For decades, Children’s Aid and Phipps Neighborhoods have supported the success of children and families in the high-needs South Bronx community as two leading multi-service agencies. While proud of the impact we have made in the lives of thousands of individual children and families, we have not yet achieved the large-scale social impact required to revitalize this once vibrant community. With a shared vision and an understanding that all community stakeholders need to collaborate in a deeper way to achieve scale, Phipps Neighborhoods and Children’s Aid partnered in 2014 to launch South Bronx Rising Together (SBRT), a collective impact initiative.
SBRT is a community-wide effort composed of more than 150 cross-sector partners committed to building pathways to success “from cradle-through-college-and-career” by employing data-driven decision making to align efforts, leverage resources, and create an easily navigable continuum of care in Bronx Community District 3 (CD3), our target geographic region. Now in our third year, we have built foundational trust in the community, developed strong relationships, and made significant progress towards advancing our core goals. SBRT is focused on building capacity within our backbone team, with partners, and sustaining its infrastructure. We know there is still a great deal more to do to realize the community’s shared image of a South Bronx that is once again a community of infinite opportunity where people aspire to live, work, and raise families.
In Bronx Community District 3, generational poverty is insistent, educational achievement is insufficient, and unemployment is willfully high. CD3, which is situated within the poorest congressional district in the country, is home to more than 84,000 residents – 36,000 of whom are under age 24. These young people face seemingly insurmountable odds from early on in their lives, as more than 83% are born into poverty and fewer than half of three- and four-year-olds are enrolled in early education programs. As they transition to school, adolescence, and early adulthood, the outcomes only worsen for too many of them. 30.9% of third-graders read below grade level and only 13% of adults have earned a four-year college degree. The unemployment rate for residents 16 and older is 7.8% – double the national average, and 50% higher than NYC's average.
Yet, despite these vast and diverse challenges, the South Bronx has a rich history with a robust group of community partners providing critical support and services to engaged community members that are committed to its success. There is a tremendous amount of existing capacity in the region to be connected and leveraged in support of children’s success. Through ongoing conversations with residents, community leaders, service providers, educators, and others, we developed a vision statement, defined a strategy and articulated seven key goals that lead to success for all of our children and youth, from cradle through college and career.