Through a series of contracts with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF), Altarum Institute developed a set of resources to support, monitor, and evaluate Smart Beginnings Coalitions. VECF funds 24 local coalitions throughout the state of Virginia to develop and implement strategic plans focused on improving early childhood systems covering the full range of services and resources that support families in their efforts to successfully raise children so they enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn.
Altarum has worked with VECF to enhance the foundation’s efforts by doing the following:
- Conducting a literature review on effective coalitions;
- Conducting interviews with Smart Beginnings coordinators throughout Virginia and with representatives from other state-level entities around the country that provide support to community coalitions focused on early childhood to understand their perspective on how best to support community coalitions;
- Developing guides to conducting community assessments and strategic planning for planning grantees;
- Developing research based tools for both planning and implementation grantees that are designed to help them become effective coalitions; and
- Developing a monitoring and evaluation process that VECF can use to assess the strengths and weaknesses of grantees at all stages of development.
Altarum’s partnership with VECF has helped enhance the foundation’s efforts to improve early childhood systems in Virginia and strengthened Altarum’s capacity to support community coalitions.