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Community Organizations Power Collective Impact

ExpandED Schools

This post, by Key Beck, originally appeared on Striving for Change, StriveTogether's blog.

Many nonprofit youth-serving organizations, often called community-based organizations or CBOs, contribute to the collective impact movement by providing services at nearly every step of the education continuum. Collective Impact: Stronger Results with Community-Based Organizations, co-published by StriveTogether, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, and ExpandED Schools by TASC, describes the ways in which CBOs can participate in and support collective impact efforts, and provides recommendations to build increasingly effective relationships among CBOs and other partners working to support youth outcomes in communities.

The paper is framed using the StriveTogether Framework and draws upon the successful collaborative approach of several ExpandED Schools in New York, Baltimore and New York, where schools and CBOs have aligned around a set of shared goals. The lessons learned from these schools offer insight into the benefits of actively engaging CBOs in collective impact including:


  • The ability to leverage existing relationships between local schools and superintendents, as well as communities and parents.
  • The ability to connect academic and non-academic outcomes due to CBOs having access to non-academic data.
  • The provision of services and direct impact to the work of local cradle-to-career partnerships through participation of CBOs on Leadership Teams and Collaborative Action Networks.
  • The identification of necessary policy changes by CBOs that can be advocated for by cradle-to-career partnerships.
  • Enacting systems change by mobilizing the community to improve outcomes.


While many CBOs already serve critical roles in communities with collective impact initiatives, we see additional opportunity for high-quality CBOs to engage in deeper ways for the benefit of local partnerships and students.

What does this deeper engagement look like, and do you see CBOs serving an integral role in your communities or local partnerships? Is there a role for cradle-to-career partnerships in building capacity within CBOs to actively participate in collective impact efforts?

In the comments, let us know your thoughts on the roles CBOs do and can play in collective impact and how a strong partnership between cradle-to-career partnerships and CBOs can help support the success of every child.

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