Editor’s Note: Ralph Smith is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and serves as Senior Vice President of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States.
On October 4, The Patterson Foundation renewed its commitment to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading which prompts me to make public what I conveyed to The Patterson Foundation in a summary report a month ago.
The Patterson Foundation has been a highly valued partner, a provider of technical assistance and support, and an exemplar of philanthropic engagement at the local, regional, state and national levels (special gratitude and appreciation to President and CEO Debra Jacobs who has been a valued thought and action partner, co-conspirator, and executive coach.) The GLR Campaign is a stronger catalytic force and more effective backbone organization because of this multilayered support.
The major 2015-2016 accomplishments are spelled out in the Midpoint Snapshots. Overall, the GLR Campaign Enterprise Investors have enabled the Campaign to make significant progress on both the 2015 and 2016 milestones:
I’m pleased to share some additional headlines and highlights:
Looking to 2017 and Beyond
As set out in the Midpoint Snapshots, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s action plan for the second half of its decade-long run will seek to solidify and accelerate the progress promised by the proof point communities. As importantly, that action plan will recognize that we currently define and measure “progress” consistent with the better-known of the two challenges captured in the 2020 goal — that of moving the needle. The lesser-known and longer-term challenge focuses on closing the reading proficiency gap.
At present, double-digit gaps persist and co-exist with good progress in every state and almost every GLR community. More Hopeful Futures, the GLR Campaign initiative scheduled for formal launch in 2017, will encourage and support a “bigger outcomes” approach — increments of positive change large enough to move the needle and close the gap. The “bigger outcomes” strategy will reflect the bingo matrix — aggregation and alignment of efforts across and between solutions and focus areas for impact and scale. Moreover, additional strategic priorities include: advocating for data-driven, technology-enhanced early warning and response systems; unbundling readiness, attendance and summer learning to allow more granular attention to the driver of improved outcomes in each of these domains; and extending the collective impact framework to accommodate and support processes that capture the value of the GLR Network’s distributed strengths, experience and expertise.