StriveTogether, a national campaign dedicated to helping children succeed in school and in life, designated San Antonio-based UP Partnership as a Systems Transformation Cradle to Career Network member—the top designation for communities in its national network, making it one of six total communities to do so in the United States.
According to an Aug. 29 news release, these community partnerships work with system leaders to make fundamental and lasting shifts in policies, practices, resources and power structures affecting education.
The goal for these changes is to eliminate racial and ethnic inequities so all Black, Indigenous, Latino and Asian youth as well as all youth experiencing poverty have a chance to reach their full potential, according to the release.
Emily Calderón Galdeano, chief impact and strategy officer at UP Partnership, said her organization has brought together Bexar County community partners to find common ground for a larger goal of improving youth outcomes.
“In more recent years, UP has rallied community partners around clear, focused goals. The Systems Transformation designation is due, in large part, to our community partners working together across those years to ensure more equitable outcomes for young people,” Calderón Galdeano said in a statement.
Through StriveTogether, UP Partnership is part of a national movement to help every child succeed in life, regardless of race, ethnicity, ZIP code or circumstance, according to the release.
StriveTogether representatives said the Cradle to Career Network is closing gaps and creating opportunities across education, health, housing and more. StriveTogether representatives also said their evaluation of UP Partnership found the local organization and its partners have demonstrated Bexar County is changing systems to advance equity and improve results for young people.
“UP Partnership has reached an important milestone in galvanizing the community around a common vision and effective data use,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said in a statement. “They are a clear leader in our network of nearly 70 communities across the country, all of whom are taking bold steps to improve how systems serve young people and their families.”
The release states that UP Partnership is the anchor organization of the Future Ready Bexar County Plan, a strategic community initiative that was launched in April 2022 and has brought together nearly 90 partner organizations in an effort to increase the percentage of Bexar County high school graduates enrolling in postsecondary degree or credential program to 70% by 2030.
To join the national network, communities complete an assessment of their civic infrastructure development, a process that measures progress against a continuum of quality benchmarks, known as StriveTogether’s Theory of Action, according to the release.
This framework has five designations—Exploring, Emerging, Sustaining, Systems Change and Systems Transformation—that indicate progress toward aligning resources around better and more equitable outcomes for young people.