Our long-time partner, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, announced on Tuesday a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of children form low-income families who read proficiently by the end of third grade. The More Hopeful Futures Initiative was unveiled at the Clinton Global Initiative: America conference and will formally launch in 2017.
Until then, the Campaign will “road test” the initiative will activities reaching at least 50,000 children with an enhanced package of screenings and supports designed to accelerate ongoing efforts to improve school readiness, school attendance and summer learning. Attendance Works will support local communities who are field testing ideas that can be used among the Campaign’s 167 communities.
More Hopeful Futures will have an explicit focus on parent and family success, the health determinants of early school success, reaching children living in public housing and using technology solutions. Among the anticipated approaches will be:
- Increases in the number of low-income children receiving developmental, health, dental and vision screenings
- Identification of hazards in the home that contribute to asthma
- Greater access to summer learning supports and summer nutrition
- A multi-media outreach effort to ensure that parents, caregivers, child care providers and early educators have ready access to the information, tools and supports they need to ensure early literacy and healthy development of the children in their care.
The road test period will emphasize:
- The expanded role of local funders reflecting the understanding that they are key to success, scale and sustainability, bringing not only dollars, but also local knowledge, leadership and voice. A dozen funders in six states (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa and New York) have pledged to invest $34.6 million
- A group of 35 “Pacesetter” communities in those six states will provide real-time, real-world feedback so that those ideas and plans can be refined for a smoother rollout of the More Hopeful Futures Initiative itself.
- A group of highly regarded organizations as Program Partners, rather than looking at each program in isolation, and bringing them together in “places with plans” that have hospitable environments create the opportunity and impetus for aligning, linking and, where feasible, bundling their programs for greater impact.
- Thought and practice leaders from a range of fields to facilitate timely access to expertise but, even more important, will encourage dialogue and deliberation that may help find antidotes to the barriers posed by disciplinary silos and fragmentation.
Since it began in 2010, the Campaign has grown to include 167 communities in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than 2,100 civic and community-based organizations, public libraries, public housing agencies and higher-education institutions have joined the local sponsoring coalitions. At last count, these local efforts were being supported by over 200 family and community foundations, individual donors, corporate giving programs and United Ways.
“We see this recognition by CGI America as an affirmation of the great work already underway in these local communities. The plans and aspirations embodied in today’s commitment build upon what these communities already have accomplished and anticipate the important work they will continue to do,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “Our work going forward, including More Hopeful Futures, draws heavily on the experience, lessons and insights of the civic leaders and public officials who have mobilized their communities and the state and local funders who have supported the work.”