This case set follows Eric and Holly Nelson, founders of Special Hope Network, a nonprofit organization providing holistic therapy services for children with intellectual disabilities and their families in Lusaka, Zambia. Eric, a pastor, and Holly, a special needs teacher, had previously adopted three children with Down syndrome and moved to Zambia to form this enterprise. They worked hard to overcome systemic obstacles to their mission, including a cultural bias against bringing children with intellectual disabilities out in public; a feeling that the family was to blame for the child's disabilities; a scarcity of qualified therapists; and a variety of economic and regulatory factors. Having originally relied on donations from US-based friends and family, they needed to finance their therapy centers, which were targeted to low-income Zambian families, and were highly subsidized. Options they explored included fundraising with local businesses, "child sponsoring" on their website, grant writing, teaching other educators and nonprofits, and tourism fundraising. This A case takes place in 2012, when the Nelsons are considering opening a for-profit resource center, marketed to middle- and upper-class Zambians. It explores the viability of this option, and asks, "Does a for-profit resource center fit with our mission to serve the neediest children?"
This case is suitable for an undergraduate, graduate, or executive education class on nonprofit management or strategy. The focus is the alignment of a firm's activities, and whether they support its core mission—which can sometimes have a different answer depending on whether the firm is for profit or nonprofit.