholders and provide you with the meaningful and actionable input you need to make great decisions.
ENGAGING: There is nothing worse than sitting in a windowless conference room being talked at. You can expect just the opposite when you work with Portage Partners. We are serious about the work we do with clients, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our sessions are fun, interactive and engaging. Participants in our sessions leave feeling heard, respected and energized about the future.
Brooklyn Center Community Schools
City of Brooklyn Park
City of Minneapolis
Creative Enterprise Zone, St. Paul
League of Women Voters – Edina
Minneapolis Public Schools
Minnesota Department of Revenue
Patrick Henry HS, Minneapolis
Pohlad Family Foundation
Richfield Public School District
Saint Louis Public School District
University of MN – University Relations
University of Minnesota System
White Bear Lake Area Schools
Support for PK-12 Education
We help PreK-12 clients navigate choppy waters and come out on the other side achieving more for their students than they ever dreamed possible. Whether it's a pressing performance gap that needs to be addressed, a transition to new leadership or just making sense of the increasing complexity of today's education landscape, Portage Partners specializes in re-designing and re-energizing the strategic planning process for schools and districts. We help education leaders develop plans for the future with their students, staff and parents that do more than sit on a shelf. We help you make your dreams a reality. Learn how we can help with the development and implementation of your World’s Best Workforce Plan, Charter School Annual Report, School Improvement Plan or Autonomous/Teacher-Led School Application. We can also assist when you need to bring the voices of stakeholders into a conversation about budget development or major program changes.
RECENT PREK-12 CLIENTS:
Agency strategic plan and implementation system
Clark County Public Schools, English Learner Department (NV)
Department implementation system
Agency strategic plan
English Learner Success Forum
Minneapolis Public Schools
District strategic plan and implementation system, district-wide department planning/accountability system
Patrick Henry High School
School strategic plan and implementation system
Pinellas County Schools (FL)
District implementation system
Richfield High School
St. Louis Public Schools (MO)
District strategic plan and implementation system
"Meredith is a top-notch consulting professional who is as good at managing the many details that come with a strategic planning process as she is at facilitating a large group of district executives to consensus on contentious issues. The work that Meredith and her consulting partners did at SLPS was a major contributor to a shift in our leadership culture and management systems, accelerating the district's path to regaining full accreditation. Most importantly, our district is now set up to successfully accomplish our desired strategic changes and improve the quality of the educational experience for our nearly 25,000 students.
"Meredith was able to assemble the right stockholders and achieve consensus on a plan for our transportation department. Meredith's understanding of how to identify the problem and facilitate a process that involved multiple stakeholders to solve the problem was key for our school district. I would rate the solution a 10 out of 10."
"Meredith is a systems-thinker who is great at setting up the right conditions for leaders to make key decisions and then building the capacity of the organization to make those priorities a reality...she works tirelessly to ensure the success of every child."
"Portage Partners helped me design and implement a process that allowed for a five year strategic plan involving input from students, parents, staff, and community members. Then they helped me establish a sustainable system that allows me to progress monitor and routinely evaluate the priorities. As a new principal, they made my job much easier in terms of establishing a system for data review and accountability. They also allowed me to lead through my vision while getting voices from others to determine the direction of the school for the next five years. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend Portage Partners to my colleagues!"
"I selected Meredith and her team at Portage Partners because I knew her deep understanding of educational systems and I believed in her strong focus on the implementation of a strategic plan. This process has been a HUGE SUCESS for my organization. The process was incredibly inclusive of all stakeholders and yet was successfully completed in a timely manner...we are now in a strong position for the next five years!
"Meredith quickly identifies organizational challenges, listens carefully to organizational and personal interests, creatively crafts options for leadership to consider and works collaboratively with leadership to effectively implement the solutions."
Support for State & Local Government
Portage Partners Consulting creates dynamic strategic plans and installs implementation management processes in local and state government agencies. We help public officials develop plans with their constituents that build communities that flourish. Learn how we can help with the development and implementation of your City, County or State Agency Strategic Plan. We can also assist when you need to bring the voices of your stakeholders into a conversation about your budget, redevelopment or major governance changes.
RECENT GOVERNMENT CLIENTS:
City of Brooklyn Park
City of Minneapolis
Organizational analysis and program implementation
Department strategic plan
Owatonna Forward (citizen initiative)
Implementation system design
Support for Higher Education
Portage Partners Consulting redefines the process of strategic planning and implementation for higher education institutions. We help higher ed administrators develop plans in consultation with their faculty, staff and students that do more than gather dust on a shelf. Learn how we can help with the development and implementation of your department or collegiate strategic plan. We can also assist when you need to bring the voices of your stakeholders into a conversation about your budget or major program / policy changes.
RECENT HIGHER EDUCATION CLIENT:
University of Minnesota
System-wide strategic plan incl. statewide listening campaign
"Meredith is a top-notch consulting professional who is excellent at communicating with a wide range of people, making people feel comfortable in offering their viewpoints, synthesizing what she hears across settings, and translating our learnings into an actionable plan. I can't imagine how we could of done this [system-side strategic plan] without the skills and expertise of someone like Meredith."
-Rebecca Ropers-Huilman, Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, University of MN
Support for Nonprofits and Foundations
We help nonprofits and foundations navigate the complexity of a changing landscape and come out on the other side achieving more for their clients and constituents than they ever dreamed possible. Whether it's a pressing performance gap that needs to be addressed, a transition to new leadership or just making sense of the increasing complexity of today's civic-sector landscape, Portage Partners Consulting specializes in re-designing and re-energizing the strategic planning process for nonprofits and foundations. We help leaders develop plans for the future with their board, clients, funders and staff that do more than sit on a shelf. We help you make your dreams a reality. Learn how we can help with the development and implementation of your strategic plan, operational plan or annual report. We can also assist when you need to bring the voices of stakeholders into a conversation about budget development or major program changes.
RECENT NON-PROFIT / FOUNDATION CLIENTS:
Pohlad Family Foundation
Strategic plan and implementation system design
Strategic plan and implementation system
"This process has been a HUGE SUCESS for my organization. My board is thrilled with the result, my staff is completely bought into our direction and next steps because they helped build it and we are now in a strong position for the next five years. Meredith was a true thought partner with me and the planning team. As we move forward into implementation, she has been there every step of the way, which has been invaluable to me as a new leader of this organization."
-Danielle Grant, President & CEO, AchieveMpls