We recommend you start by looking over the Broader Partnerships Toolkit, then move on to the three standards under the Broader Partnerships Building Block:
You can’t do this alone. No person or organization can change the odds for youth by themselves. You need to work in concert with others. That means more than “let’s get together sometimes.” After all, concerts are more than just a bunch of musicians making noise at the same time (certain bands notwithstanding). Working in concert means agreeing on what to play, playing in unison and contributing your own special sound to create something beyond what any of you could do on your own.
First, you need a conductor for your concert. With various people and organizations playing unique roles in your community – focusing on particular issues, populations and geographic areas – someone needs to keep an eye on the big picture, connect the work of those groups and make sure there are no gaps. That’s why every successful Ready by 21 state or community has an overarching leadership council.
If your community is like most, it already has lots of partnerships in place: partnerships with their own websites, logos, mission statements and memorandums of understanding. These partnerships can be an enormous asset – if you can organize them into a coherent patchwork that meets the needs of the whole child and the whole community.
To really change the odds for children and youth, your community needs the involvement of its influential leaders from all sectors. That includes education, business, government, nonprofits and families. “Involvement” goes beyond signing up and saying, “Call me when you want something.” These leaders need to be committed and collaborative in ways that contribute to the overarching mission of the group.