Supplement | HBS Case Collection | September 2016

Health Leads: Reaching for Impact (B)

by V. Kasturi Rangan and Sarah Appleby


The B case documents the development of a strategy to achieve system-level impact in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape for a nonprofit focused on addressing patients' basic social needs through healthcare institutions. Founded in 1996 with a volunteer-staffed help desk at Boston Medical Center connecting low-income patients with basic resources like heating assistance, job training, and childcare programs, by 2013 the nonprofit had grown to 6 cities and 1,000 volunteers serving over 11,000 patients annually. At the end of a successful “proof plan” period, Health Leads Co-Founder and CEO Rebecca Onie and her team faced the question of how to make meeting patients’ social needs a standard part of health care in the U.S.: replicate Health Leads’ proven model or instigate a social care movement?

Keywords: scaling social impact; scaling social enterprise; social enterprise; health care delivery; health care outcomes; nonprofit scaling; nonprofit; Social Enterprise; Social Entrepreneurship; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry; United States;


Rangan, V. Kasturi, and Sarah Appleby. "Health Leads: Reaching for Impact (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 517-023, September 2016.