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Curriculum Center Browse Bibliography Build EPacket Pricing Structure Distribution Process Management Control in Nonprofit Organizations
Meredith Center
Clarke, Roberta
Functional Area(s):
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pages: 20
Teaching Note: Not Available. 
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First Page and the Assignment Questions:
Are we serving the right people with the right types of services? Should we add some new services, and, if so, what kinds? Should we get rid of some existing services and if so, which ones? Or am I just worrying too much?

Jim King, President of The Meredith Center (TMC), had not been troubled by these questions until recently, when he began working with the Lighthouse, Inc.2 The Lighthouse, headquartered in New York City, described itself as the world’s leading resource on vision impairment and, with forty-six other blindness organizations, had put together the third annual National Vision Rehabilitation Day. Mr. King was now working with the Lighthouse to plan the fourth annual National Vision Rehabilitation Day. The exposure to a broadened set of perspectives offered by working closely with so many organizations serving the blind had caused him to question whether TMC was providing the best services possible to the adventitiously blind in upstate New York.


The Meredith Center, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, was a nonprofit agency that provided services to the adventitiously blind.3 TMC began as a custodial home for non sighted elderly women. Over the years, it had changed its orientation from custodial care to rehabilitation. After having started new programs aimed at self-sufficiency and rehabilitation, it discontinued the elderly women’s program some 15 years ago.

There were few other agencies located in the broad geographic area served by TMC (upstate New York) that provided educational, rehabilitative, and therapeutic services for the blind. One was a school for blind children between the ages of 5 and 21. Originally, in the early-to-mid-1900s, it had served only congenitally blind children of normal intelligence with no other significant handicaps. However, when the use of high oxygen cribs was eliminated from the treatment of premature infants (once it was discovered to be the leading cause of blindness in infants), the school’s population fell until the school was forced to expand its mission to include blind children with other significant handicaps as well. In addition, a local state institution for the retarded had a large blind unit that provided limited mobility training, occupational therapy, and education for the moderately retarded blind; most of the residents of this unit were under 21 years old. Finally, due to state mandates, special education departments in the state’s various school systems provided specialized education for blind children capable of maintaining the academic pace of their non-blind classmates.


1.    How is the blindness market segmented?

2.     Diagram the referral process. For whom does this process work and for whom does it not? What can be done to strengthen the referral process?

3.     Analyze Meredith Center’s service line in terms of profit (loss) per trainee, and in terms of growth potential.

4.     What are your recommendations for change?