Process Works

The HCM Strategies process is to Align, Advocate and Advance. By methodically working through our method of bringing together like-minded entities with a goal for positive outcomes, we are able to use our team of experts to advocate on behalf of our strategic goal. The outcome of these efforts is real and meaningful change.

Read examples of these outcomes below.

  • ALIGN.

    HCM brings together those who share a common belief in commitment to change for racial equity and economic mobility outcomes in health, K-12 and connecting learning and work.


    HCM strategically uses our team of experts, existing relationships, grassroots engagement, data, creative thinking, communication and other resources and tools to advocate for change.


    HCM is committed to advancing real change, whether that is a public policy, clear communication and advocacy, connecting learning and work or student engagement.



Strategy Labs
Strategy Labs is Lumina Foundation's nationally-recognized resource for state leaders and influencers to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Since 2010, Lumina has drawn upon the state policy team at HCM Strategists to manage the Strategy Labs and offer non-partisan content expertise and facilitation aligned with Lumina's state policy agenda to increase attainment and close equity gaps. Lumina's Strategy Labs have supported over 40 states in adopting statewide attainment goals, over 15 states and systems in adopting outcomes-based funding aligned with this evidence-based framework, and advised leaders on statewide strategic plans and affordability policies in over two dozen states.
Context for Success
Context for Success was a collaborative effort between scholars and policymakers from across the nation to identify best practices to account for differences in college “inputs”—students, resources, fixed characteristics—when evaluating postsecondary outcomes. Commissioned by HCM Strategists in 2011, Context for Success identified challenges in current methods of evaluating postsecondary education and sought ideas grounded in research that would have practical benefits in the higher education policy world. You can find the results of the project by visiting the Context for Success website: seven research papers that evaluate input-corrected quantitative measures of postsecondary outcomes, as well as an overview of the project, a literature review, and an accompanying series of issue briefs.
Back to Basics 
Back to Basics explores how the HIV/AIDS advocacy movement revolutionized patient engagement. While there is a vast archive of information documenting this period, this analysis is the first to study the tactics and strategies employed by the activists as it impacts medical research, to see whether it could be effective today. Together with Faster Cures, HCM Strategists conducted extensive interviews with activists who started the movement, scientists responsible for directing the research, and federal officials who had power at both the Congressional and federal agency levels to fund and change policy. This paper discusses — from the perspective of those interviewed — the components of the activists’ advocacy model and the tactics and strategies they used to achieve success in their efforts.  Perhaps of greatest interest to organizations looking to catalyze change today, this paper suggests how this model is relevant and provides a roadmap for approaching current challenges.

Case Study

Tackling Inequities Through Intentional Strategic Planning

HCM Strategists (HCM) works to advance and align policies that improve educational outcomes beyond high school. Our postsecondary team is focused on eliminating inequities that continue to place learners at a disadvantage in pursuing and completing a postsecondary credential. By assisting the strategic planning of colleges, higher education systems, non-profit organizations and state agencies and their respective boards, HCM works closely with leaders to strengthen the postsecondary field’s capacity to serve more learners well and eliminate historic gaps in educational attainment.

HCM Strategists is working to raise Aemerge RedPak’s regional and national profile to help the HCM’s strategic planning brings a keen awareness of the external political and economic environment, research and best practice, and the central role of equity, diversity and inclusion in effective leadership. The firm’s tools and facilitation help organizations clarify their mission, assess their strategic position, develop concrete benchmarks and measures of effectiveness and align and realign time and talent.

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HCM effectively works on our clients behalf, providing support and strategic guidance to help form policy priorities that are impactful and meaningful in the channels of both health and education.  We tackle the hard stuff, reforming federal financial aid, increasing college attainment and completion rates and ensuring that patient preferences and priorities are at the center of regulatory decision-making.

  • Algiers Charter School

    Algiers Charter is a community-based charter network committed to student success in both college and life. Our five schools service nearly 3,500 students in the New Orleans Area. Every school is designed to support each child’s academic, social, and emotional journey. Our approach in education is tailored across each grade level to be engaging, rigorous, and motivating. We believe those qualities are necessary in order for students to develop the critical thinking and core knowledge needed to succeed. Our educators and staff come from all backgrounds and work daily to guide our scholars towards their full potential. We believe wholeheartedly education equals success for our students and our community – and we always strive to put children first, for a better future.

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  • Association for Institutional Research

    The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) supports higher education professionals in the collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of data, and the strategic use of information for effective decision making and planning. AIR provides resources, innovative practices, and professional development opportunities for AIR members and the higher education community, including professionals from institutional research, effectiveness, assessment, planning, and related fields.​

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  • Austin Chamber of Commerce

    For 140 years, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce has connected the community to make Austin work. We invest in a broad range of programs that build and support a prosperous regional economy.  Leveraging our Opportunity Austin initiative, we help create jobs, recruit job generators, and develop talent.  We help companies’ startup, expand and innovate. We ensure students are workforce ready. We push for policy to remain the best place to work, live and play. We roll up our sleeves to take on the biggest issues our community cares about like affordability, CodeNEXT and traffic. We connect businesses to resources and information to help them network and grow.

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  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to accelerate efforts already under way in higher education and to support the enormous talent, creativity, and energy being applied to improving student completion rates and lowering costs while raising the quality of the U.S. postsecondary education system.

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  • Braeburn Pharmaceuticals

    Braeburn is developing long-acting medicines for treating opioid addiction. Opioid addiction, also known as opioid use disorder (OUD), is a medical condition requiring medical treatment. Together with counseling and support, Braeburn’s next generation medicines aim to support patients focusing on the reintegration of their lives with their families and communities.

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  • California Edge Coalition

    In the more than a decade since its formation, EDGE has focused on improving California’s system of workforce education and training and removing the serious barriers that prevent so many Californians from getting the skills they need to succeed in the labor market. California has made progress since we first came together. There is now widespread recognition that despite the state’s historic commitment to higher education, too few students achieve degrees, certificates, or transfer and many low-skilled working adults have limited access to skill-development opportunities. Career education that had once received limited recognition and insufficient financial support is increasingly being recognized as an important component of postsecondary education.

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  • Campaign for College Opportunity

    Campaign for College Opportunity is a statewide advocacy organization in California with a mission to ensure all students in the state have the opportunity to attend and succeed in college. They work to influence legislation and system policies through raising student voice, collaborating with other like-minded leaders, and elevating research and best practices. In 2014, HCM Strategists worked with the CCO Board to develop their next strategic plan through 2018.

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  • Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation

    The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

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  • College Board

    College Board is a not-for-profit membership organization committed to excellence and equity in education. Their mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Their initiatives promote curricula, assessment tools, district and guidance resources that help K-12 students prepare for and connect with higher education. With tools like the Advanced Placement (AP®) college-level courses and the SAT college entrance exam, College Board is at the forefront of college preparation.

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  • Dillard University

    Since 1869, Dillard University has been committed to providing students with a quality four-year liberal arts education. Dillard is a fully accredited private, historically black university. In 2010, U.S. News & World Report ranked Dillard among the nation’s Top 10 HBCUs, based on comprehensive undergraduate studies. Dillard also was awarded a Top 10 Ranking in 2010 for liberal arts schools in the social mobility category by Washington Monthly.

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  • EnLearn

    EnLearn’s mission is to radically improve education for every student by continuously adapting the entire learning ecosystem. They have developed a groundbreaking learning platform that allows publishers, school districts, and teachers to work together to deliver personalized learning while using classroom data to make content and learning more effective. Enlearn diagnoses key learning obstacles and misconceptions in real-time to deliver the right problem with the right support at the right time, personalized to the student’s learning DNA.

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  • Florida Memorial University

    Building upon the traditions of our past and harnessing the richness of the present, Florida Memorial University prepares our students, through innovation, collaboration and creativity, to assume leadership roles in a highly competitive, technology-driven, and increasingly global marketplace. The mission of Florida Memorial University is to instill in our students the values of leadership, character, and service to enhance their lives and the lives of others on our campus, in our community, and in the world through a transformational, liberal arts education.

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  • George W. Bush Institute

    The George W. Bush Institute, founded by President and Mrs. Bush in 2009, is a public policy center in Dallas with the mission of advancing freedom by expanding opportunities for individuals at home and across the globe. Built on principles that guided the Bushes in public life, the Bush Institute uses leading research to develop and implement policies that offer practical solutions to pressing problems in the United States and abroad.

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  • Higher Learning Advocates

    Higher Learning Advocates is a non-profit advocacy organization working to shift federal policy from higher education to higher learning—education and training beyond high school that leads to a degree, credential, or employment. While more students are participating in higher education than ever before, there is a vast and growing disconnect between federal policy and the needs of today’s students, employers, and communities. We are working toward federal policies that create transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve outcomes.

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  • Institute for Higher Education Policy

    The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to promoting access to and success in higher education for all students. Based in Washington, D.C., IHEP develops innovative policy- and practice-oriented research to guide policymakers and education leaders who develop high-impact policies that will address our nation’s most pressing education challenges.

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  • KinderCare Education

    KinderCare Education serves more than 161,000 children aged six weeks to 12 years. While each KinderCare Education brand meets the needs of different age groups and communities, every one of them is dedicated to their mission of educational excellence as well as the nation’s highest standards of care. KinderCare Education’s National Support Center (NSC) provides ongoing support to field leadership, as well as professional development for educators and staff, curriculum development, and strategic guidance for all of their brands.

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  • Laura and John Arnold Foundation

    Our core objective is to improve the lives of individuals by strengthening our social, governmental, and economic systems. Our strategy is to systematically examine areas of society in which underperformance, inefficiency, concentrated power, lack of information, lack of accountability, lack of transparency, lack of balance among interests, or other barriers to human progress and achievement exist. Our approach is not limited to what has been tried, or even what has been proposed, in the past. Instead, we seek to incentivize bold, creative thinking and effort, with the goal of igniting a renaissance of new ideas and approaches applied to persistent problems.

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  • Lumina Foundation

    Lumina Foundation, an lndianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change.

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  • National Institutes of Health

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services External Web Site Policy , is the nation’s medical research agency—making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. Thanks in large part to NIH-funded medical research, Americans today are living longer and healthier. Life expectancy in the United States has jumped from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years as reported in 2009, and disability in people over age 65 has dropped dramatically in the past 3 decades. In recent years, nationwide rates of new diagnoses and deaths from all cancers combined have fallen significantly.

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  • New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

    The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. They manage a growing collection of nearly 1,900 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and award more than $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, support great work happening in our communities and lead and collaborate on high-impact initiatives.

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  • Ohio Association of Community Colleges

    The trustees, presidents and staff of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) are dedicated to the advancement and implementation of sound policy and initiatives that work to ensure the success of the more than 300,000 community college students in Ohio. Rooted in the belief that every person should have access to a high-quality college education, the OACC supports the mission of the state’s 23 community colleges to provide programming in technical education, lower-division baccalaureate education, developmental education, and continuing education in our local communities.

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  • PIE Network

    The PIE Network’s mission is to connect state-level education advocacy organizations with colleagues across the country to amplify their voices and maximize their impact. We envision a powerful network of champions for education reform working together across the country to advocate for policies that ensure all kids have the schools they deserve.

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  • Planned Parenthood

    Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world.

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  • Smarter Balanced

    Smarter Balanced is the result of state education agency staff, teachers, higher education faculty, and other educators working together to create a “best of the best” assessment system with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of students who are well prepared for college and careers. This effort began with the recognition that most assessment systems were disjointed, outdated, and did not offer a cohesive set of tools to help educators improve teaching and learning.

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  • State Higher Education Executive Officers

    The State Higher Education Executive Officers is the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. Founded in 1954, SHEEO serves its members as an advocate for state policy leadership, as a liaison between states and the federal government, as a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers, as a manager of multistate teams to initiate new programs, and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues. SHEEO seeks to advance public policies and educational practices to achieve more widespread access to and completion of higher education, more discoveries through research, and more applications of knowledge that improve the quality of human lives and enhance the public good.

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  • The Aspen Institute

    The Aspen Institute has earned a reputation for gathering diverse, nonpartisan thought leaders, creatives, scholars and members of the public to address some of the world’s most complex problems. But the goal of these convenings is to have an impact beyond the conference room. They are designed to provoke, further and improve actions taken in the real world.

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  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how our free enterprise system improves society and the economy. The Foundation conducts research and produces events on issues facing business now and in the future. Through its initiatives, the Foundation builds skills, drives innovation, and encourages growth.

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  • United Way of Southeast Louisiana

    The United Way of Southeast Louisiana spends a great deal of time identifying, assessing and monitoring the most pressing needs in our region. They then fund programs, support collaborations, convene experts, advocate for change and foster new and needed community services to address the issues based on best practices. The organization works tirelessly to provide quality health and human services for our community and measure the results to ensure we are making a difference.

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  • University of Virginia / Nudge

    University of Virginia Nudge4 projects leverage insights from behavioral economics and social psychology to design interventions that encourage people to make active and informed decisions and to follow through on their own plans and intentions. They harness rich data and sophisticated analytic techniques to prompt people with information that is highly personalized, salient, and actionable. Nudge4 projects also leverage communications technologies like text messaging to effectively reach people, convey timely information, and connect people to individualized assistance. They build collaborative, sustained partnership with schools, agencies and organizations to develop effective, scalable policy interventions.

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  • Vox Global

    Vox Global’s clients face complex and diverse issues. Situations change, events happen, opportunities arise and crises threaten. They anticipate, adapt and prepare our clients for the future.

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  • We Raise New Jersey

    WRNJ is a diverse coalition of New Jersey organizations and associations that are united in our belief that New Jersey students need and deserve a world-class education to effectively compete and succeed in our rapidly changing world. Our coalition organizes the power of each member organization into a collective voice to advocate for high quality academic standards and aligned assessments, and to ensure that every child is prepared for college, career, and active citizenship in our communities.

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