Communities from across the country reach milestone through hard work of partners and completion of nonprofit organization StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund
CINCINNATI, OH — StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to improve education for every child, today announced all six communities in the first group of an accelerator program are now shining examples of student success for the country. Shelby County, Tenn., received the highest possible designation from StriveTogether for achieving better results for children and youth using a data-driven approach.
Shelby County and the other five communities reached this milestone through the hard work of local partners and participation in StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund, a three-year program that combines intensive leadership development with technical assistance and financial support. In 2015, StriveTogether launched the $12 million fund to accelerate progress across its network of communities and to meet a goal of naming five cities as national models.
“Bringing people together around data can measurably improve education for children, and we’ve seen it happen six times now,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “This achievement is a recognition of the incredible work being done by these communities and proof that our rigorous approach to getting better results works. Over the next six years, we are building on this approach to help communities across the country accelerate progress and make a difference in the lives of 10.4 million students. We’re grateful to our partners and investors — none of this would be possible without their support.”
Accelerator Fund investors and partners include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ballmer Group, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, KnowledgeWorks, the Metlife Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, a philanthropic account administered by Vanguard Charitable.
Now, thanks to a major funding commitment from Ballmer Group, the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network will accelerate progress for children through a community challenge fund, with up to $10 million annually in investment over six years. Ballmer Group is an organization co-founded by philanthropist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, chairman of the LA Clippers and former CEO of Microsoft. Ballmer Group works to improve economic mobility for children and families in the U.S. who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty.
Communities in the StriveTogether network like Shelby County commit to improving results for major milestones in a child’s life, from kindergarten readiness through postsecondary success and employment. They receive this top designation when they prove systems are changing and a majority of outcomes are improving or being maintained year after year. Shelby County is seeing improvements across three of the five StriveTogether cradle-to-career outcomes being tracked by Seeding Success.
Seeding Success and its partners have:
- Reduced chronic absenteeism by 27 percent across 15 Memphis schools by working with children and their parents to encourage class attendance.
- Created a multi-year plan to reduce chronic absenteeism after data analysis found that 30,000 students were chronically absent. The state of Tennessee adopted the partnership’s chronic absence measure.
- Increased the number of kindergarten-ready students at Porter-Leath from 33 percent to 82 percent in 3 ½ years by ensuring teachers have access to student-level academic data 15 days after assessments have been administered.
- Raised scores on the Measure of Academic Progress® reading assessment by 14 percent by enrolling more students in Porter-Leath’s pre-kindergarten programs, increasing the overall level of kindergarten readiness in Shelby County.
In total, seven communities have received this top StriveTogether designation. The other six are Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (StrivePartnership), Dallas County (The Commit Partnership), Dayton/Montgomery County, Ohio (Learn to Earn Dayton), Portland/Multnomah County, Ore. (All Hands Raised), Racine County, Wis. (Higher Expectations for Racine County) and Tacoma, Wash. (Graduate Tacoma).
StriveTogether leads a national movement of nearly 70 communities to get better results in every child’s life. We coach and connect partners across the country to close gaps by using local data, especially for children of color and low-income children. Communities using our proven approach have seen measurable gains in kindergarten readiness, academic achievement and postsecondary success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 10.4 million students, involves 10,800 organizations and has partners in 30 states and Washington, D.C.