Westchester Children’s Association and Karen Pittman Make the Case for Collective Impact

2015 Advocacy Breakfast and Kathryn Wasserman Davis Child Lecture

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Advocates, educators, parents and supporters of Westchester’s children were in attendance at Westchester Children’s Association annual Advocacy Breakfast to hear Karen Pittman, Co-Founder, CEO and President of the Forum for Youth Investment deliver the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Child Advocacy Lecture and make the case for why collective impact works.

Ms. Pittman is a leader in the field of youth development and an expert on the collective impact model.  In the past, she worked with the Urban Institute, Children’s Defense Fund, the Academy for Educational Development, and President Clinton’s Crime Prevention Council.  Karen has written three books, is a regular columnist for Youth Today, and sits on the boards of America’s Promise and Youth Build USA.

Westchester Children’s Association invited Ms. Pittman to speak because WCA is embarking on a plan to bring that model to scale in Westchester.  Collective impact is defined as the dynamic process of a group of actors from different sectors committing themselves to a shared agenda in order to solve a particular social problem.

In her remarks, Ms. Pittman used the analogy of the backpack to help attendees visualize where kids would place the tools they need to survive and succeed.  She said, “Imagine a young person placing positive behaviors and skills into this backpack which they can take wherever they go in life.”  She also talked about readiness (for life) as being a right – not a privilege.

After Ms. Pittman’s presentation, representatives from other organizations using collective impact talked about how this model has worked in their spheres.  Responders included Cheryl Hunter-Grant of the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, Annie Huang of Yonkers Thrives and Susan Schefflein of United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

Bringing collective impact to our work in Westchester “holds a lot of promise,” said WCA’s executive director Cora Greenberg.  She went on to say, “WCA is committed to working with community partners to make transformative change for children and youth.”

Media Contact: Joan Grangenois-Thomas, media@wca4kids.org.