Why Place Matters
One’s opportunity for economic mobility is inextricably linked to where they grow up. If we hope to improve outcomes for young people and families in poverty, we must account for the influence of place on the trajectory of their lives.
Based on lessons learned from past efforts, we believe philanthropy can effectively support Regional Strategies that transform economic and social environments in communities across the country. The most successful of these place-based partnerships are led by the people living in these targeted communities and where all parties share aspirations, operating principles, and a commitment to expanding effective interventions.
The regional strategies we have supported integrate effective local programs with evidence-based national programs into a comprehensive set of services across life stages. With these regional investments, we can support young people and families through critical junctures and expand pathways to economic mobility across the country.
We are exploring how to expand this portfolio and welcome new opportunities to collaborate.
Data shows that children’s chances of climbing the income ladder are profoundly affected by the neighborhoods in which they are raised. Young people have the best chance of escaping poverty when they meet critical milestones throughout their lives, including healthy births, readiness for kindergarten, high school graduation, and others. But children raised in communities impacted by poverty often lack the support they need to meet these milestones and avoid major impediments, such as unplanned pregnancy and criminal convictions. Absent effective, long-term interventions, children born into poverty have little chance of earning incomes greater than their parents.
The chance of Americans earning more than their parents has fallen from over 90% to roughly 50%, with no signs of a change in trajectory
Blue Meridian makes right-sized investments in coordinated Regional Strategies that aim to achieve community-wide impact.
Place-based partnerships focus on the whole person by coordinating access to and expansion of multiple interventions — from cradle through career — to amplify the power of any one effort. These partnerships also pursue systemic changes within communities to transform economic and social environments, improving the life prospects of all residents. Ultimately, these regional approaches create a network of support for young people and families affected by poverty and its cascading impacts. With this portfolio, we aspire to enable hundreds of communities to more successfully and equitably pursue economic mobility.
children targeted for support through our initial two regional investments
The Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa (BEST), an initiative spearheaded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, will increase the supply of and access to evidence-based programs for families and children from pre-conception through age eight in Tulsa County, OK. By providing a continuum of care and help navigating a range of services, BEST aims to ensure that every child meets developmental milestones, lives in a supportive family, and succeeds in school.
The Get Ready Guilford Initiative seeks to support the physical, social-emotional and cognitive well-being of children from birth to age eight in Guilford County, North Carolina region. The strategy, spearheaded by The Duke Endowment, aims to accelerate existing local efforts to improve early childhood outcomes—including healthy births, infant/toddler development, school readiness, and success by third grade—by bringing evidence-based programs to greater scale in these areas, improving the quality of local programs and catalyzing collective impact efforts.