Five StriveTogether communities from across the country now producing consistent improvement and awarded highest designation by the national nonprofit
CINCINNATI, OHIO — StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to improve education for every child, today announced the achievement of a bold three-year goal by naming five “Cradle to Career Network” communities as shining examples of student success for the country. By adopting the StriveTogether approach, these communities have consistently improved outcomes for children across the educational pipeline — from infancy to adulthood. Tacoma (Graduate Tacoma) is the fifth community to join Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (StrivePartnership), Dallas County (The Commit Partnership), Portland/Multnomah County (All Hands Raised) and Racine County (Higher Expectations for Racine County) in reaching this milestone.
“It’s our obligation as Americans to provide every child with the opportunity to succeed in life through a quality education,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “But — until now — we have failed too often on this promise because there is not one comprehensive system of education raising up every child. We now have a diverse set of communities creating real change through our approach, and while we want to take this moment to celebrate, so much more needs to be done. StriveTogether is more committed than ever to improving education and economic mobility for children and families across our country.”
StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network communities track and improve outcomes for major milestones in a child’s life. The work in each community is coordinated by a coalition of local partners with progress measured along the cradle-to-career continuum, from kindergarten readiness through postsecondary success and employment. StriveTogether helps these communities to build stronger cradle-to-career partnerships through a methodical and collaborative process, using data to figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
Achievements being announced today include:
- Mobilizing voters to pass a levy to generate $15 million, making quality preschool available and affordable for every 3- and 4-year-old in Cincinnati.
- Enrolling 5,800 additional students in pre-k over the last three years through changes in local and state policies, including a $30 million budget reallocation by the Dallas Independent School District Board.
- Increasing countywide completions for federal college student aid applications by 18 percentage points over two years through various strategies. These effective practices are now spreading to all high schools in Multnomah County.
- Decreasing unemployment rates between the city of Racine and the state of Wisconsin, leading to the smallest gap in the last 25 years.
- Increasing public high school graduation rates to 86.1 percent from 55 percent since 2010 after a USA Today article labeled Tacoma schools “dropout factories.”
In October, StriveTogether not only announced an ambitious and comprehensive plan to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in communities across the country, but received a major funding commitment from Ballmer Group, which will invest up to $10 million annually over the next six years to launch a community challenge fund to accelerate progress in the Cradle to Career Network. 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.
In 2015, StriveTogether and the Network set a goal for five communities to achieve this top designation known as “proof point” by 2018. The five communities reached this goal through the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund, which combines a results-based leadership program with strategic assistance and financial support. Three of them also are closing racial disparities, and their lessons and successes using local data to find and solve problems are being shared with other communities across the country.
“As someone who’s championed this work from the beginning along with Jennifer, I’m ecstatic we now have five communities that have earned this designation,” said StriveTogether Board Chairman and Co-founder Nancy Zimpher. “This work is challenging, but we’re seeing lasting impact because of an incredibly passionate and dedicated Network. We will continue to raise the bar on what it means to make a difference in the lives of students and families.”
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.