A Strategic Plan for the Second Century

Vizcaya, one of America's few internationally recognized castles, was created as James Deering's subtropical winter home in the 1910s. Components of the building and much of the art and furnishings were imported from buildings and collections in Europe. Today the building, the collection, and the extensive gardens are a National Historic Landmark and accredited museum in Miami. Vizcaya engages with community members and tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe in developing learning opportunities through the arts, history, and the environment.

As Vizcaya approached its Centennial in 2016, it seemed an appropriate time to conduct a strategic planning process to identify priorities for the institution's sustainability into its second century. During the initial phases of the planning, WolfBrown consultants conducted an organizational assessment, which included interviews, onsite visits, and a review of documents as well as a situational analysis. With staff, the consultants developed a list of the priority areas of focus for the planning process and looked more closely at issues related to governance, programs, finances, fund raising, and plans for capital improvements. Of particular concern was the relationship between County government (which owns Vizcaya) and the institution's nonprofit support organization. A second major issue concerned the potential development of additional property that was coming available as a result of the local Science Museum vacating its building located on what was part of the original Vizcaya complex.

Working with the executive director and key senior staff, the consultants contributed to initial goals and strategies for the strategic plan. They conducted extensive best practice research looking at other institutions around the country and developed specific recommendations regarding an improved organizational structure (eliminating many of the inefficient elements of the bifurcation between local government and the independent nonprofit fund-raising entity). During the final phase, action steps and timelines were developed by staff to complete the previously drafted plan framework. The final work products included a detailed strategic plan, complete with financial scenarios and action steps, a timeline, and a separate, detailed, fundraising plan. The Boards of both arms of Vizcaya's governance and support structure approved the final plan.

Consultants: Thomas Wolf, Jane Culbert
Year Complete: 2013