By Jill Morgan, Senior Director of Impact
As many of you know, MUW has recently made the transition to funding programs and initiatives that support its focus areas of children, education, financial stability and basic needs. Our new funding strategy aims to maximize the impact and positive outcomes we see in our region. We look to our agency program partners to help us achieve real change in our community.
Some of you might want to know the answer to this question: What is MUW doing to ensure that real change is happening?
One thing we’re doing is looking at the evidence-based and/or best practices in the field around a given strategy. In other words, we want to know what research is available to demonstrate that the selected strategy works to solve the problem at hand.
Let’s take MUW’s Impact Monadnock initiative, for example, which aligns with all of our focus areas. Impact Monadnock is working to ensure all children are prepared for academic, career and life success by bringing together teams of community members to work on issues affecting children and their families. Our project teams working in this area are:
- Pyramid Model Leadership Team – partnering with the NH Department of Education to provide training and coaching for early childhood programs around teaching strategies and classroom enhancements to improve social-emotional development in young children
- Monadnock Home Visiting Alliance – expanding the number of families with young children who are accessing quality home visiting services
- Business Ambassadors – working to increase the number of businesses implementing family-friendly workplace policies
We know that focusing on these things is going to help us achieve our goal because we’ve examined the research. There are many studies that recommend investments in child care quality improvement, professional development of the early childhood workforce, social-emotional instruction for children, early childhood home visiting services and workplace supports for parents. These studies identify these investments as key strategies of a systematic and coordinated early care and education system. The work of our project teams aligns with these evidence-based strategies. Some examples of institutions and organizations that have produced compelling research around this include:
- RAND Corporation
- Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Center for the Economics of Human Development at University of Chicago and The Heckman Equation
We have provided training and technical support for our nonprofit partners and for our volunteer investment teams around the importance of understanding the evidence and research behind a selected strategy to demonstrate program effectiveness. We know that if we are selecting strategies proven to work, we will achieve our goal of long-lasting and positive change for all members of our Monadnock Region community.