Jeff Edmondson

Ashoka Fellow
United States,
Fellow Since 2012
Strive Network

Citation

This profile was prepared when Jeff Edmondson was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Jeff is identifying the key elements required to build civic infrastructure capable of supporting children from cradle-to-career, and is mobilizing a powerful network across the country to put those elements into practice. Rather than institute a single program, he is connecting the many different players addressing education challenges at the local level—including foundations and government funding agencies, nonprofit service providers, and educators—through a framework grounded in the best practices for collective impact. What’s more, Jeff has made collective impact in education work at scale by clearly codifying what does and does not work, creating a shared metrics system from which local partners can track students across all educational levels, and convening a vibrant community of practice capable of sharing lessons learned.

By working hand-in-hand with the funding community, focusing on comprehensive data gathering, and equipping communities with the tools they need to identify shared goals and feasible action plans among like providers, Strive ensures that resources are redirected toward approaches that work. Simple and easily adaptable, the process can be used to meet local needs: Put concerned people in a room, agree upon statistically definable goals, and then coordinate action and spend the dollars to hit the targets. Jeff is working to scale their approach by establishing powerful proof points in cities and towns across the country, and sharing the lessons learned through a combination of field-building activities and outreach efforts. Despite the recession and budget cuts of recent years, Strive has seen dramatic results: in Cincinnati, for example, 34 of the 53 success indicators showed positive trends over the last six years, affecting everything from high school graduation rates to fourth-grade reading and math scores, to the number of preschool children prepared for kindergarten. And in less than two years since the launch of the national network, more than 120 cities have asked to join. As a result, what began as a partnership in Cincinnati, OH has now grown to include fifteen cradle-to-career initiatives in cities ranging from Oakland to Richmond, Portland, Houston, and Boston, and more than fifty member sites actively pursuing the Strive framework.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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