Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education
A Nationwide Scan
How we did this
This report was based on a systematic effort to identify instances of cross-sector collaborations for education and then to gather and analyze information on their websites. The search process yielded 182 collaborations with functioning websites.
Cross-sector collaborations in education involve school systems, governments, businesses, community organizations, and nonprofits working together to produce better outcomes. This report presents a snapshot in time of such efforts across the United States as of 2015, with an eye toward informing future examinations.
Researchers identified 182 cross-sector collaborations in education and analyzed information the initiatives had made publicly available through their websites. Most were established before 2011, the year that consulting firm FSG coined the term “collective impact” to describe a specific approach to these collaborations.
Researchers found a variety of significant trends across the collaborations:
They typically target their work in an area larger than a city. That potentially provides the collaborations with access to a wider range of resources.
They report data more often on certain indicators. While initiatives report data on a range of measures, the focus tends to be on student test score performance and high school graduation.
They are often affiliated with national networks. That can encourage learning across programs, sharing of resources, and strengthening of national visibility and political clout.
They vary in their governance structures. Business, higher education, and social services are most likely to be represented on formal governing boards.
They operate across the United States—with more in certain areas. There are higher concentrations of collaborations in certain areas within regions, such as Florida and the states that border the Great Lakes. Almost 40 percent are located in the Midwest.
Also, compared with other large cities that lack them, urban areas with collaborations often have higher levels of poverty and greater income disparities between Blacks and whites, as well as between Hispanics and whites. They also have more economic inequality overall.
Cross-sector collaborations are appealing as an efficient and potentially effective way to provide the additional educational resources and comprehensive services that many students need.
- The report presents a snapshot in time of cross-sector collaborations for education across the United States.
- Almost 40 percent of such efforts are located in the Midwest.
- Cross-sector collaborations are often affiliated with national networks that can encourage learning across programs, sharing of resources, and strengthening of national visibility and political clout.
- Compared with other large cities that lack them, cities with collaborations often have more economic inequality overall.
Materials & Downloads
What We Don't Know
To what extent does the website information show real programmatic differences or just variations in website sophistication?
What was the experience of initiatives that ended before January 2015?