February 2014 Update on the Partnership

Posted on February 27, 2014 in CEO Updates

Dear Friends –

Reflect back to November 30, 2010 when this community decided to build a cradle to career system for Multnomah County. I know that many on the All Hands Raised Board were persuaded by the theory of change that would match investments with promising practices that yield improved outcomes for our kids, especially those we have chronically failed. In the words of StriveTogether CEO, Jeff Edmondson, we wanted to stop the “spray and pray” funding approach and instead link investments with aligned practices that are getting results.

We have an early definitive win and we are seeing the results we visioned in 2010. Our original Collaborative, Ninth Grade Counts (NGC), is experiencing what is possible when aligned funding comes together with aligned practices. Members of NGC are focused on improving the transition into ninth grade, with a specific focus on impacting credit attainment, particularly for those students most at risk of dropping out. Our partners at the State of Oregon became interested in this work and its potential statewide impact. The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) invited us to testify before the Ways and Means Committee where leaders from NGC shared the Quality Standards they are using to drive results across the community. Subsequently, the state established a grant to support efforts like these to keep targeted eighth and ninth grade students on track to graduate.

Eight NGC partners applied for this new state grant, and every one of them was funded. Congratulations to our partners who received this award: Catholic Charities – El Programa Hispano, Multnomah Education Service District (MESD), NAYA Family Center, Open Meadow, Parkrose School District, REAP, Inc., Reynolds School District and Self Enhancement, Inc.

This is one example of how we are making progress together. As we expand the scope of our work, we will create more examples of how aligning practices among our many organizations will leverage investments.  Here’s to building the new, different and efficient system for our kids!  It is messy, humbling and exciting.


Dan Ryan

PS – Thank you in advance to those of you supporting our shared work by raising your hand to attend the 19th Annual Roast on Tuesday, March 4 in Portland. If you are unable to attend, you can still support our work through a virtual paddle raise now.