While there’s no shortage of education programs and effort, there’s a shortage of a return. We think that’s because more than a resource problem, Hartford has a coordination and ownership problem.
While conditions in the public sector are tough, Hartford’s diverse private sector maintains an incredible asset – smart and committed leaders from corporate, nonprofit, higher ed, and philanthropy, waiting to be tapped. Unlocking our potential, as a private sector, is the real opportunity.
Embracing a model of “distributed leadership,” Achieve Hartford can stay small as a staff yet enlist and support a large number of private leaders to help drive projects.
Theory of Change
If we – AH staff, board members, and partners – activate the region’s many corporate, nonprofit, philanthropic and higher ed leaders to take shared ownership of solving Hartford’s education problems, and if we support high-functioning teams and high-impact interventions, over time we can bridge the opportunity gap and close the achievement gap – in the process building a large base of committed, cross-sector leaders.
During the year of our transition, we activated over 30 private-sector leaders to drive our two coalitions. By the end of fiscal year 2020, we added an additional 25 private-sector leaders from throughout corporate, higher ed, nonprofit and philanthropy and in the process put 350 students on track for college and career readiness.
When I volunteered to serve on the Weaver School Culture and Climate workgroup, I didn’t have any special expertise to bring to the table, but I did have a well-trained ability to elicit strong participation among a diverse group of leaders – and a passion to improve Hartford. I know my contribution helped us deliver a great product at the end of the design phase, and I can’t wait to help drive the next phase of the work. The bright stars growing up in Hartford’s North End deserve something truly special when they enter 9th Grade next summer.