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Human Services Program connects with partners to maximize outcomes for children and families

General Foundation News

Aligning systems and practices to deliver outcomes that families and communities want for themselves so they can climb the social and economic ladder and achieve their dreams. That’s why The Kresge Foundation’s National Human Services Program brought together a group of grantee partners and thought partners to connect and collaborate on solutions to complex challenges at a “North Star Convening – Maximizing Our Potential to Impact Outcomes for Families and Communities” event in collaboration with the American Public Human Services Association in April.

HS North Star Convening April 2019

This event was the second in an ongoing series focused on the bold ways that participants are developing organizational capacity and creating multi-sector partnerships and solutions to accelerate social and economic mobility for families in America’s cities.

These convenings reflect the human services team’s intention to take a learning journey in partnership with its grantee partners and other thought leaders and create a space to generate solutions. This session lifted up innovations driven by the public sector as well as innovations driven by key partnerships.

“Our shared focus on outcomes requires us to be clear about all of the key drivers for achieving impact such as financing, racial equity, policy, best practices and other important enabling conditions,” Raquel Hatter, managing director of the Human Services Program at Kresge, said. “What we know for sure is that if we don’t get this aspect of delivering on outcomes right, families and communities are the sacrifice, and for us that is not acceptable. We are committed to designing a person-centered system informed by the outcomes families and communities want for themselves.”

The day included presentations and panel discussions with leading experts in the public sector focused on how to understand outcomes using a two generation lens and how to improve performance by engaging employees, effectively using data and establishing procurement practices that deliver meaningful results.

Marjorie Sims, managing director, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, set the stage by laying out the two generation whole family approach for advancing social and economic mobility. She discussed the evolution of two generation 1.0 to two generation 2.0 and provided on an overview of Ascend’s evidence-based and promising practices informed outcomes.

“Measuring outcomes for both children and their parents or their primary caregivers at the same time is two generation. If you are not doing that, it’s not two gen,” Sims noted.

Panelists also spoke about their personal commitment to the work and highlighted outcomes delivered for the people and communities they serve across the nation.

But whether it was about providing services to families or financing structures, participants stressed that people’s voices at all levels, from providers to people living in the community, need to be heard.

We want to help people make their lives work, Gena Lewis, executive consultant, government relations, at Ikaso Consulting said. But to do that, we have to bring people to the table and include them in the process of developing solutions.

“We are all in the shared business of outcomes, but we can’t lose sight of what we want to do for families,” Tracy Wareing-Evans, president and CEO, APHSA, said. “Because when we don’t achieve outcomes, it not us that loses, it’s people that lose.”

“This convening was a model for collaborative and courageous learning about capacity building for human service sector innovation. Some hard questions were put on the table — all of which were met with thoughtful listening and critical exploration,” Kathy Park, CEO of the National Council on Crime and Deliquency, said. “At a time in our society when it often feels like forces are actively working against the movement to ensure that all people have the opportunity to realize their potential, a major takeaway was an affirmation of the will of so many working in partnership to make it happen.”