More Than Collaboration
Communities throughout the country have seen hundreds of individual programs, organizations and initiatives work to solve overlapping local social problems. Working in silos, these efforts have traditionally fought for the same pot of money and resources with mixed results.
While there have been improvements for individual classrooms or schools, long-term, systemic change has seemed unattainable.
Urban school districts in Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky were in similar positions when StrivePartnership started as the first cradle to career community in 2006. By bringing together local leaders to improve education in the region’s urban core, the partnership sought to increase student success throughout three public school districts. More than 300 cross-sector representatives joined in the effort, including school district superintendents, non-profit practitioners, business leaders, city officials and university presidents.
StrivePartnership didn’t create a new program or raise more money. Instead, they agreed on a common set of goals, outcomes and 53 success indicators, including kindergarten readiness, fourth-grade reading and math scores, graduation rates and college completion. They aligned resources, and continuously analyzed and shared data to track progress. They used continuous quality improvement, a methodology often used in engineering and healthcare, to coordinate practices and direct resources to what was proven to work for kids. Together, the partnership improved 34 of the 53 indicators in the first four years, and they continue working to improve education for students throughout the city.
That is collective impact.
Four principles for successful collective impact
StriveTogether Framework for Building Cradle to Career Civic Infrastructure provides four pillars for achieving cradle to career collective impact:
- Shared Community Vision | All participants have a shared vision for change, as well as a common understanding of the problem and how they will work collectively to solve it.
- Evidence Based Decision Making | Partnerships make decisions based on local data that shows areas of need and promising practices that are already working for kids.
- Collaborative Action | Community members come together to use data to collectively move outcomes.
- Investment and Sustainability | Partnerships initiate or redirect resources (time, talent and treasure) toward data-based practices on an ongoing basis, and engages the community to ensure long-term sustainability.