National Cradle to Career Network of 70 communities poised for next stage of growth
Cincinnati, Ohio — National, nonprofit network StriveTogether today announced its transition to independent status, becoming a 501(c)(3) organization with $1 million from KnowledgeWorks and support from key investors including the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Living Cities. To better serve communities across the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, the organization also will receive more than $6 million from Ford Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and other investors.
“We’re excited about this next step in our journey to improve educational outcomes in communities across America,” Founder and Executive Director Jeff Edmondson said “Our partners at the national level and the local leaders across the country doing this challenging work are some of the most innovative and impactful change agents in the country. We look forward to working with them to continue the momentum of the Network to demonstrate how to achieve results at scale.”
Based on lessons from Cincinnati and other communities including Dallas, Memphis and Tacoma, StriveTogether developed a data-driven, collective impact approach to changing local education systems. Each community in the Cradle to Career Network works to improve six student outcomes along the cradle-to-career continuum: kindergarten readiness, early-grade reading, middle-grade math, high school graduation, college enrollment and degree/certification completion.
StriveTogether was launched in 2010 by KnowledgeWorks and Living Cities after seeing big results from investment in Cincinnati-based StrivePartnership, a cross-sector education collaborative focused on shining a light on disparities and closing achievement gaps. Today, the Cradle to Career Network includes 71 communities committed to improving educational outcomes along the cradle-to-career continuum. Together, the Network connects more than 10,200 organizations and reaches more than 8 million students.
“Part of KnowledgeWorks’ mission is to invest in and grow strategies that have the potential to make the biggest positive impact on student outcomes,” KnowledgeWorks President and CEO Judy Peppler said. “We incubate innovation with the capital needed for big social change so these organizations can one day stand alone and scale proven strategies. We are tremendously proud of StriveTogether’s success and are confident they will continue to flourish independently.”
Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of The State University of New York and one of the original founders of StriveTogether, will chair the organization’s first Board of Directors. She will be joined by Danae Davis, executive director of the Milwaukee Succeeds partnership, and Tom Fry, managing partner at Dietel Partners, as officers. In addition, Steve Ballmer, former chairman and CEO of Microsoft, will serve as an executive advisor to the Board.
“StriveTogether’s growing Network would not be where it is today without KnowledgeWorks, which has been with us since the beginning,” Chancellor Zimpher said. “We are deeply grateful for their continued support and the generosity of investors nationally whose support is certain to have a positive, lasting impact on educational outcomes for students in communities across the country. I look forward to working with our emerging Board and StriveTogether leadership as we work to realize measurable improvements for children and communities all across the country.”
For more information on StriveTogether, contact Communications Strategy Lead Dawn Raftery at 312-771-7724.
StriveTogether is a national, nonprofit network of more than 70 communities that supports the success of every child, cradle to career. We provide coaching, connections and resources to local partnerships and work together to accelerate progress in education. Communities using our approach have seen dramatic improvements in kindergarten readiness, academic achievement and postsecondary success. The Cradle to Career Network reaches 8 million students, involves more than 10,200 organizations and operates in 31 states and Washington, D.C.