How SCORE helped. 

When most people think of SCORE, they associate the volunteer mentors with the work they do in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals. But the mentors of SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon are also supporting and guiding many non-profit organizations in our regions and helping them to develop and sustain their missions.

SCORE mentors Steve Darby and Lou Davenport have been working with Columbia Life Network since 2018. This non-profit based in the heart of downtown Columbia, PA, is dedicated to offering a hand-up to residents in-need in Columbia borough and the surrounding communities. They have been assisting residents since 2004 to connect with services that provide food, clothing, shelter, or emergency medical assistance.

In this last year, Executive Director Jamie Widener and the Columbia Life network Board of Directors reached out to SCORE for assistance in planning on the future focus of their mission and developing a Strategic Plan. This sort of work can provide enormous benefits. Strategic planning can bring clarity on mission and values as well as provide a roadmap for how an organization will manage change in the future.

“I think the planning process helped to bring clarity and ambition to CLN's purpose and mission. The Board also defined important and measurable goals that will help the organization get to where it wants to go. The dedicated volunteer board members of Columbia Life Network were a key to their success and sustainability. Lou and I are grateful to have the Board's full support and engagement in our work. Developing a strategic plan is truly a collaborative effort.

 - Steve Darby, SCORE volunteer mentor

Columbia Life Network’s Executive Director Jamie Widener brings a wealth of knowledge to his leadership role at the organization. His experience at United Way of Lancaster County, Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness, and Lancaster-Lebanon Habitat for Humanity provided him with the understanding needed to tackle the issues that this organization would face in the future and realize the benefits of having a SCORE mentor as a resource team for the planning process.

Working with Lou Davenport and Steve Darby has helped Columbia Life Network achieve our goals by providing focus on our primary objectives and a wealth of knowledge in how to avoid pitfalls and challenges. Their work in helping us create our new Strategic Plan has been instrumental in setting clear, achievable goals that will help the organization succeed and grow.”

 - Jamie Widener, Executive Director, Columbia Life Network

During the past sixteen months, Steve and Lou have met regularly with Jamie and members of the organization’s board to prioritize plans and create a dynamic document that reflects Columbia Life Network’s core mission, vision, and values.

“We have served as a sounding board for Jamie Widener, the Executive Director, in many areas of the business, including business financial planning and financial management, as part of the overall strategic planning process. We have developed a "know, like, trust" relationship with him and the organization Board of Directors.”

- Lou Davenport, SCORE volunteer mentor




Client│Mentor Profile: Columbia Life Network