Norwalk ACTS was awarded the Norwalk Non-profit of The Year distinction from the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce. Norwalk ACTS implemented strategies aligning with its strategic plan, such as transitioning the Child Quality Indicator work into a newly restructured Norwalk Early Childhood Development Initiative, providing a day of Social Emotional Health Training for 18 Norwalk CBOs and 55 individuals, and developing data resources like the new Norwalk Data Dashboard and the Norwalk Workforce Development Referral Resource Guide.
Norwalk ACTS launched its Strategic Plan with a big bet to achieve its vision with a disciplined focus on community-level outcomes and its cornerstones.
Norwalk ACTS formed a public-private partnership with the City of Norwalk to help strengthen connection, collaboration, and alignment in workforce development.
- Norwalk ACTS participated in a rigorous annual assessment process by StriveTogether and advanced from a “sustaining partnership gateway” into the “systems change gateway.” Norwalk ACTS reorganized staff and added several new backbone positions to meet the rigorous requirements of the “systems change” milestone.
- Norwalk ACTS embarked on a six-month collective process to redesign its mission and vision to reflect its focus better, ensuring Norwalk is a connected community where all children and youth are thriving from cradle to career.
- The Community Advocate model was piloted with 12 Community Advocates. The program has become a hallmark of Norwalk ACTS’s community engagement efforts.
Norwalk ACTS participated in a rigorous annual assessment process by StriveTogether and advanced from a “sustaining partnership gateway” into the “systems change gateway.” Norwalk ACTS reorganized staff and added several new backbone positions to meet the rigorous requirements of the “systems change” milestone.
At the height of the pandemic, Norwalk ACTS developed an essential COVID-19 resource card mailed to all Norwalk residents and teamed up with the City to provide a standing social service provider call. The Norwalk ACTS data team provided the City with detailed data mapping to identify locations for mobile food distribution sites to reach children and families most in need.
Founding executive director Anthony Allison retired, passing the torch of passion, commitment, and relational connectivity to carry on.
Responded to the call for racial justice by engaging Thought Partner Solutions (TPS) in a yearlong relationship to work with Norwalk ACTS and its members on readiness for change.
Jennifer Barahona was hired as Norwalk ACT’s new CEO. Norwalk ACTS received its 501c3 status, gained organizational independence, and developed all the policies, structures, and systems necessary to thrive as a stand-alone non-profit organization.
Norwalk ACTS moved out from its original anchor organization, Stepping Stones Museum for Children, into its own space as part of a movement towards organization independence. The organization applied and was granted an invitation to StriveTogether’s Social Emotional Expert Convening in San Antonio. In March, the 2018 Impact Report was released.
Norwalk ACTS’ Membership signed an updated Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), signifying its commitment to the partnership, Norwalk ACTS’ mission, the principles of Collective Impact, and the StriveTogether methodology.
All six of Norwalk ACTS’ original Community Action Networks (CANs) acknowledged that working within the context of summer could impact outcomes across the cradle to career continuum. Instead of each CAN building action plans around summer separately, Norwalk ACTS launched TEAM Summer — a partnership of summer learning providers and community members, working together to ensure that our city’s children are learning, experiencing, and discovering during the summer months.
Norwalk ACTS published its baseline report, presenting our community with a snapshot of what Norwalk looks like today – its population as a whole and the students attending the Norwalk Public Schools. This report enabled the Membership to separate the data into constituent parts, identify trends, and persistently align priorities, activities, and existing resources.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children was chosen as the Anchor Entity for Norwalk ACTS. Norwalk ACTS moved from a full volunteer operation to a staffed organization, and became one of 53 communities within the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network to be designated as a community “Committed to Quality.”
StriveTogether facilitated a Design Institute for the Norwalk ACTS Membership. The Institute provided Norwalk ACTS with the tools necessary to develop its first 180-Day Plan.
Norwalk ACTS adopted the principles of Collective Impact and the methodology of StriveTogether. Norwalk ACTS contracted with StriveTogether to assist with the development of a civic infrastructure and a cradle-to-career roadmap to success.
The Norwalk ACTS strategic planning team was introduced to the concept of Collective Impact and the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network. The underlying premise of Collective Impact is that no single organization can create large-scale, lasting social change alone.
The Norwalk ACTS membership adopted a three-year strategic plan that established community outcome areas of focus.
The Norwalk ACTS membership grew quickly, and its core team—the Mayor, School Superintendent, Executive Director of the Norwalk Children’s Foundation, Chair of the NAACP, Chair of the Early Childhood Council, President of the Teacher’s Union, and President of Norwalk Community College—developed a strategic plan to help close the student achievement gap in Norwalk.