CPNN convening group photo: We had Mission Promise Neighborhood, Klamath River Promise Neighborhood, Hayward Promise Neighborhood, Chula Vista & San Diego Promise Neighborhood, Strive Together, Harlem Children’s Zone/William Julius Wilson Institute, CDSS, and the Ed Redesign Lab at the Harvard School of Education represented.

By Jillian Spindle, MEDA’s Chief Operating Officer

On February 16th, 2023, Mission Promise Neighborhood hosted the California Promise Neighborhood Network (CPNN) at our home in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. We were joined by colleagues, friends and movement builders from the Harlem Children’s Zone- William Julius Wilson Institute, Strive Together, the Ed Redesign Lab at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

What is the California Promise Neighborhood Network (CPNN?)

CPNN came together in 2017 to support and grow the work of our federally funded Promise Neighborhoods in California. Today, CPNN includes San Diego & Chula Vista Promise Neighborhoods (led by SBCS), Hayward Promise Neighborhood (led by California State University East Bay), Mission Promise Neighborhood (led by the Mission Economic Development Agency), Corning Promise (led by the Paskenta Tribe of Nomlaki Indians) and Klamath River Promise Neighborhood (led by the Yurok Tribe).

Our work spans across the state of California in diverse communities, and together we have a common purpose- we are bringing community powered leadership and innovative cradle-to-career solutions to improve generational outcomes for children and families.

CPNN working groups meeting to plan data and evaluation strategies.

CPNN brings us together to share best practices and to problem solve in our collective impact work; to advocate for long term funding and sustainability; to share data across our network, and to show the impact Promise Neighborhoods are having across California.

February Convening- Inspiration and Building for the Future

For our February convening, we were thrilled to welcome Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children’s Zone President and Founder of HCZ’s William Julius Wilson Institute, as a keynote speaker whose vision and leadership created the original highly successful cradle-to-career model that inspired the federal program and our local work. 

In a conversation facilitated by Josh Davis of Strive Together, Mr. Canada shared his thoughts on leadership in the field, building the next generation of leaders, and strategies for continuing advocacy, raising resources to ensure the longevity of our local initiatives, and scaling this work nationally.

Josh Davis of Strive Together facilitating a conversation with Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone and the CPNN group.

Reflecting on the day, Mr. Canada noted, “As practitioners of place-based, cradle-to-career work, we are charged with the Herculean responsibility of ensuring successful futures for our young people,” he said. “It is only through the intentional sharing of best practices, like the work CPPN is doing throughout California, that we will create real change for Black and brown communities across this country.”

We set collective goals for our shared work on storytelling, evaluating our impact, and building systems to institutionalize cradle-to-career work at the state level. 

MEDA welcomed partners to celebrate Mission Promise Neighborhood’s ten year anniversary together at César Chávez Elementary School, and participated in a neighborhood tour where we shared some of our successful strategies from housing, to asset building, and our ‘Promotoras’ model. 

Geoffrey Canada speaks with Genesis Ulloa, MPN participant and young local poet who shared her poem at the event.

Klamath River Promise Neighborhood is the newest Promise Neighborhood in California, and CPNN has the goal of sharing learnings and best practices among its members. Josh Norris, Klamath River Promise Neighborhood Director noted their team’s experience.

“As the first exposure to the CPNN, for most of the new Klamath Promise Neighborhood team, we were inspired by the power of collective impact (led by those closest to the issues) in finding solutions we assumed were too large (or didn’t fit) in the scope of education. For example, solutions for topics such as affordable housing or premature births. We came away with a collective sense of purpose. “ 

For the first time, four CPNN members— Hayward, Chula Vista, Corning and Mission Promise- are sustaining the work through state funding from CDSS, and we are excited to partner as we bring this successful federal model to the State of California. In partnership with GRACE and the End Child Poverty in California coalition, we are committed to ensuring that many more communities in California that can benefit from Promise Neighborhoods and cradle-to-career initiatives have the resources to do so. 

To this end, we were thrilled to share a message at our MPN 10 year celebration from Assembly Member Mia Bonta announcing the launch of It Takes a Village (AB 1321), which will accomplish this goal.

Mission Promise Neighborhood and MEDA thanks our colleagues, friends, partners, and fellow movement builders who are on this journey with us, and who believe that together we can ensure that every child and family can thrive.


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