USA – Cincinnati and northern Kentucky

Collective impact from the US social sector captures some of the requirements and principles for a shared investment approach. 

This video explains what it does and how they do it.

A case study for collective impact

School achievement was a significant issue in Cincinnati and across northern Kentucky. Strive, a nonprofit organisation, brought together local leaders to tackle the student achievement crisis and improve education. 

In the 4 years since the group launched, Strive and its partners improved student success in dozens of key areas across 3 large public school districts. Despite a recession and budget cuts, there were positive trends for 34 of 53 success indicators including high school graduation rates, 4th grade reading and math scores, and the number of preschool children prepared for kindergarten.

Stakeholders recognised the crisis could only be resolved through a ‘cradle to career’ approach which spanned the education sector and beyond. More than 300 local stakeholder organisations (including school districts, universities, NGOs, private foundations and government officials) agreed to participate in a collective impact process. 

Stanford University researchers studied the process and identified five elements of collective success:  

  1. common agenda 
  2. shared measurement system for impact 
  3. mutually reinforcing activities that capitalise on each participants’ scope of practice 
  4. continuous and structured communication
  5. a backbone support organisation with dedicated staff to coordinate the process.