Cradle to Career Partnership Receives Support from StriveTogether for an Equitable Recovery

StriveTogether, a national network working to bring communities together around data to make decisions and improve results for kids, today announced the Cradle to Career Partnership for Pima County as an awardee for the Challenge Fund. Pima County joins fifty other communities across 26 states to deliver more equitable outcomes for children and families. These communities are part of the Cradle to Career Network, a national movement led by StriveTogether to ensure every child has every opportunity to succeed.


The Cradle to Career Partnership, anchored at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, is a results-focused collaborative committed to ensuring that children and youth in Pima County have access to opportunities and resources to succeed in school and life, focusing on improving outcomes across eight milestones spanning early childhood to employment. This grant will be used to expand Cradle to Career’s work in post-secondary enrollment and completion, as well as bring in the community to co-design solutions with those who are most impacted by inequitable systems in education.


“We are grateful to be awarded this grant from StriveTogether, and it’s a testament to the continued work of this partnership,” said Amanda Brockman, Associate Vice President at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, who leads the Cradle to Career Partnership. “This funding allows for an exciting and necessary expansion of our work. With this grant, we have hired a Family & Community Engagement Director, a position focused on building relationships with parents, caregivers, and students to empower their voices within our Partnership. We have also hired a Change Network facilitator focused on building and strengthening relationships between K-12, higher education, and the business community to improve post-secondary attainment.”

“When the pandemic hit in early 2020, we made the strategic decision to shift cost savings from cancelled events and travel to expand grants we award to our network members,” said Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO, StriveTogether. “With the support of our board of directors, we pivoted and accelerated payment of previously awarded multi-year grants and extended new grants focused on COVID-19 recovery and resilience. The work underway in these communities is vital to the future of our children. We’re supporting the efforts of communities to transform systems so that they produce more equitable outcomes.”


Altogether, StriveTogether has provided $20 million in grants since the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and will award another $12 million by the end of 2021. Multi-year commitments from several long-time investors in StriveTogether helped make this possible.


“Our network members are helping their communities change the systems that fail so many families of color and families experiencing poverty. There is tremendous need and opportunity to redefine what’s possible,” Blatz added. “We’re creating a new normal where race, ethnicity and poverty do not determine opportunity or outcome.”


“Over the past year, the effects of the pandemic on our education system have had a disproportionately negative impact on students from marginalized communities,” said Steve Holmes, Superintendent of the Sunnyside Unified School district and Co-Chair of the Cradle to Career Partnership “This funding will allow us to bring the voices of our community to the table, empowering parents, caregivers, students, and other community members in the co-development of solutions for equitable improvement across all milestones.”


These investments reflect StriveTogether’s ongoing commitment to support its network of cross-sector partnerships as they work to put children and families on a path toward economic mobility. Communities across the country are changing systems like education, housing, health care and more with a goal of eliminating disparities for millions of young people and their families.


Priority was given to network members serving significant populations of children and families of color who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Cradle to Career Partnership