Collective Action to Change Outcomes for Young New Orleanians
BCM is investing grant dollars and the brainpower of its education, public safety, and health grantmaking team to help drive a community change initiative to improve the chance for successful lives for all young people in New Orleans.
The initiative is YouthShift, a group of youth-serving organizations which adopted a whole-child, collective-impact approach to improve the academic, social and behavioral outcomes for New Orleanians ages birth to 25.
YouthShift envisions a flourishing New Orleans in which young people, their families and communities are happy, healthy, secure, and empowered. YouthShift aspires for a city where youth are nourished by caring adults, live free of violence, have high quality education options, and gain the skills they need for sustainable careers.
Leaders from 80 child and youth-focused organizations are working together to offer a common vision for the 17 different systems and more than 400 agencies that serve or act on behalf of the 78,000 people in New Orleans ages 25 and younger.
outhShift is building a youth master plan to identify the needs of children combining current data and efforts to recommend strategies to improve outcomes. The work is staffed by BCM, a 15-person steering committee, the Forum for Youth Investment, and a backbone organization to help coordinate the work.
“Young people depend on us to create an environment where they can thrive,” says Nicole Jolly, a manager at the Partnership for Youth Development. “I view our role in YouthShift as facilitating data-driven decision-making and setting the table for cross-sector work to be intentional and informed.”
“Just like a master plan helps to ensure a city’s architecture and construction abide by and are attuned to the needs of its citizens, YouthShift will help to ensure that all decisions that affect New Orleans’ young people going forward will operate from a set of collective principles,” adds Cowen Institute Director of Policy Vincent Rossmeier.
“Mapping the community to ensure access, quality, and equity for services to children allows our community to understand existing deficits and pathways to solutions,” says KID smART Executive Director Echo Olander.
The principles of collective impact and YouthShift are already beginning to be operationalized, particularly around data. In spring 2014, the BCM Board of Trustees approved a 3-year grant to The Data Center to publish an annual report card on the status of children and youth in New Orleans to show real-time information on collective efforts to improve outcomes.
The Opportunity Youth Data Sharing Council was created in fall 2014 when 10 organizations working directly with Opportunity Youth (young people ages 16-24 who are disconnected from school and work) decided to develop a performance management framework using the Efforts to Outcomes data platform. OYDSC will be able to improve shared case management data and tell the story of how opportunity youth move toward self-sustainability.
“That’s really what YouthShift is all about,” says Vice President for Education Grants, Jennifer Roberts, one of the key architects of the strategy. “YouthShift offers the community’s ecosystem of providers, practitioners, youth, and families a real roadmap to develop broader partnerships, bigger goals, higher quality programs, better information, and bolder strategies to ensure that children and youth come first in New Orleans.”