This partnership will create a cohort of communities that will leverage local United Ways to serve as the ?backbone? organization in implementing Strive's collective impact model to improve educational outcomes from cradle to career.
The commitment will align the collective resources of each organization as a model for how communities can galvanize stakeholders in their local community to advance a common agenda; knowing that the sum of these assets will gain greater results than the separate parts.
United Way Worldwide will support its local United Way members in bringing together cross-sector partners, working with the community to agree upon described educational outcomes, and mobilizing data, donors, volunteers, and advocates to identify, support, and achieve population-level impact on children and families.
Strive, as the foremost model of ?collective impact?, will bring their proven approach to aligning cross-sector partners to achieve results. This includes bringing experience from work at their flagship site in Cincinnati and lessons from ninety other sites across the country, to provide technical assistance and strategic support to the United Ways selected as part of this ten community cohort.
Target will provide support in how to: 1) better use data to inform decisions; 2) advocate nationally to get others engaged in this approach to improving educational outcomes; and 3) leverage local volunteers and funding as part of their $1 billion commitment to education by the end of 2015 with a focus on 3rd grade reading proficiency.
This partnership is committed to improve the field of practice and replicate this work through the development of tools and other resources that will enable new communities to work collaboratively through the structured, deliberate collective impact model.
In March 2013, the partnership will begin site selections to identify ten communities reaching over 1.5 million children.
The work started in March 2013 to begin identifying high potential communities to be a part of the original cohort.
The work plan includes:
1) Cohort One Catalytic Phase (March to September 2013): A cohort of twelve high-potential United Way sites and three experienced coaching sites were identified through a rigorous review process that included data from applications, notes from site visits, and phone interviews. These twelve have begun working to build the Cradle to Career Civic Infrastructure, with United Way playing the critical anchor role, working behind the scenes to ensure that community partners are making progress in agreeing on common outcomes, establishing a strong accountability structure, and publishing a community report card for education.
2) Cohort One Mobilization Phase (September 2013 to December 2014): Seven of the original twelve communities will be selected to become the models for other sites nationally. These sites will receive intensive strategic assistance from Strive and United Way Worldwide, as well as the original coaching sites with support from Target. The goal is to ensure these sites meet specific benchmarks identified by Strive as critical for sustaining improvements in student outcomes over the long-term (i.e. regularly and consistently informing the broader community, establishing issue-focused collaboratives, securing multi-year funding for the partnership).
Based on the success of this cohort, the current partners will be looking for additional investors who are interested in further expanding the network of United Way communities anchoring collective impact work. The goal will be to develop innovative tools and resources from the work with the first cohort that will enable broader reach with less intensive human capital strategic assistance so that many more United Ways will be modeling this work by 2020.
Nearly one in four U.S. students fails to graduate high school on time each year. The odds are even worse for students in poor communities and children of color. High school dropouts are typically years in the making: they start behind (46% of students come to school behind in the basics), stay behind (67% of 4th graders can't read proficiently), and disengage. By middle school, children with chronic attendance problems, behavior issues, and course failure in key subjects are already deciding to drop out. Among those who do graduate, many are unprepared for college or career.
To meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and interdependent global economy and ensure continued economic prosperity in the years ahead, these statistics must change. Indeed, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, failure to bring all students to a baseline level of proficiency in the next twenty years could result in $72 trillion in lost economic potential.
Although more and more communities are actively engaged in trying to shift the odds for their disadvantaged youth, no single program or organization, however well-managed and funded, can create lasting large-scale change. Where collaborations exist, they are often hobbled by a lack of time and resources needed to ensure that efforts remain coordinated, goals remain aligned, and data is used consistently to measure progress and adjust approaches as needed.
A new approach is needed that brings nonprofits, governments, businesses, and the public together around a common agenda to create collective impact. Collective impact aligns the resources and actions of a broad group of stakeholders to create clear, measurable results. Research shows that a collective impact approach can produce large-scale social change in ways that other forms of collaboration and individual efforts have not.