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The Forsyth Institute

 245 First Street
 Cambridge, MA 02142
[P] (617) 262-5200
[F] (617) 262-4021
[email protected]
John Izzo
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2104230

LAST UPDATED: 12/04/2017
Organization DBA The Forsyth Institute
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Forsyth is the world’s leading independent research institute dedicated to improving oral health, and reducing interrelated systemic diseases and conditions.  The Forsyth Institute portfolio includes basic research, translational research, community-benefit programs for underserved populations and Forsyth Faculty Associates, a private dental practice serving Kendall Square and surrounding areas.

Forsyth's mission is to lead the discovery, communication and application of breakthroughs in oral health and disease prevention that will significantly improve the health and well-being of our nation and the world.

Mission Statement

Forsyth is the world’s leading independent research institute dedicated to improving oral health, and reducing interrelated systemic diseases and conditions.  The Forsyth Institute portfolio includes basic research, translational research, community-benefit programs for underserved populations and Forsyth Faculty Associates, a private dental practice serving Kendall Square and surrounding areas.

Forsyth's mission is to lead the discovery, communication and application of breakthroughs in oral health and disease prevention that will significantly improve the health and well-being of our nation and the world.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $23,717,624.00
Projected Expense $23,717,624.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Education Outreach Program (EOP)
  • Forsyth Science
  • ForsythKids

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Forsyth is the world’s leading independent research institute dedicated to improving oral health, and reducing interrelated systemic diseases and conditions.  The Forsyth Institute portfolio includes basic research, translational research, community-benefit programs for underserved populations and Forsyth Faculty Associates, a private dental practice serving Kendall Square and surrounding areas.

Forsyth's mission is to lead the discovery, communication and application of breakthroughs in oral health and disease prevention that will significantly improve the health and well-being of our nation and the world.

Background Statement

Founded in 1910, as The Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children, the organization's founding mission was to provide free dental care to children in Boston. Between 1914 and the mid-1950s, an estimated 500,000 children received their dental care here.  In the mid-1900s, researchers at Forsyth revolutionized the oral health profession when they discovered the connections between dental decay and bacteria. Building on these revelations, the Institute has become an independent research organization dedicated to advancing human health and well-being through scientific discovery and education. Forsyth is committed to both research and clinical practice and brings its expertise in oral disease prevention and treatment to the local community through the ForsythKids school-based cavity prevention program, which provides dental care to thousands of underserved children throughout Massachusetts.

Areas of Research:
  • Global Infectious Disease Research
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Skeletal Biology & Biomineralization
  • Developmental Biology & Tissue Regeneration
  • Clinical Research

Forsyth, an independent organization, is affiliated with Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Harvard Medical School and has collaborations with universities and research organizations around the world.

Impact Statement

Forsyth has undergone transformative organizational changes in recent years as it enters its second century of contributions to human health.  The accomplishments include: relocation to a state-of-the-art facility in Kendall Square, now the epicenter of the U.S. biotechnology industry; a science recruitment campaign that is revitalizing our research agenda; new revenue streams and fiscal policies that can serve as a model for long term institutional sustainability; and organizational restructuring that will increase energy and engagement throughout the Institute.


For the current year, Forsyth is focused on: continuously improving the quality and impact of its science and community outreach (through recruitment, career development of staff, continued enhancement of technology, and facilitation of science and community programs) and ensuring sustainability and growth through new revenue streams.

Needs Statement

Forsyth's school-based cavity prevention program, ForsythKids, seeks funding to sustain its $935,000 budget.  ForsythKids is an evidence-based program in which a team of dental professionals travel to 50+ sites in Massachusetts to deliver comprehensive oral health preventive services to low-income children.  We are expanding services in the Boston area, particularly to pre-schools, and now to homeless children, to meet oral health needs of underserved children. The program relies solely on support from foundation, corporations, individuals, and state government.
In addition, The Forsyth Institute seeks funding for its science programs in basic and clinical/translational research. Topic areas include: obesity, diabetes, global infectious disease, alzheimer's disease, periodontology, bone biology, microbial ecology and pathogenesis, immunity and inflammation.

CEO Statement

Forsyth has been a leader in its field since its founding, first as a free dental infirmary for the children of Boston, and for the past four decades as the world's leading independent oral health research institution. At Forsyth, basic, translational and clinical scientists work closely in a highly collaborative environment to generate breakthroughs that exemplify science in the service of humanity.
We strive to understand basic biological processes, while continuously directing this knowledge toward a very tangible goal – the translation into new diagnostics, preventions, treatments and products for people around the world. To me, this is science at its most powerful and meaningful, and it culminates in Forsyth's school-based  ForsythKids dental decay prevention program and our international children's program in Kuwait.

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

Forsyth scientists conduct research for the betterment of people worldwide. The organization also delivers preventative dental care to children in Massachusetts (Lynn, Boston, Chelsea, Cambridge, Waltham, Cape Cod, Randolph, Hull, and Fitchburg) and in Kuwait, and provides training in preventive dental care to programs throughout the United States.

Organization Categories

  1. Medical Research - Medical Research NEC
  2. Public & Societal Benefit -
  3. Medical Research -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Education Outreach Program (EOP)

Our Educational Outreach Program (EOP) was created in 1993 to expose students to a career in scientific research by having them work in our research labs.  High school students from socio-economic backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sciences work side-by-side in the laboratory with world-renowned scientists on cutting edge research projects.  The program includes an eight-week stipend for Boston and Cambridge Public High School Students.  Over the summer, interns learn basic lab techniques while development their research projects that the present to the Forsyth Faculty in the fall.  The EOP is not only their first real job but represents a first step toward a future career in the sciences.  Our recent class of students are attending colleges such as Boston College, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania
Budget  $35,000.00
Category  Science & Technology, General/Other Biological & Life Sciences
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  In the short term, many of our students continue their scientific studies in college and graduate school.  We are very pleased that some of our students continue their research with us into the following school year and several have completed a second summer with us.
Program Long-Term Success  According to our records, over half of the students in the STEM program go on to pursue further education and careers in the sciences.  These careers are in both academia and in industry.  
Program Success Monitored By  Program success is measured by several factors including the quality of research produced, the interest further science and whether the student pursues a career in the field.  
Examples of Program Success 
One of recent students has won several science fairs in the New England region and will be competing in a national competition this fall.
Other students have presented papers at professional societies with their mentors and have won awards for their work. 

Forsyth Science

The Forsyth Institute’s goal is to lead the discovery, communication and application of breakthroughs in oral health and related systemic diseases that will significantly improve the health and well-being of our nation and the world.  Forsyth scientists have demonstrated distinct connections between oral diseases and health challenges like heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers, and are tackling other global infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

As an independent research institute, we have the freedom to follow our science wherever it leads, and to collaborate with a broad spectrum of stakeholders—other research organizations, industry, practicing professionals, public leaders, and patients—to meet our shared goals. In the years ahead, the Forsyth will continue to leverage its unique knowledge of oral and associated systemic diseases to elucidate new biomedical insights, and to find the best ways to help billions live healthier lives.


Budget  $23,000,000.00
Category  Medical Research, General/Other
Population Served People/Families of People with Health Conditions US& International
Program Short-Term Success  The science at Forsyth aims to improve health outcomes across a wide variety of conditions.  The following are current key areas of investigation:
  • Oral-Systemic Disease Connections—unlocking the relationships between the mouth and the body including linkages to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • Global Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular Microbiology and Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Skeletal Biology/Biomineralization
  • Development Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Program Long-Term Success 

Some future research directions include: human genomics and systems biology for individualized oral medicine; collaborations with engineering, bioengineering and materials sciences to develop new diagnostics and therapies; deciphering the interplay between humans and the trillions of our bacterial passengers—to promote a lifetime of wellness, and vaccine development for global infectious diseases.

Program Success Monitored By  Our biomedical research projects are varied with specific aims and methodologies for measuring results.
Examples of Program Success  Recent examples of scientific discoveries/successes that may impact health and health care are:  the development of a novel intraoral device that emits visible light for targeting and suppressing harmful dental plaque microorganisms; using salivary biomarkers to identify children at risk for Type 2 Diabetes; and a discovery that Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB, can hide and survive in a latent stage inside bone marrow stem cells.


ForsythKids is a mobile oral health program that provides comprehensive preventive dental services to thousands of underserved children in elementary and middle schools in Massachusetts. The program also visits summer camps, and has begun expanding to pre-schools. ForsythKids aims to improve the lives of vulnerable populations by increasing access to quality dental care.  The program uses a cost-effective, evidence-based treatment protocol that significantly reduces dental decay among children who participate.   ForsythKids dentists and dental hygienists visit each school three times a year to provide dental examinations, screenings, dental cleanings, toothbrush, fluoride varnish, sealants and interim restorations, and oral health education.  A patient care coordinator reaches out to the families of students with further dental care needs and connects them with a dental home for on-going comprehensive care. The program model is currently being replicated in Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire and Kansas. 

Budget  $1,152,883.00
Category  Health Care, General/Other Preventive Health
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

When designed and implemented by Forsyth faculty in 2003, the ForsythKids protocol proved successful within the first six months, achieving the following: 52% reduction in caries in primary teeth; 39% reduction in caries in permanent teeth; 30% increase in the proportion of children with sealants per year.

Program Long-Term Success  The efficacy of the ForsythKids program was validated in a paper published in the Journal of the American Dental Association in August, 2008 as the featured cover article.  Since 2003, the program has been effective at significantly reducing cavities among vulnerable children, and has expanded from 3 schools to 37 schools today.  The program outcomes also exceed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services goals for oral health set forth in "Healthy People 2020."
Program Success Monitored By 

Overall progress for the program is measured by: Increases in the number of children enrolled, Reduction and elimination of new decay and oral infection, Reduction in untreated decay, and Increases in the number of children with sealants.  An electronic system is used to track individual patient data and measure long-term success.

ForsythKids also monitors each child that needs follow-up dental care to ensure that they are seen as soon as possible by a dentist, and that they continue to have a "dental home."





Examples of Program Success 
In addition to objective measurements, we have anecdotal evidence of our program's beneficial impact. We often receive positive feedback from parents and school nurses about the value that our preventive care brings to the health, confidence and well-being of the children served.



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Forsyth faces the challenge of sustaining and expanding both its science programs and the ForsythKids School Oral Health Program.  We receive funding from NIH for much of our scientific research, but with limited federal funding available in recent years, we are seeking private funding from foundations and corporations to continue to advance our science and our mission.  In addition to our scientific research programs (which make up approximately 97% of the Institute's operating budget), we operate a community outreach program, ForsythKids, to provide dental care to underserved children, in keeping with our mission. The demand and requirements for the ForsythKids program are great and it relies on corporate, foundation, and individual support, and a small amount from state government and MassHealth billing for eligible children.  We address this challenge by diligently seeking grant opportunities and donations from local, regional and national donors.


CEO/Executive Director Dr. Wenyuan Shi
CEO Term Start Sept 2017
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Dr. Wenyuan Shi was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of the Forsyth Insitute on September 1, 2017. Before his appointment, Shi was a chairman and professor of Oral Biology at UCLA Schools of Dentistry. Shi's laboratory has been using multidisciplinary approaches to study oral microbial pathogenesis with a specific focus on microbial biofilm, inter-species interaction and signal transduction. In addition, Shi's laboratory is actively involved in the development of next generation diagnostic and therapeutic tools against oral microbial infections, including instant chairside detection of oral pathogens and peptide-based targeted antimicrobial therapeutics. These translational research efforts have resulted in novel technologies that are licensed and developed by major pharmaceutical, dental and biotech companies. Shi is also the founding scientist, chief scientific officer and chairman of the scientific advisory board of C3J Therapeutics Inc.

Shi obtained his BS degree from Fudan University in Shanghai in 1984, acquired his PhD degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991 and fulfilled his postdoctoral training at the University of California-Berkeley from 1992-1995. He is the co-author of over 200 scientific articles and is credited as co-inventor of 45 patents.

Co-CEO Diane MacDonald
Co-CEO Term Start Dec 2014
Co-CEO Email [email protected]
Co-CEO Experience

Diane MacDonald is the Chief Operating Officer, responsible for developing, leading and promoting the efficient and effective operation of the Institute. MacDonald has proven results-oriented leadership abilities to effectively transform mission-driven organizations, by developing strong teams, fostering innovative solutions, and guiding the strategic investment of resources in people, projects and capabilities.

Diane MacDonald joined Forsyth in December 2014 as Chief Operating Officer. MacDonald is responsible for the efficient and effective delivery of operational, financial and administrative services and collaborative arrangements for the Forsyth Institute. In this role, she oversees core administrative functions for the Institute, as well as strategic planning, staff development, compliance and risk management.

She has a breadth of finance and operations experience spanning her 30-year career in nonprofit, higher education and government settings. MacDonald most recently led financial and administrative operations at the Broad Institute as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. In her tenure at the Broad, she was responsible for establishing financial planning and business operations to first create a new institute and then enable the growth of the organization. In addition to her work with the Broad Institute, MacDonald has held leadership positions as the Director of Financial Planning for the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research, Director of Finance and Operations for Health Care for All & Community Catalyst, and served as the Budget Director for the City of Boston.

MacDonald holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs, Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a B.A. from Eisenhower College with concentrations in Public Policy and Mathematics. She is a board member and Treasurer for Community Catalyst and has served on the board of the Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Boston.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Dr. Philip Stashenko Apr 2008 Feb 2016

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Wanda Cordova CFO --
Floyd Dewhirst DDS, PhD Senior Member of the Staff --
Margaret Duncan PhD Senior Member of the Staff --
Leah Hoover Director of Development --
Kerry Maguire DDS, MSPH Director, Forsyth Kids Program --
Karen A Mullin Esq. Chief Counsel and Director of Technology Development --
Bruce J. Paster Senior Member of the Staff and Chair --
Philip Stashenko DMD, PhD Senior Member of the Staff --
Anne C.R. Tanner BDS, PhD Senior Member of the Staff --
Thomas E. Van Dyke DMD, PhD VP for Clinical and Translational Research --


Award Awarding Organization Year
William J. Gies Award for Outstanding Achievement - Academic Dental Institution ADEAGies Foundation 2010


Affiliation Year
-- --
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 108
Number of Part Time Staff 19
Number of Volunteers 64
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 90%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 22
Caucasian: 65
Hispanic/Latino: 8
Native American/American Indian: 1
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 62
Male: 38
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit No
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Life Insurance
Disability Insurance
Directors and Officers Policy
Patient Liability
Medical Health Insurance
Medical Malpractice
Renter's Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Risk Management Provisions

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Peter Nessen
Board Chair Company Affiliation Corporate Realty Investment Company, L.L.C.
Board Chair Term Jan 2008 - Oct 2018
Board Co-Chair David Ellis
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Board Co-Chair Term 2014 - Oct 2017

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Richard Anders Rubin/Anders Voting
Janice Bourque Hercules Capital Management Voting
Elyse Cherry Boston Community Capital Voting
Catherine D'Amato Greater Boston Food Bank Voting
David Ellis Retired Voting
John Ficarelli Pediatric Dental Associates of Brookline, P.C. Voting
Rosalee Hermens True Value Company Voting
Karla Jarvis Esq. The Rockport Company Voting
Janet Kelly Boston Marketing Advisor, LLC Voting
Steven W Kess Henry Schein NonVoting
Peter Nessen Corporate Realty Investment Company Voting
John Plukas Wainwright Capital Management Voting
Brian J Potts Fiduciary Trust Voting
Walter Pressey Program in Cellular Molecular Medicine/Immune Disease Voting
Robyn Redfield Morgan Stanley Voting
Anthony Volpe -- --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Yasime Belkaid Senior Investigator, NIH NonVoting
Colleen Cavanaugh Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of Biology, Harvard University NonVoting
Matthew Henn Sr. VP, Seres Therapeutics NonVoting
Ophir Klein Hillblom Distinguished Prof. In Craniofacial Anomalies, UCSF NonVoting
Henry Konenberg Chair of Science Advisory Board Chief, Endocrine Unit, Department of Medicine, Mass. General NonVoting
Peter Polverini Taft Distinguished Professor of Dentistry, U. Michigan Medical School NonVoting
Julie Segre Senior Investigator, NIH NonVoting
Charles Serhan Director, Center for Exp. Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Brigham and Women's NonVoting
Arlene Sharpe Fabyan Professor of Comparative Pathology, Harvard Medical School NonVoting
Thomas Stossel American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine Emeritus, Harvard Medical School NonVoting
Jane Weintraub Alumni Distinguished Professor, UNC Schools of Dentistry and Public Health NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 15
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 9
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 95%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 50%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Advancement
  • Audit, Compliance and Controls
  • Finance
  • Governance and Policy
  • Investment

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $23,717,624.00
Projected Expense $23,717,624.00
Form 990s

2016 990

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

Audit Documents

2016 Audited Financials

2015 Audited Financials

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Audited Financial

2012 Audited Financials

2011 Audited Financials

2010 Audited Financials

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $25,311,036 $26,835,002 $23,806,884
Total Expenses $29,917,956 $31,200,221 $30,096,159

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $14,699,336 $17,984,176 $16,511,837
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $14,699,336 $17,984,176 $16,511,837
Individual Contributions $522,831 $844,639 $349,578
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $7,581,598 $4,963,232 $6,026,988
Investment Income, Net of Losses $2,360,839 $2,842,775 $778,295
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $58,748 $147,473 $138,566
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $87,684 $52,707 $1,620

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $22,557,626 $24,436,785 $25,703,518
Administration Expense $7,138,223 $6,442,633 $4,125,422
Fundraising Expense $222,107 $320,803 $267,219
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.85 0.86 0.79
Program Expense/Total Expenses 75% 78% 85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 1% 2% 2%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $76,267,336 $84,381,243 $92,161,535
Current Assets $9,836,563 $8,263,803 $10,441,054
Long-Term Liabilities $5,406,215 $5,403,604 $5,882,952
Current Liabilities $4,480,107 $4,577,464 $5,206,683
Total Net Assets $66,381,014 $74,400,175 $81,071,900

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $61,589,182.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 2.20 1.81 2.01

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 7% 6% 6%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Asset and liability data is per the organization's Audited Financials.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?