The Scale of the Problem
Approximately half of the 55,000 children who live in Guilford County, NC grow up in or near poverty. These children face an array of challenges that too often impede their healthy development and prevent them from reaching their full potential.
A Promising Solution
The Get Ready Guilford Initiative (GRGI) expands proven programs and builds a continuum of services for families and children from prenatal through age eight. Its data-driven approach helps improve early outcomes and ensure on-track development and school readiness in order to change the life trajectories of children born into poverty.
Across the United States, children’s life prospects are still largely determined by the circumstances of their birth. This is particularly acute in the South, where most children in low-income families remain stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder. A child born into a family at the bottom 25% of income in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, home to Guilford County, has a less than five percent chance of progressing to the top quartile as an adult—one of the worst rates of upward mobility in the nation.
Research shows that early-childhood interventions can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by ensuring infant health, supporting social and emotional development and increasing readiness for school. GRGI identifies developmental needs from before birth to age eight, providing access to services and supports that prevent delays from becoming persistent gaps, thus breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Blue Meridian’s Investment
Our investment supports the Get Ready Guilford Initiative, a 12-year strategy to improve early outcomes for low-income children from preconception through age eight. The first three-year phase will focus on: 1) ensuring access to evidence-based interventions and other services for children ages zero to three; 2) strengthening the organizational capacity of a “backbone” organization; 3) creating a navigation system to connect families with the care they need at the right time; and 4) building an integrated data ecosystem. This first phase lays the groundwork to serve children ages three through eight in later stages of the initiative.
$32 million invested over 3 years
Develop a cross-sector data ecosystem and a navigation function that will connect families to programs and services
Why We Are Excited about the Get Ready Guilford Initiative
Every organization in our investment portfolio displays a multitude of strengths. Here are some highlights of the tremendous potential we saw in the Get Ready Guilford Initiative that motivated us to invest:
The Get Ready Guilford Initiative offers an adaptable approach to lift up children and their families living in poverty. By utilizing data and examining the impact of various interventions across the continuum, GRGI will identify which elements of the initiative are most critical and compelling for replication in other cities and regions across America.
With the support of The Duke Endowment, GRGI can serve as a model for similar efforts around the country and influence thought leadership in place-based social-sector work.
Continuum of Care with Evidence-Based Programs
The Get Ready Guilford Initiative is anchored by the expansion and integration of three evidence-based programs (two of which are also Blue Meridian national grantees): Nurse-Family Partnership, HealthySteps and Family Connects. All three programs have a national footprint and years of research documenting their positive impacts on children and families. These programs will significantly expand their reach in Guilford County and play a central role in the development of an integrated continuum of care.
Joint Initiative in Guilford County Committed to Early Childhood
This initiative is spearheaded by The Duke Endowment, which has partnered with Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready), the backbone of Guilford County’s early childhood efforts. Building on decades of work to create an innovative, connected early childhood system, Ready Ready has galvanized key stakeholders, including public sector agencies and elected officials, around this effort. The Duke Endowment and Ready Ready’s emphasis on collective leadership and accountability, coupled with community-led governance, will be instrumental in ensuring deep support for and ownership of this complex, cross-sector initiative.
About the Get Ready Guilford Initiative
The Get Ready Guilford Initiative attempts to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and improve individual and population-level outcomes for the approximately 55,000 children, prenatal to age eight, living in Guilford County. By focusing on healthy births, infant and toddler development, school readiness at kindergarten, and success by third grade, the initiative can set participants on a path to better life trajectories. The strategy is informed by the scientific community’s increasing attention to the earliest years of life as our country’s best opportunity for disrupting cycles of poverty. This strategy will build a system that identifies needs proactively – before they become persistent gaps – and responds with effective services at the right points in development.
About The Duke Endowment
The Duke Endowment is spearheading the Get Ready Guilford Initiative in partnership with Ready for School, Ready for Life. The Endowment’s mission is to strengthen communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits, and in 2017 it announced a foundation-wide emphasis on the early childhood years. As the Endowment invests more in young children, it expects to build expertise that generates higher-impact grantmaking and greater thought leadership about issues facing young children and their families. The Duke Endowment was a founding partner of Blue Meridian.