As a collective impact network, Future Ready Collier (FRC) consistently explores strategies to enhance its capacity and community involvement. FRC has historically worked through committees, made up of network members, to pursue its overall objectives of helping all students be kindergarten-ready, have a plan for education and career after high school, and flourish on the continuum of learning and growth in between those milestones. Expanding these committees, called Goal Groups, and engaging FRC network members to lead their efforts, is central to FRC’s ongoing evolution and work.
Collective Impact and Collaborative Action
The case study published through Future Ready Collier in 2021, An Assessment of Collective Impact, credits the presence of true collaboration as contributing to FRC’s success. Over 60 organizations unite to help Collier County students thrive. Individual representatives of network participants volunteer to share leadership roles. Goal Group co-chairs work together, with some administrative help from Champions For Learning as FRC’s backbone organization, to convene meetings, promote common agendas, and ensure the timely consideration of relevant projects.
Future Ready Collier Goal Groups
FRC currently hosts three Goal Groups: Early Development, School Success, and College and Career Success. School Success is the most newly established of the three, only formally launching in the fall of 2021, but reflects FRC’s appreciation for students’ entire educational experience. Goal Group co-chairs represent a diverse cross-section of the FRC network, and have each individually been involved in committee membership and FRC meetings. Co-chairs affirm their commitment to the importance of their involvement.
Bob Spano is the Vice President of Programs at Guadalupe Center, a 5-year participant with FRC, and a co-chair of the new School Success Goal Group. He comments about the essential role the Goal Groups play in promoting FRC’s overall work, saying, “They are pulling in all agencies to work together so our students, especially the students who need this support the most, are all provided with pathways to success.” Michelle Starr, Pre-Kindergarten Coordinator for Collier County Public Schools, and a co-chair for Early Development who has been involved with FRC for 7 years, echoes Bob’s sentiments in saying, “I felt it was important… to continue to help carry out the collective improvement goals. The members of the group bring an incredibly wide breadth of knowledge and help problem-solve for current and projected issues. I feel that the mission of our Future Ready Collier community provides the ‘village’ needed to help raise our children in a sustainable format.”
Lisa Morse is Director of Community Engagement District Initiatives for Collier County Public Schools, and an originating representative for the District with FRC as the network was just forming. As a School Success co-chair, Lisa expresses her support for the shared leadership that drives FRC, stating, “I think it is important for those of us who are involved in creating this collective impact to take leadership roles in order to make the work our own.” Bob Spano agrees with the need to jointly assume the tasks of leadership. He comments, “I am hopeful that I can contribute by keeping the group together, keeping everyone informed, and moving forward towards our goals.”
Alex Breault, Director of Talent Initiatives for the Greater Naples Chamber, and John Monda, Assistant Director of Lorenzo Walker Technical College, share responsibility for the College and Career Goal Group, and both link their involvement to FRC’s larger role in the community. Specific to the Chamber’s membership with FRC, Alex emphasizes the need “to bring back information of this work to disseminate within the business community. Also, being the co-chair of the College and Career Group, it is important we are helping to develop the right workforce needed for employers tomorrow while ensuring students are reaching their full potential to be economically self-sufficient for their future.”
Of his desire to serve as co-chair, John shares, “I have had the opportunity to collaborate and work with the various post-secondary educational institutions, critical community organizations and associations, as well as influential employers in Southwest Florida needed to provide support and leadership to the mission of ensuring the college and career success of young people in our local communities.” It is through these kinds of collaborative connections that FRC’s work is amplified and effectuated.
Join the Work of Future Ready Collier
FRC regularly welcomes new organizations into its membership. This is intentional, to ensure that Southwest Florida is broadly represented, and that all children reap the benefit of the community-wide work. Any organizations new to FRC are invited to learn more. Meetings are held throughout the year. Goal Groups, through priority teams concentrated on specific subjects, meet in between formal meetings to continue the conversations, connection, and work. As the statements of the co-chairs indicate, this network is founded in cooperation, and succeeds through that willing collaboration.
Goal Group co-chairs include:
Prepared by Caroline Ridgway of C1B1 Communications