KnowledgeWorks subsidiary StriveTogether becomes independent organization

National Cradle to Career Network of 71 communities poised for next stage of growth


StriveTogether will transition to an independent non-profit organization to advance their work and greater support the national Cradle to Career Network, KnowledgeWorks announced today.

StriveTogether will become a stand-alone 501c3, with support from key investors, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Living Cities. KnowledgeWorks is committing an additional $1 million to StriveTogether, and the organization will also receive more than $6 million from Ford Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and other investors.

“Part of KnowledgeWorks’ mission is to invest in and grow strategies that have the potential to make the biggest positive impact on student outcomes,” KnowledgeWorks President and CEO Judy Peppler said. “We incubate innovation with the capital needed for big social change so these organizations can one day stand alone and scale proven strategies. We are tremendously proud of StriveTogether’s success and are confident they will continue to flourish independently.”

StriveTogether is the most recent KnowledgeWorks subsidiary to transition into an independent organization. KnowledgeWorks also incubated New Tech Network, which became an independent organization in 2014. Today, New Tech Network continues helping districts implement project-based learning.

Together with Living Cities, KnowledgeWorks launched StriveTogether in 2010 after seeing big results from investment in Cincinnati-based StrivePartnership, a cross-sector education collaborative focused on shining a light on disparities and closing achievement gaps. Today, StriveTogether supports the Cradle to Career Network, which includes 71 communities that are committed to improving education outcomes for every child. Together, the network connects 10,200 organizations and reaches 8 million students.

Based on lessons from Cincinnati and other communities like Dallas, Memphis, and Tacoma, StriveTogether developed a data-driven, collective impact approach to changing local education systems. Each community in the Cradle to Career Network works to improve six student outcomes along the cradle-to-career continuum: kindergarten readiness, early-grade reading, middle-grade math, high school graduation, college enrollment and degree/certification completion.

Nancy Zimpher of the State University of New York and one of the original founders of StriveTogether, will chair StriveTogether’s first board of directors. Additional board officers include Danae Davis of Milwaukee Succeeds and Tom Fry, managing partner at Dietel Partners. Former chairman and CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer will serve as an executive advisor to the board.

“StriveTogether’s growing Network would not be where it is today without KnowledgeWorks, which has been with us since the beginning,” Zimpher said. “We are deeply grateful for their continued support and the generosity of investors nationally whose support is certain to have a positive, lasting impact on educational outcomes for students in communities across the country. I look forward to working with our emerging Board and StriveTogether leadership as we work to realize measurable improvements for children and communities all across the country.”

Jeff Edmondson will continue to lead the independent StriveTogether as managing director along with Jennifer Blatz as deputy director and other leadership team members, including Kimberlin Butler, Colin Groth, Bridget Jancarz, Parvathi “Parv” Santhosh-Kumar and Brittany Speed.

KnowledgeWorks will continue to invest in the work of StrivePartnership in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky as its backbone organization.

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For more than 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together.