Collaborations in which school systems, state and local governments, businesses, community organizations and nonprofit institutions work together to improve educational outcomes for children and youth have existed for more than a century. This publication describes the landscape of collaborations today and trends in their location, reach and other matters. The report identifies 182 cross-sector collaborations in education operating in the United States as of January 2015. Most were established before 2011, the year that consulting firm FSG coined the term “collective impact,” which has become a popular way to describe a specific approach to these collaborations. Across the variety of collaborations, the researchers found:

  • A substantial number predate the contemporary “collective impact” movement and are still operational, offering encouragement that the general idea of collaboration is indeed viable. Nearly 60 percent of the 182 initiatives in the scan were launched before 2011, and nearly 20 percent before 2000.

  • Most efforts target their work at an area larger than a city, potentially providing the collaborations with access to a wider range of resources.

  •  Efforts are often affiliated with national networks that have the potential to encourage learning across programs, sharing of resources, and strengthening of national visibility and political clout.

  • The collaborations report data on a range of indicators, focusing most often on student test score performance and high school graduation.

  • Collaborations vary in their governance structures. Business, higher education and social services are most likely to be represented on formal governing boards.

Note to readers: The report here, posted March 11, 2016, is a slightly revised version of the original, released March 1, 2016.

Points of Interest

  • Scan reveals trends of contemporary collaborations in which school systems, governments, businesses, community organizations and nonprofits work together to improve educational outcomes for children.
    Communities use #collectiveimpact to address complex #education challenges. Scan of 182 collaborations reveals trends
  • A substantial number of cross-sector collaborations in education predate the contemporary “collective impact” movement and are still operational, offering encouragement that the general idea of collaboration is indeed viable.
    Nearly 60% of today’s cross-sector collaborations in #education pre-date #CollectiveImpact strategy
  • Collaborative, cross-sector efforts to improve education are found across the United States, but almost 40 percent are located in the Midwest.
    Report: 40% of collaborative, cross-sector efforts to boost education in U.S. located in Midwest. #CollectiveImpact

Supplementary Materials