Developing Cross-Sector Partnerships to Support the Whole Family

    By their very nature,  whole family approaches rarely exist only within one program or agency because families are diverse in their interests, goals, and needs. Most often, whole family programs form critical partnerships with other programs and agencies, knitting together services for families in ways that support them more seamlessly and comprehensively.

    For example, a workforce training program might partner with an early childhood program to reserve slots for trainees; an early childhood program might hold work readiness classes near pick-up time; or either of those programs might hold a family event that builds social capital while offering parenting skills to participants. The knowledge and skills in each of these areas are often unique to a particular program, necessitating cross-sector partnerships to implement and achieve two-generation goals.

    Foundations investing in whole family approaches can take several approaches to supporting cross-sector strategies. 

    The first step is to familiarize board and staff members with cross-sector whole family approaches in both program and policy to offer ideas and greater understanding of what successful partnerships look like.

    The second step is to identify the strengths in the community upon which cross-sector partnerships can be built and to understand how those partnerships can be developed.

    The third step is to identify the role of the foundation in establishing whole family cross-sector partnerships. Please visit the funding strategies section of this toolkit for tools to explore roles and strategies.

    Program approaches

    Two-Generation Strategy Yields Promising Results: The LIFT-AppleTree Partnership Pilot Project – Ascend at the Aspen Institute

    Committed to helping families create an intergenerational cycle of opportunity, LIFT, a national nonprofit that connects parents with trained coaches who help them achieve career and financial goals, implements a two-generation (2Gen) strategy. Their partnership with AppleTree, a recognized leader in evidence-based early childhood education, demonstrates LIFT’s commitment to staying laser-focused on the needs of its members – the parents – while recognizing that the educational and financial well-being of parents affects their kids. The initial data from this strategic partnership has yielded promising results. (July 2019)

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    Policy approaches

    Partnership approaches