The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network is uniquely positioned to leverage the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) given our decade-long experience building civic infrastructure in nearly 70 communities across 29 states. We have the knowledge, skills, tools and relationships to support districts and municipalities with the direction of American Rescue Plan Act funds. Our aim is to not only build back better, but to do so in a truly transformative way.
Cradle-to-career partnerships are leaning into key roles to ensure ARPA resources are supporting equitable outcomes for kids and families.
- Convening power. Network communities are already convening key partners who have access to and make decisions on how to spend these new funds. Partnerships are facilitating thoughtful and data- and results-driven discussions about the best ways to use these funds to drive systems transformation. Communities have the opportunity to bring together all the sectors that impact citizens and break down the silos that often prohibit cross-sector work.
- Collaborative improvement. Using data and experiences from cradle-to-career communities over the years, StriveTogether integrated the best thinking from across the field of social change and healthcare to codify its approach to build a culture of collaborative improvement. Network members are applying these principles and practices in using data to prioritize factors, set shared targets, test, improve and scale quickly.
- Community and equity focus. We excel when we work with community members most impacted by poorly designed systems. Network members are prioritizing opportunities that address the most inequitable systems. Building back better requires a reckoning of historical systemic disparities and identifying pathways for transformation.
- Maximize existing resources. By braiding public and private investments, network members are focused on long-term sustainability.
Let’s look at Connecticut. The ARPA fund will enable Bridgeport Prospers in Bridgeport, Conn., to expand their home visiting services and developmental screenings for caregivers and families across the state. This means nearly 14,000 newborns and families could receive the resources they need for a healthy start. Bridgeport Prospers is a key partner with local and state leaders to plan for the rapid and equitable distribution of funds, targeting resource allocation where the needs are greatest.
Together, we’re changing how communities work together using data and civic infrastructure to get to better, more equitable outcomes for youth and families. We will continue to learn from each other as we meet this moment and set a new course for our country and our children. As we transform systems, we can, and we will, transform lives.