Christopher Gil
Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
(415) 282-3334 ext. 152
cgil@medasf.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2020

San Francisco Receives Support from StriveTogether to Get Better Results for Kids
StriveTogether grant will help local partnership strengthen leadership initiative for parents of San Francisco’s Mission Promise Neighborhood

San FranciscoStriveTogether, a national network working to bring communities together around data to make decisions and improve results for kids, today announced San Francisco as an awardee for the second round of its Strategic Initiatives grant program. San Francisco joins six other communities that will focus on local leadership initiatives.

Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN), for which MEDA is the lead agency, will use this critical funding to build momentum and policy capacity to achieve a citywide and regional institutionalization of this community anti-poverty education initiative. 

MPN is a partnership of 15 community agencies that has seen dramatic increases in kinder-readiness and graduation rates in its community. Parents in MPN agreed that this collaborative approach should not be limited to only a few fortunate neighborhoods, and they organized to ask the state to fund Promise Neighborhoods across the country. Their advocacy led to approval of this proposal by the California Senate, and the legislation has already made it partway through the Assembly. In addition to this state-level advocacy, these parents were instrumental in helping to draft legislation requiring the San Francisco Unified School District to work with the community to close the achievement gap for the city’s Latinx students. All of this work is leading to systems change — from coordination of safety net services and to community-informed accountability processes for civic institutions — and MPN parents are leading the way. This grant will allow this parent and policy work to continue, so that this systems change can continue in San Francisco, as well as across the state.

“This StriveTogether grant will foster parent leadership at the early education and learning centers and in the nine schools in which the Mission Promise Neighborhood works, plus in our community overall,” Mission Promise Neighborhood Director Richard Raya said. “Now, more than ever, it’s critical that we invest in leadership initiatives for parents to help them navigate current challenges.”

In response to COVID-19, MPN is reaching out to nearly a thousand San Francisco Unified School District families in its shared database to make sure they have access to the emergency benefits that local, state and federal authorities are putting into effect. MPN’s extensive neighborhood network provides residents with a direct line to elected officials to let them know what is needed during this crisis and gives government an avenue to connect more of its most vulnerable community members to emergency services.

“Local leadership is critical at a time when so many systems are clearly failing youth and families,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “StriveTogether is investing to ensure leaders and staff reflect the diversity of the communities they serve to better support the success of every child.”

The Strategic Initiatives Fund provides grants for targeted strategies to strengthen the seven capacities outlined in StriveTogether’s strategic plan, with a different capacity selected each year. The areas of focus this year include: building organizational capacity; providing leadership development and career pathways for staff as well as local youth, parents and residents; and recruiting and onboarding for a key leadership role on the team or board.

The other leadership initiatives include: 

  • In Boston, the Boston Opportunity Agenda will work to develop career pathways at community-based organizations for parent leaders who reflect the communities being served, with a focus on better outcomes for kids ages birth to 8.
  • In Kenosha, Wis., Building Our Future will build the capability of staff and partners to understand systemic racism so they can identify the changes needed in local institutions and policies for more equitable outcomes.
  • In Muscatine County, Iowa, Aligned Impact Muscatine County will create a staffing plan that identifies key roles needed to advance the partnership’s goals and develop innovative ways to fill those talent needs across community partners.
  • In Redmond, Ore., Better Together Central Oregon will create a network of community members of color who will serve in key partnership roles and build their capacity to design agendas and action plans.
  • In Salt Lake City, Promise Partnership of Salt Lake will expand a talent toolkit created with StriveTogether for hiring and retaining more diverse staff across the Network, with more equitable hiring practices and clearer pathways for development and promotion.
  • In Tulsa, Okla., ImpactTulsa will increase its leadership council’s diversity to represent Tulsa County’s population and unique community perspectives and will develop a youth council to elevate student voice.

The Strategic Initiatives Fund is part of StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Community Challenge, which invests in efforts to improve equity and economic mobility for children and their families. Since launching the Community Challenge in 2018, StriveTogether has invested $16.6 million in 34 communities on projects that advance equity, improve results and spread bold strategies to help students progress from kindergarten to postsecondary completion and a job.

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About Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
Rooted in the Mission and focused on San Francisco, MEDA’s mission is to strengthen low- and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development.
medasf.org

About StriveTogether
StriveTogether partners with nearly 70 communities across the country, providing coaching, resources and rigorous approaches to create opportunities and close gaps in education, housing, health care and more. Together, the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network impacts the lives of more than 10 million youth across 29 states and Washington, D.C.
strivetogether.org

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