The Case of Eckerd Connects: An Exploration of Factors Contributing to Organizational Resilience


  • Greg Thompson Institute For Nonprofit Administration and ResearchLSU in Shreveport



Organizational Resiliency, Organizational Transformation, Organizational Change, Nonprofit Organization Management, At-Risk Youth


Eckerd Connects (EC) is a youth-focused nonprofit organization begun by the proprietor of a once-major drug store chain, Eckerd Drug, and his spouse. Otherwise known as “Eckerd Kids” in its earlier days, and legally chartered still today under the Eckerd Youth Alternatives name, the organization’s innovative outdoor-emphasis programming achieved high regard in 1968 and most of the next four decades that followed, helping children displaced from their parents to be better positioned to become well-adjusted adults. Shortly after the turn of the century, enthusiasm for the outdoor-emphasis model began to wane as funding sources (primarily state child welfare offices) became more interested in community-based options offering similar, and sometimes better, results at a lesser cost. Hard choices became necessary spurred by financial pressures, and the EC board of directors’ hire in March 2007 of someone with reputation as a “turnaround guy” signaled a new acquiescence to the possibility of change—though virtually no one anticipated the magnitude. That decision ultimately precipitated EC’s evolution into a substantially different organization in terms of strategy, though the original youth development mission remained intact. Insights and lessons to be gained from that transition are the focus of this case.


Eckerd Connects. (2021). Don’t cook the frog: Lessons from a nonprofit’s near-death experience [Unpublished internally produced white paper].





Teaching Case Study