StriveTogether Launches Investment Fund to Accelerate Impact in Local Education

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Annie E. Casey, Draper Richard Kaplan, KnowledgeWorks, Schusterman Family, Target foundations pledge support

The investments will help communities overcome the hurdles that stand in the way of fully realizing the potential of quality collective impact.

More than 60 communities nationwide are working to change local education systems to improve results for kids using a collective impact approach. A new investment fund will focus on accelerating this impact in select communities, and some big-name funders have already pledged support.

StriveTogether announced today the launch of the Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund, a multi-year $15 million investment designed to help communities reach their education improvement goals faster, while building a sustainable civic infrastructure for the future. The Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund will also support the development of new tools, resources and training to drive sustainable education improvement across the country.

Current partners and investors include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, KnowledgeWorks, Target and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, a philanthropic account administered by Vanguard Charitable.

“We have the opportunity to invest in local capacity-building to change the way we make an impact, rather than creating new programs,” StriveTogether Managing Director Jeff Edmondson said. “We are grateful to our partners for their support and look forward to working together toward systems change and improved education outcomes for every child.”

Specifically, the Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund will directly support a group of community partnerships involved in the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network. New investment will focus on accelerating action in these communities, scaling effective efforts to create learning ecosystems focused on personalized learning, and speeding progress toward community-wide goals. Selected communities will receive additional support from StriveTogether, including strategic assistance, capacity-building activities and advanced training in specific skill sets, such as continuous improvement and results-based leadership.

Investments will be based on unique local goals and context, and support StriveTogether’s goal for five communities to achieve “Proof Point” status by 2018. According to StriveTogether’s collective impact approach, called the Theory of Action, “Proof Point” communities will experience sustainable behavior change across all education stakeholders and see 60 percent of cradle to career education outcomes improving year after year, such as kindergarten readiness scores and high school graduation rates.

Communities will be selected through an open competitive application process by the end of May 2015 with community-specific work beginning in June 2015. The Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund will focus 80 percent of its investments to directly support local community work.

“The investments will help communities overcome the hurdles that stand in the way of fully realizing the potential of quality collective impact,” Edmondson said. “Our learning through these investments will help inform other Cradle to Career Network communities, as well as collective impact approaches across the social sector in other areas, such as health, public safety and the environment.”

For more information on the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Accelerator Fund, contact Mary Kenkel at kenkelm(at)knowledgeworks(dot)org or 513-929-1310.

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Mary Kenkel
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