Mission Writing – Mar 11, 2012

Mission Writing Sub-Committee
Sunday March 11, 2012 

Conference Call Participants:  Margaret Martin, Mark Sarich, Susan Schoonmaker, Nan Westervelt

The mission writing volunteers started their effort to draft a mission by reviewing a list of comments by Working Group participants that Nan Westervelt culled from previous Working group minutes.  The comments were selected because they seemed to illuminate the guiding principles the Working Group members agreed to follow in the creation of association by-laws.   The statements were useful in incorporating the thoughts, hopes, and wishes of Working Group as draft mission was developed—a mission that would communicate the essence of the organization to its stakeholders the public.

To help structure the writing process, Nan also submitted a mission writing template from “Strategic Planning for Non-Profit Organization: A Practical guide and workbook” by Michael Allison and Jude Kaye as a guide.    The mission statement guidelines suggested that a mission statement should include the following:

  • purpose –  one sentence that describes the end result an organization seeks to accomplish (and for whom);
  • “business” – a description of the primary means (program, action, services, etc.) used to accomplish the purpose;
  • values – guiding principles shared by members of an organization and practiced in their work, a two-sentence mission was drafted.

The volunteers also used a couple examples of concise and clear mission statements to guide their thinking and Margaret suggested the group draft a vision statement to accompany the mission in order to provide a guiding image of success.

DRAFT Mission Statement:
El Sistema USA promotes the positive development of underprivileged young people through the study, practice and ensemble performance of music. We foster the collaboration and success of member organizations by providing research and information resources, professional development and networking opportunities, advocacy, funding, and high profile leadership.

DRAFT Vision Statement:
We believe we can transform underprivileged families and communities by empowering youth towards self determination, self actualization and mutual acceptance through the study, practice and ensemble performance of music.


  1. The mission writing template we used to structure the writing process.
  2. A copy of the comments by Working Group members organized according to Purpose, Business and Values.

1 Response to Mission Writing – Mar 11, 2012

  1. isabel trautwein says:

    Folks in my Cleveland program are VERY SENSITIVE toward the word “underprivileged”. I suggest avoiding and using at least the term “underserved” or better: “children with unequal access to arts education”.

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