This report starts with an overview of the Making Connections initiative and its focus on improving outcomes for disadvantaged children. Strategies include strengthening 1) family connections to economic opportunity, 2) positive social networks and 3) trustable services and supports in local neighborhoods and communities. The report offers a set of overarching lessons that emerged from the work, including recognizing and dealing with the complexity of place-based community change efforts, the importance of parent and resident engagement, using a data-driven approach and defining success.

  • While a goal should be encouraging organic, entrepreneurial growth at the local level, achieving that while meeting the demands of implementation protocols and required evaluations leads inevitably to tension and challenges.
  • Bringing in other investors and perspectives enhances sustainability but may add new complexities
  • Place-based community change is complex and extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to manage from afar
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