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Center for Urban Families Team Wins First Place in Morgan Stanley’s 12th Annual U.S. Strategy Challenge

Author: Marilyn Aklin

May 27, 2021

Beginning March 17 and ending May 26, Morgan Stanley selected the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) and 5 other nonprofits to participate in its 12th Annual U.S. Strategy Challenge, the Firm’s signature pro bono volunteer program, where Morgan Stanley employees provided strategic recommendations to address the nonprofits’ mission-critical challenges and critical opportunities.

During the past 11 weeks, CFUF was matched with a team of top-performing Morgan Stanley employees who worked with the Center virtually to explore social enterprise opportunities.

The Morgan Stanley team provided strategic recommendations to CFUF as it considered pursuing social enterprise to help diversify its revenue stream in support of its mission. Options explored include monetizing the Center’s evidence-based fatherhood curriculum and making it more widely available to organizations that serve, or want to serve, urban fathers; and expanding the Center’s services as a fiscal sponsor for local organizations that lack 501(c)(3) status and find it difficult to obtain foundation grants.

The effort concluded virtually in a final competition where the Morgan Stanly teams presented their final recommendations to a panel of judges.

On May 26, CFUF won first place in Morgan Stanley’s Strategy Challenge with the recommendation that CFUF monetize their evidence-based fatherhood curriculum, while providing access to training and other services to nonprofits.

“Participating in the Strategy Challenge has been a rewarding experience for the Center for Urban Families,” said Brian Lyght, Chief Operating Officer at CFUF. “The Morgan Stanley team was adept at understanding our mission-critical strategic challenges and developing analyses and recommendations to address them. CFUF is better positioned now, more than ever, to explore developing a social enterprise model to scale our evidence-based programming that supports urban, African American fathers.”

CFUF is grateful for this opportunity, and we have begun to implement key recommendations to improve the existing fatherhood curriculum.

For more information about the Strategy Challenge, visit