Columbia, Missouri — The Boone County Cradle to Career Alliance will receive $100,000 from the StriveTogether Challenge Fund over the next two years to help address educational and health disparities in Boone County. Boone County joins 50 other communities across 26 states to deliver more equitable outcomes for children and families. These communities are part of the Cradle to Career Network, a national movement led by StriveTogether to ensure every child has every opportunity to succeed. 

Boone County’s Cradle to Career Alliance is working to reverse the trend of chronic disparities tied to the destructive impact of systemic racism and intergenerational poverty in our community. This year, the organization will focus on generating upward mobility through a large community-wide initiative focused on fair housing, neighborhood and school segregation, health equity, and building a local career pathway project in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. The coalition will combine grassroots, city and county leadership to connect areas of influence and experience to solutions related to more equitable resource allocation, policies, practices, and inclusive decision-making processes with stakeholders.

“Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Boone County Cradle to Career Alliance, this award of $100,000 from StriveTogether helps to validate the groundwork that our alliance has laid in Boone County over the last eight years in eliminating educational and health inequities in Columbia and Boone County.  Our future success as a community relies on our ability to lift up the next generation while ensuring equal access to opportunities for individual growth and success for all children,” said Phil Steinhaus, board chair and CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority.

“It is one thing to hear about the importance of using data-driven strategies, and quite another to actually demonstrate the power in this approach during a time of crisis.  Community leaders need actionable information so they can quickly understand the landscape to make decisions.  The pandemic has heightened awareness of the chronic issues related to systemic racism and intergenerational poverty powerfully and clearly. We need to seize this moment to connect ourselves and our ideas differently and courageously. We couldn’t be more honored to receive support like this from StriveTogether. There truly aren’t words to express what it means.” said Crystal Kroner, Cradle to Career Alliance Executive Director.

“When the pandemic hit in early 2020, we made the strategic decision to shift cost savings from cancelled events and travel to expand grants we award to our network members,” said Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO, StriveTogether. “With the support of our board of directors, we pivoted and accelerated payment of previously awarded multi-year grants and extended new grants focused on COVID-19 recovery and resilience. The work underway in these communities is vital to the future of our children. We’re supporting the efforts of communities to transform systems so that they produce more equitable outcomes.”

Altogether, StriveTogether has provided $20 million in grants since the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and will award another $12 million by the end of 2021. Multi-year commitments from several long-time investors in StriveTogether helped make this possible.

“Our network members are helping their communities change the systems that fail so many families of color and families experiencing poverty. There is tremendous need and opportunity to redefine what’s possible,” Blatz added. “We’re creating a new normal where race, ethnicity and poverty do not determine opportunity or outcome.”

These investments reflect StriveTogether’s ongoing commitment to support its network of cross-sector partnerships as they work to put children and families on a path toward economic mobility. Communities across the country are changing systems like education, housing, health care and more with a goal of eliminating disparities for millions of young people and their families.

Priority was given to network members serving significant populations of children and families of color who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The following have received funding:

Achieve Brown County, Green Bay, WIAchieve Escambia, Pensacola, FL Alamance Achieves, Burlington, NCAligned Impact Muscatine County, Muscatine, IAAll Hands Raised, Portland, ORBaltimore’s Promise, Baltimore, MDBetter Together Central Oregon, Redmond, ORBoston Opportunity Agenda, Boston, MABridgeport Prospers, Bridgeport, CTBuilding Our Future, Kenosha, WI The Commit Partnership, Dallas, TXCradle to Career, Rochester, MNCradle to Career Alliance, Columbia, MOCradle to Career Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OHCradle to Career Fresno County, Fresno, CACradle to Career Partnership, Tucson, AZE3 Alliance, Austin, TXEastside Pathways, Bellevue, WA The Forsyth Promise, Winston-Salem, NCGeneration Next, Minneapolis, MNGraduate Strong, Bremerton, WAGraduate Tacoma/Foundation for Tacoma Students, Tacoma, WAHarlem Renaissance Education Pipeline, New York, NYHigher Expectations for Racine County, Racine, WIimPACT East Idaho, Pocatello, IDImpactTulsa, Tulsa, OKLearn4Life, Atlanta, GALearn to Earn Dayton, Dayton, OH  

Marin Promise Partnership, San Rafael, CAMilwaukee Succeeds, Milwaukee, WIMission Promise Neighborhood, San Francisco, CANorthfield Promise, Northfield, MNNorwalk ACTS, Norwalk, CTOnTrack, Hagerstown, MD Partners for Education, Berea, KYPromise Partnership of Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, UTRaise DC, Washington, DCRISE: Treasure Valley’s Education Partnership, Boise, IDThe Road Map Project, Seattle, WAROC the Future, Rochester, NYRocky Mountain Partnership, Thornton, COSeeding Success, Memphis, TNSouth Bronx Rising Together, New York, NYSpartanburg Academic Movement (SAM), Spartanburg, SC Stamford Cradle to Career, Stamford, CTStanislaus Cradle to Career Partnership, Modesto, CASummit Education Initiative, Akron, OHThrive Chicago, Chicago, ILTri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative, Charleston, SC UP Partnership, San Antonio, TXWaterbury Bridge to Success Community Partnership, Waterbury, CT    

About StriveTogether

StriveTogether partners with nearly 70 communities across the country to advance equity so local success stories can become the reality for every child, everywhere. They work to transform failing systems using collaborative improvement and a proven framework for change. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network is closing disparity gaps in education, housing and so much more. Together, they impacted the lives of more than 12 million youth — more than half are children of color — across 30 states and Washington, D.C. Learn more at