Collaborative Action

Ben Hecht features Strive in Fast Company Article on Social Innovation

In his Fast Company article, President and CEO of Living Cities, Ben Hecht highlights social innovation efforts and initiatives throughout the country - including Strive. 

Read his entire article here: 5 Transformational Forces That Should Be Driving The Social Sector (But Aren't)

Collective Impact takes shape in Hartford, Connecticut

In her Connecticut Mirror article, Susan B. Dunn - president and CEO of the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut - writes about an emerging collective impact partnership in Hartford. Describing the work and progress of the Hartford School - Community Partnership, Dunn speaks to the importance of collaboration:

Jeff Edmondson a Featured Speaker at Points of Light Conference, alongside Secretary Duncan

Jeff Edmondson will be speaking at Turning Point 2012, a National Conference on Volunteering and Service, during it's education session, "Celebrating the Power of Service in Education." Secretary Arne Duncan and President of Target Community Relations Laysha Ward will also be speaking at this session. 

Watch the live stream here.

The Necessity of Cross-Sector Collaboration

In her commentary, Becky Ceperley (CEO of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation) speaks to the necessity and growing desire for cross-sector collaboration when facing social issues, and commends Strive for its "remarkable results."

To read the full article, follow this link: Sharing in School Reforms

Strive’s work cited in White House Council for Community Solutions report

Strive’s work cited in White House Council for Community Solutions report as a leading example of community collaborative success
Cradle to Career’ focus of community work praised for improving student outcomes

Strive Network Managing Director Jeff Edmondson praises Raise DC


Strive Network Managing Director Jeff Edmondson praises Raise DC

New cradle-to-career initiative seeks to ensure District children develop and learn in nurturing and healthy environments.

CINCINNATI – (April 27, 2012) -- Strive Network Managing Director Jeff Edmondson today praised Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and a team of community partners as they launched the District’s first cradle-to-career initiative called “Raise DC,” part of the mayor’s Early Success Framework.

Jeff Edmondson Helps Lead Online Discussion at The Chronicle of Philanthropy

On Tuesday, February 14th, Jeff Edmondson helped lead a live online discussion concerning the use collaborative action to solve problems in the nonprofit sector. To read the discussion in its entirety, follow this link to The Chronicle of Philanthropy: How Nonprofts Can Collaborate to Solve Problems

Collaborative Approach Gaining Favor as Strategy for Deep-Seated Problems

On February 6th, the Chronicle of Philanthropy published "Collaborative Approach Gaining Favor as Strategy for Deep-Seated Problems." The article examines the rise in collective impact efforts throughout the country, as communities from Cincinnati to Milwaukee leverage cross-sector collaboration in order to address problems ranging from crime to high school dropout rates.


StriveTogether Strategic Assistance

StriveTogether’s primary focus is getting to 15 Proof Point Communities by 2015.  These communities will have met all the quality benchmarks in the Theory of Action and, most importantly, will be seeing positive trends on more and more student outcomes each year in their community.

StriveTogether staff is available to provide strategic assistance to communities who feel such support would expedite their progress on meeting quality benchmarks and realizing sustained and consistent improvements in student outcomes.  This support is offered on a fee-for-service basis to ensure sites have some “skin in the game” in accessing the support, but it is highly subsidized by investors such as The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Living Cities.  The revenue from this work ensures the Cradle to Career Network is positioned for long-term sustainability and is not completely dependent on grants.

Strategic Assistance options can be divided into three distinct areas:

  • Design Institutes:  To help sites meet the Exploring benchmarks in the Theory of Action, we work with sites to develop a 180-day plan they can update on an ongoing basis to ensure sustained progress over time.  This work typically lasts four to six months and includes weekly calls to problem solve technical and adaptive issues as a community faces the inevitable challenges of building civic infrastructure.  In addition, this includes two to three site visits including a planning retreat to engage key partners in guiding the strategic direction of the work locally, including establishing a backbone or anchor entity, as well as a Design Institute with a broader set of community stakeholders to develop the 180-day plan.  StriveTogether acts as a partner and coach in the process, working to achieve the shared goal of meeting “Sustaining” quality benchmarks and improved student outcomes over the long-term.
  • Collaborative Action Coaching:  Once sites have developed the foundation for building civic infrastructure by meeting the “Exploring” quality benchmarks in the Theory of Action, an entirely new set of challenges emerge around working with cross-sector stakeholders to improve specific outcomes.  This requires several key elements:  a) ensuring the partnership leaders are modeling individual actions that reinforce the fundamental shift in behavior that is required to have collective impact, b) implementing comprehensive data systems to aggregate individual student performance data across the cradle to career continuum with programmatic and service data to better understand what practices are having impact, and c) creating networks of providers and funders working together to build comprehensive action plans that use the analytical power from the comprehensive data management systems.  StriveTogether staff model effective practices in building tools and facilitating meetings, while training the local backbone staff to sustain the work over the long-term.
  • Tailored Coaching and Strategic Guidance:  For some communities, less intensive support that empowers local leaders at all levels to utilize the Theory of Action on their own is necessary.  In this case, StriveTogether will consider providing tailored support that both parties agree will enable them to meet the Theory of Action as expeditiously as possible, while not being overly intrusive of the communities need to partake in their own process.

All these strategic assistance options start with StriveTogether staff becoming fully immersed in the local assets and contextual factors.  This ensures communities do not reinvent the wheel and have a true partner to help overcome challenges that are unique to the community being served.  This process of establishing a shared understanding of the local community is based on the Theory of Action and has been vetted by national partners and evaluation firms for rigor and quality.

If you are interested in receiving Strategic Assistance, please contact Derrick Braziel,


StriveTogether Framework

The structure of StriveTogether rests on four pillars framed around the unique strengths and needs of an individual community
The Framework for Building Cradle to Career Civic Infrastructure is outlined below.  It is important to note that this is not a “model” as there is no single method for implementing the framework in a community.  Instead, the framework acts as a guide for those willing to commit over the long-term to developing the right infrastructure that meets the unique needs of their individual community.

Shared Community Vision  

A broad set of cross-sector community partners come together in an accountable way to implement a cradle to career vision for education and communicate that vision effectively

  • Cross-Sector Engagement & Accountability –  Representation from key sectors such as education, non-profit, philanthropic, business, civic and community leaders needed to develop and implement their cradle to career vision to which the Partnership and community holds itself accountable for achieving.
  • Cradle to Career Vision & Scope –  A vision for improving education outcomes for students beginning at birth, continuing into and through secondary and into and through postsecondary schooling until they secure a meaningful career.
  • Strategic Communications – The messaging and branding of the cradle to career partnership is to ensure a consistent understanding of the vision throughout the community. This includes using multiple methods to communicate the message appropriately to different audiences.

Evidence Based Decision Making

The integration of professional expertise and data to make decisions about how to prioritize a community’s efforts to improve student outcomes

  • Community Level Outcomes – Points along the cradle to career education continuum that are proven to be key levers that need to be moved in order to achieve the cradle to career vision and goals. Community Level Outcomes are selected from across the cradle to career continuum and ensure accountability to the community.
  • Data Collection & Sharing – The necessary processes, mechanisms, and relationships that need to be in place to effectively access and share necessary data to enable impact.
  • Capacity to Analyze Data– The systems, processes, or individuals that enable the connection and analysis of student and community level data to drive the continuous improvement process.

Collaborative Action

The process by which networks of appropriate cross-sector practitioners use data to continually identify, adopt and scale practices that improve student outcomes

  • Selecting Priority Outcomes – A subset of the community level outcomes for focus, identified using local data and expertise.
  • Collaborative Action Networks – Groups of appropriate cross-sector practitioners and individuals who organize around a community level outcome and use a continuous improvement process to develop an action plan with strategies to improve that outcome.
  • Continuous Improvement Process – The on-going effort to use local data to improve efficiencies and effectiveness of processes and action.

Investment and Sustainability

There is broad community ownership for building cradle to career civic infrastructure and resources are committed to sustain the work of the partnership to improve student outcomes

  • Mobilizing Resources for Impact – Necessary stakeholders align & mobilize time, talent, and treasure towards improving overall community level outcomes/indicators including the redirecting or initiation of resources (including: knowledge, time, volunteers, skills, financial contributions or other in-kind services) towards improving a common outcome.
  • Anchor Entity & Staffing – The necessary supports to keep the Partnership running operationally, including the organization or entity that commits to housing the partnership staff and ensuring its long term stability, specifically through committing resources and convening partners.
  • Policy & Advocacy Alignment – The alignment/realignment of policy priorities to move forward a collective advocacy agenda to change local, state, or national policy to improve community level outcomes/indicators.



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