The Three Community Pillars of ABC

By Haley Perkins

ABC creates the conditions for community-led collective impact that not only advance positive, cradle-to-career outcomes for all young people, but change the fundamental systems of our society that shape opportunity. Our process is founded on proven collaborative improvement methodology and organized into three pillars — categories of work that are necessary for achieving truly transformational and sustainable results.

Shared Community Vision:

Partners representing all sectors that impact a child or family must align around a cradle-to-career vision to improve outcomes, reduce and eliminate disparities, and ensure economic mobility. Community buy-in and ownership are critical to the success of a partnership.

Evidence-Based Decision Making:

Partnerships are most successful when people identify shared outcomes and commit to improving them together. Our approach centralizes the need to align on outcomes and metrics for success, as well as the processes needed to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data regularly. Over time, data use becomes more sophisticated and tailored to meet the needs of children and families.

Collaborative Action:

Community members must come together to act on the data collected. Partnerships often form action teams focused on improving an outcome and eliminating disparities. They use continuous improvement practices to test strategies, with the goal of scaling what works and shifting or abandoning what doesn’t.

These three pillars are rooted in the StriveTogether Theory of Action™. Built on lessons from StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network members, this nationally recognized approach helps communities build and sustain the civic infrastructure necessary to improve outcomes and close gaps from cradle to career. Civic infrastructure is how a community holds itself collectively accountable and organizes to implement a cradle-to-career vision.

This shared framework acts as a guide for developing civic infrastructure that meets and adapts to the unique needs of our community. The rigorous standards and focus on results distinguish our approach from traditional collaboration and other collective impact approaches. The theory of action is the Cradle to Career Network’s approach to quality collective impact.

Published: February 8, 2021

Edited: August 5, 2021