Nonprofits are facing challenges like never before — and across the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, leaders are rising to meet them. Their courageous leadership, commitment and persistence in response to COVID-19 and systemic racism are supporting their communities to transform systems and improve the future.
At the 11th annual Cradle to Career Network Convening, StriveTogether recognized an individual and an organization exemplifying these qualities with our two annual awards.
The Nancy Zimpher Courage in Leadership Award recognizes a Cradle to Career Network member organization that demonstrates commitment to leading in the face of adversity. StriveTogether is proud to present this year’s award to Cradle to Career Fresno County.
Fresno C2C has created the trust and relationships needed to harness the power of the community in Fresno County, California. This infrastructure allowed them to act quickly and collectively in response to COVID-19, working with more than 20 nonprofits and grassroots organizations to create shared community objectives and solutions.
With these strong connections, Fresno C2C has secured more than $10 million in CARES Act funding for the region. This funding includes support for contact tracing, public health education, quarantine supports, child care vouchers and more.
Fresno C2C has also been instrumental in ongoing statewide policy advocacy, partnering with other Cradle to Career Network members and Promise Neighborhoods across California. Their work is changing systems so that every child and family can achieve success.
StriveTogether awards the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award to an individual who embodies passion, commitment and persistence. This year, the award was presented to Dr. Delia Kimbrel, director of research and analytics at Cradle to Career Network member ImpactTulsa.
In her work, Dr. Kimbrel pushes the community to dig into data and call out systemic inequities while co-developing solutions with youth and families.
“We know that COVID-19 has exacerbated inequities in our community, and Delia was right in the center of wanting to be the change,” shared Carlisha Williams Bradley, executive director of ImpactTulsa.
Dr. Kimbrel partnered with Tulsa Public Schools to develop a Child Equity Index, and with the City of Tulsa, she led a cross-sector taskforce of leaders from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropies and education. This group’s efforts to address the digital divide has led to a $5.6 million investment in innovative solutions: free Wi-Fi for Tulsa Housing Authority complexes, subsidized internet subscriptions for up to 20,000 public school families, and internet access navigators to break down barriers for families.
Alongside her work at ImpactTulsa, Dr. Kimbrell is engaged with organizations throughout the city, including the planning commission and a local school board. She is also on StriveTogether’s Racial and Ethnic Equity Team, which sets a vision for equitable outcomes across the Cradle to Career Network.
“She has the heart, she has the drive, she has the tenacity to change this city,” Bradley said. “And ultimately, I know that the work and the legacy of Dr. Delia Kimbrel will change this world.”
StriveTogether is grateful for the commitment and leadership of Dr. Kimbrel and the Fresno C2C team and is honored to recognize the ways they’re changing the trajectory of our communities and nation.
More about the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award
The Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award commemorates the tireless advocacy of Bill Henningsgaard. Through his work with Eastside Pathways in Bellevue, Wash., Bill brought together partners with a common vision of a productive, fulfilling life for every child. In 2013, Bill and his son, Max, were involved in a fatal airplane accident. To honor Bill, this annual award is presented to individuals who embody the passion, commitment and persistence that he modeled every day.
StriveTogether would like to recognize these leaders who were also nominated:
- Kristin McSwain, executive director of the Boston Opportunity Agenda, was nominated for her vision of co-leadership with families and her “get it done” approach to Boston’s COVID-19 response.
- Althea Marshall Brooks, executive director of Waterbury Bridge to Success Community Partnership, was recognized for her commitment to intergenerational and youth leadership and transformation of the partnership toward racial justice.
- Allison Logan, executive director of Bridgeport Prospers, was nominated for her collaborative leadership, which has created a cradle-to-career infrastructure that leads to powerful action and innovative, scalable solutions.
More about the Nancy Zimpher Courage in Leadership Award
Getting better outcomes for kids takes courage, audacity and a relentless nature. That’s the leadership style of Nancy Zimpher, founding board chair of StrivePartnership in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and the national StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network. The Nancy Zimpher Courage in Leadership Award is presented annually to a Cradle to Career Network member organization that demonstrates commitment to leading in the face of adversity and failing forward in service of results.
StriveTogether would like to recognize the nomination of The Road Map Project in South Seattle and South King County, Washington. The Road Map Project was nominated for their leadership on race equity and centering community. The organization’s Community Leadership Council is working to shift power to families and young people and hold accountability to the community’s vision.
Read about past winners: