Equal Measure validates StriveTogether community change framework
CINCINNATI, OH — While collective impact is widely regarded as the best approach for large-scale social change, evidence of its effect in communities has been scant until now. StriveTogether, a national network of nearly 70 communities, asked independent evaluator Equal Measure to follow the progress of its network to determine if collective impact works.
Based on evidence from a three-year evaluation of StriveTogether’s approach to collective impact, the resounding answer is, “Yes!” Equal Measure surveyed more than 4,000 network members and local partners from 2015 through 2017. Data was collected in depth across 10 communities along with interviews with network members and community stakeholders to qualify the findings.
“We found that StriveTogether’s framework for collective impact helps communities build the civic infrastructure necessary to deliver better results for young people,” said Justin Piff, vice president of learning and impact at Equal Measure. “We examined contributing indicators that lead to big outcomes like the number of full-day pre-K classrooms contributing to kindergarten readiness.”
Contributing indicators like attendance rates for third-grade reading proficiency are helpful in tracking incremental gains over time. StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said, “We are working to put young people on the path toward economic mobility. We see a lag time for data on the big outcome areas and use contributing indicators as interim measures to guide strategy.”
The StriveTogether Theory of ActionTM was built on learning from across its network of communities over the last 10 years and has been revised four times since its first release in 2013. Principles are the foundation of the framework that includes four streams of work. Communities follow the theory of action to change systems like education, housing and transportation to get deliver more equitable results for every child.
“We are constantly learning and improving our approach to collective impact,” Blatz said. “This framework was not developed in a boardroom by a few. It’s the result of our network sharing insights and fail forwards as we challenge the status quo.”
StriveTogether partners with nearly 70 communities across the country, providing coaching, resources and rigorous approaches to create opportunities and close gaps in education, housing and so much more. Together, the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network impacted the lives of 13.7 million youth — including 8.6 million children of color — across 29 states and Washington, D.C. last year.