Case Studies Examine Comprehensive Community Initiatives in Atlanta, Orlando and New Orleans
Washington, DC – Today, America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership of organizations, communities and individuals committed to positive outcomes for youth, and its research arm the Center for Promise, released a series of in-depth case studies highlighting collaborative efforts in the cities of Atlanta, Orlando and New Orleans that provide important lessons about how organizations and communities can work together effectively to create positive pathways to success for young people. While at different stages of implementation, these three comprehensive community initiatives show that with dedication, focus and persistence positive change is possible.
“These initiatives prove that by putting aside individual agendas in favor of a unified, collaborative approach, communities can provide young people with access to strong academic, physical and social supports,” said Jonathan Zaff, executive director of the Center for Promise. “These three case studies offer a closer look at these initiatives’ experiences to not only lay the structural foundation for their efforts, but also to effect the substantive change that will result in a more productive, positive future for their young people.”
“As the country continues to make progress toward meeting our GradNation campaign goal of a 90 percent on-time graduation rate by 2020, these studies shine a positive light on initiatives that have been able to create a powerful formula for youth success which may help inspire other communities,” added John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise.
A brief description of each case study is below:
- East Lake, Atlanta (Georgia) - Over two decades ago, developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins established the East Lake Foundation (ELF) to tackle the complex challenges impacting the East Lake neighborhood, such as unemployment, high crime, and poor quality schools. ELF designed a holistic community revitalization model built on three pillars: mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college educational pipeline, and community wellness. Organizers intentionally aligned this model with research-informed practices and applied lessons from other communities’ experiences. East Lake’s multi-pillar approach has attained several impressive positive results related to employment, education, and crime. While each neighborhood is unique, East Lake’s process of systematic intentionality offers a helpful blueprint for improving distressed communities and enhancing the well-being of the least advantaged children, youth, and families.
- Parramore, Orlando (Florida) - In 2006, the city of Orlando launched the Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) to respond to the dearth of resources and opportunities for young people in the Parramore neighborhood. PKZ incorporated best practices from the widely known Harlem Children’s Zone, as well as other evidence-based principles. Recognizing that every neighborhood is different, the initiative adapted a model appropriate for Parramore, partnering with various organizations connected to the community and its residents. Today, PKZ delivers a cradle-to-career pipeline of quality resources. This reinvestment has helped PKZ “move the needle” on key community-level outcomes related to education, juvenile crime, and teen pregnancy. Parramore’s experience demonstrates that young people in disadvantaged neighborhoods face bright futures when a city leverages and strengthens local capacity.
- New Orleans (Louisiana) - Nearly a decade ago, America’s Promise Alliance coalesced diverse partners to address the pressing needs of young people impacted by Hurricane Katrina. That coalition has since evolved into the New Orleans Kids Partnership (NOKP), a cross-sector collaboration of over 40 partners focused on developing a comprehensive, coordinated approach to serving the city’s youth. Operating within the increasingly common context of school choice, NOKP has sought to identify the optimal channel for delivering a pipeline of seamless supports. As the partnership continues to refine its strategy, it has made tangible progress toward employing many of the evidence-based practices essential for effective collaboration. NOKP’s experience illustrates the importance of producing early momentum; intentionally planning governance structures and processes; building accountability systems and fostering trust; and adapting strategies to the local landscape.
Download the full case studies >>
Founded in 1997 at the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future, America’s Promise leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to fulfilling the presidential declaration signed on that day calling upon the nation to keep five crucial promises to every young person in America: the presence of caring adults in their lives; safe surroundings to live, learn and grown; healthy starts and healthy childhoods; an effective education that builds marketable skills; and opportunities to serve others. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit AmericasPromise.org.