Better Know a Network: Achieve Brown County

Hand in hand

About 7 to 10 years ago, the Bay Area Community Council (BACC) led an effort among
community leaders to formulate ideas on how to create change in the community. Major partners in the effort were the Brown County United Way, the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, and the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The action planning relied on information from the Brown County LIFE (Leading Indicators for Excellence) Study completed by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the St. Norbert College Survey Center. The BACC looked at ten categories where they found areas of strength or areas of opportunity for the community. After this initial meeting, 200 selected community leaders from diverse sectors were invited to come together at a summit, and they developed five community priorities. One of the priorities was centered around education, specifically the cradle to career approach. Partnering with StriveTogether, they developed a State Ability Plan and raised 1.2 million dollars from local partners to fund the backbone for three years. They then designed a board, known as the Community Leadership Council, and a dashboard of community measures, which constitute the network that Achieve Brown County stewards today.

After the first four years, Achieve Brown County led an effort to reimagine its purpose as a backbone organization. This not only increased the engagement of their partners but also attracted more partners to join the work. By the end of 2019, Achieve Brown County has made significant gains in clarifying their role for their key stakeholders and are well-prepared to plan strategically for how they continue to build both as the backbone organization but also as a collaborative partnership to drive system change and improvement in critical care areas. Since Achieve Brown County was successful in delivering a more explicit message about their role in this work to their partners, the partners were able to appreciate it better and understand the opportunity and how they could plug into it. As a result, Achieve Brown County engaged four new partners in wanting to contribute to the work of the team.

Furthermore, Achieve Brown County is proud that through the work of Action Team 1.1, they
successfully got all three major healthcare systems in their county to align around one tool and implement a standardized system of developmental screening for young children. The goal of the team is to increase the number of children ages birth to five that participate in developmental screenings through their pediatrician. The health care partners identify children that are not on track in their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development so they can be referred to the county’s Birth to 3 Program early and receive the support and care they need to get back on track.

Finally, Achieve Brown County values the importance of data in their work and has been working hard with its partners in terms of data collection. They have been collecting data about young people in different ways through multiple partners, like the healthcare systems, school districts, and nonprofits. The data collected informs decisions to advance collective action in the partnership that would ultimately affect system change and improve outcomes from cradle to career.

Also, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction agreed to provide Achieve Brown County access to student record level data from all eight Brown County public school districts. Recently in their meetings, they were able to gain the support of all eight districts. In the next few months, the first set of data would be available from DPI that will contain student record level data from all eight public school districts. They are confident that they are at a point where they will be able to realize the full potential of their effort quickly after five years of hard work.

In terms of future work, Achieve Brown County would like to focus on both broadening and deepening their pool of funders and raising resources they need in their next campaign to demonstrate the social return on investment of their work. As for broadening their pool of donors, they would like to look beyond local funders and investors to sustain their efforts.