Systems Change Designation

Feb 19, 2024 | Cradle to Career Team, Events, News, Press

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s Cradle to Career Partnership Designated “Systems Change” Member in StriveTogether Network

 Tucson, Ariz. (February 13, 2024) – At an event held today at the University of Arizona’s College of Education, the Cradle to Career Partnership (C2C), anchored at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, announced its elevation in joining an elite group of other StriveTogether communities across the nation with the “Systems Change” designation. This designation signifies an important step forward in C2C’s mission to drive transformative change in Pima County’s education landscape. StriveTogether, a renowned national network of community partnerships, recognized C2C’s exceptional commitment to fostering systemic change that benefits youth, particularly those from marginalized communities.

At the event, C2C leadership and team members joined Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, to hear from Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO of StriveTogether, who then officially designated C2C as a Systems Change member.  Melissa Hernandez, associate vice president of the C2C Partnership, received the designation on behalf of the C2C Partnership.

Since its inception in 2016, C2C has been a trailblazer in championing positive outcomes for individuals throughout Pima County. With its partnership with StriveTogether, C2C reinforces its dedication to revolutionizing educational systems across the region, setting a precedent for innovative collaboration and impactful change. C2C’s impact spans far and wide and has positively impacted the lives of over 36,286 individuals since its inception. This remarkable figure stands as a testament to the dedication and collaborative efforts of C2C and its partners in uplifting and empowering the greater Tucson community.

The Systems Change designation acknowledges the partnership’s efforts in driving system-wide transformation. By embedding changes within the community and its institutions, C2C is paving the way for permanent shifts in policies, practices, resources, and power structures. This transformative approach leads to better outcomes for youth, especially those from historically underserved communities.

Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO of StriveTogether, lauded C2C’s exceptional achievements, emphasizing, “It was evident to the panel that these accomplishments, and others, would not have been possible without C2C as a critical convener committed to evidence-based decision-making.”  Hernandez added, “This important recognition belongs to the dedicated and hard-working team here at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona who continue to pour their lives into effecting positive change for young people in our community, and especially those who are underrepresented.  We are so proud of this team.”

As C2C embarks on this new chapter, it remains steadfast in its commitment to driving meaningful change and fostering a brighter future for all individuals in Pima County. Organizations and businesses across the region are collaborating in innovative ways to remove barriers, signaling a ripe opportunity for transformation.

Read coverage in the Arizona Daily Star Here.