When nonprofit organizations take a step back to consider how to achieve impact, they often conclude that shaping the public conversation is their best bet. That’s exactly what happened when Impact Alamance, a new foundation that aims to make Alamance County, North Carolina, the best place to live and thrive, needed to make strategic decisions about how to approach grantmaking. The organization’s leaders knew they wanted to focus on strengthening the systems and environments that influence the region’s children, rather than expending limited resources on direct services. They also realized that building public awareness and will on children’s issues would be an essential part of a sustainable approach.
To achieve that goal, Impact Alamance teamed up with the FrameWorks Institute in 2015. This reflected another strategic choice, as FrameWorks’ existing knowledge base on the communications aspects of many children’s issues, including early development, child mental health, and education, allowed for an accelerated research process that met the needs of a new organization with only one chance to make a first impression.
FrameWorks senior researchers are investigating how Alamance County residents think about children’s issues, and discovering the best ways to start and sustain productive public conversations about how the county can ensure that children get a healthy, strong start in life. Emerging recommendations will be shared with local leaders, who can use them to build public understanding and explain related issues with greater clarity. Watch this space for forthcoming research reports, recommendations, and materials.
**New** Reframing Early Childhood Development and Learning in Alamance County (2016). This strategic report offers a "Core Story" narrative that advocates for children and families can use to improve outcomes in Alamance County, N.C. It is designed to advance public understanding and support for early childhood and learning programs and policies, which will promote healthy child development in Alamance County.