Casey Joins National Partnership To Tackle Disparities in Rural America

Posted November 20, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Save the Children has joined forces with StriveTogether, Partners for Education at Berea College and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to develop and launch a first-of-its-kind collective impact effort for rural America.

Save the Chil­dren, which works in rur­al com­mu­ni­ties across the Unit­ed States where child pover­ty rates are high and resources are low, has joined forces with Striv­e­To­geth­er, Part­ners for Edu­ca­tion at Berea Col­lege and the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion to devel­op and launch a first-of-its-kind col­lec­tive impact effort for rur­al Amer­i­ca. Designed to address com­plex social issues through a col­lab­o­ra­tive approach adapt­ed to the unique needs and inter­ests of rur­al com­mu­ni­ties, the effort has kicked off in three pilot com­mu­ni­ties — Per­ry Coun­ty, Ky.; Whit­ley Coun­ty, Ky.; and Cocke Coun­ty, Tenn. — with the goal of improv­ing children’s lives from cra­dle to career.

As part of the effort, the Rur­al Accel­er­a­tor Ini­tia­tive will pro­vide $400,000 over three years to the three pilot com­mu­ni­ties — an unprece­dent­ed $1.2 mil­lion invest­ment of funds to rur­al com­mu­ni­ties to align action plans devel­oped in each com­mu­ni­ty to pri­or­i­tize kids and families.

At Striv­e­To­geth­er, our mis­sion is to help com­mu­ni­ties trans­form how they serve chil­dren and fam­i­lies,” said Jen­nifer Blatz, Striv­e­To­geth­er pres­i­dent and CEO. We know we can achieve more by work­ing togeth­er than apart and have proof from near­ly 70 com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try that the col­lec­tive impact of orga­ni­za­tions work­ing across sec­tors can influ­ence out­comes for every child. We are excit­ed to bring our proven approach to this ini­tia­tive and are proud to be part of a land­mark effort to accel­er­ate results for youth and fam­i­lies in rur­al America.”

Rur­al col­lec­tive impact com­bines lead­er­ship devel­op­ment, strate­gic invest­ments, local part­ner­ships and peer learn­ing to ensure chil­dren in rur­al Amer­i­ca enter school ready, have a suc­cess­ful edu­ca­tion and leave high school ready for a career or high­er edu­ca­tion. With the sup­port from the nation­al part­ners, rur­al com­mu­ni­ties are work­ing to change local sys­tems to improve results for chil­dren, with an ini­tial focus on ear­ly devel­op­men­tal mile­stones of kinder­garten-readi­ness and third-grade read­ing and math proficiency.

We have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to har­ness the exper­tise of nation­al lead­ers in edu­ca­tion as well as the local com­mu­ni­ties where we work, to dri­ve progress toward pos­i­tive out­comes for chil­dren in rur­al Amer­i­ca,” said Bet­sy Zorio, vice pres­i­dent, Save the Children’s U.S. Pro­grams & Advo­ca­cy. We are grate­ful to our part­ners for their sup­port, skills and knowl­edge and look for­ward to work­ing togeth­er to empow­er com­mu­ni­ties to cre­ate a suc­cess­ful cra­dle-to-career path­way for every child in rur­al Amer­i­ca. It’s our ambi­tion to take these learn­ings and scale to sup­port the near­ly 2.5 mil­lion chil­dren grow­ing up in pover­ty in rur­al communities.”

This Rur­al Accel­er­a­tor Ini­tia­tive rec­og­nizes that trans­for­ma­tive and last­ing change in rur­al com­mu­ni­ties must be led by com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers” said Drea­ma Gen­try, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Part­ners for Edu­ca­tion. To do this dif­fi­cult work, com­mu­ni­ties need part­ners who can pro­vide the resources need­ed to imple­ment change, and we are proud to sup­port the peo­ple in rur­al areas who are lead­ing the way.”

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has honed an approach to lead­er­ship devel­op­ment — called Results Count™ — that it’s bring­ing to the Rur­al Accel­er­a­tor Lead­er­ship Pro­gram,” said Shan­da Crow­der, senior asso­ciate at the Casey Foun­da­tion. Par­tic­i­pants will become more skilled at mak­ing effec­tive and last­ing changes that will help chil­dren grow up health­i­er and bet­ter off.”

Build­ing on the suc­cess of StriveTogether’s work in col­lec­tive impact across the coun­try, Save the Children’s lega­cy of serv­ing chil­dren in rur­al Amer­i­ca, Part­ners for Education’s achieve­ments through­out Appalachia, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s pow­er­ful Results Count lead­er­ship devel­op­ment approach, the nation­al part­ners plan to expand rur­al col­lec­tive impact into addi­tion­al com­mu­ni­ties in 2020.

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