Realizing Aspirations as Media and Philanthropy Connect with SPIRE CoLab

Realizing Aspirations as Media and Philanthropy Connect with SPIRE CoLab

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Deborah Gauvreau, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

Educated communities mean a stronger future for everyone. But the statistics are troubling: 67 percent of children nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families are not proficient readers by the end of third grade — leading a raft of long-term negative consequences for everyone.

To reverse the current potentially catastrophic trends in reading proficiency, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading aspire to achieve improvements in our community's reading proficiency focusing on five solution areas: School Readiness, Absenteeism, Summer Learning, Family Engagement, and Health.

A community-wide approach from all sectors is needed to ignite and embed change: businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, people (especially parents), and media; media can help us connect to parents.

The Patterson Foundation and the Herald-Tribune Media Group created SPIRE CoLab to engage parents and other community members to take action on relevant issues related to the CGLRs five focus areas.

The Patterson Foundation has learned that for aspirations to be realized, shifts in thinking and action are required including:


  • Focus on community goals instead of the issues.



  • Engaging people, organizations, and communities to work together instead of enabling the perpetuation of challenges.



  • Building systems that create a thriving synergistic whole instead of working in isolation.



  • Focusing on results of actions taken rather than counting outputs that may or may not lead to desired improvements.


With these shifts, we can more effectively realize our community aspirations.

SPIRE CoLab has been designed to advance movement to achieve results, and here is how:

Issues to Aspirations – SPIRE CoLab's work is to turn attention from problem-focus to cohesive community desires by creating new methods and innovative practices that spur community engagement and action to achieve better outcomes. One innovative practice of SPIRE CoLab is to be a syndicator — meaningful and customizable story packages about successful CGLR strategies at work locally can be customized and then used by media partners throughout the United States.

Enabling to Engaging – SPIRE CoLab's intention is to be a motivator, drawing upon the power of transmedia storytelling to motivate audiences to engage and drive community change. The SPIRE CoLab was developed to engage communities to take action on relevant issues by sharing a more complete story, providing depth of information and opportunities that inspire people to take action. Engaging people, organizations, and communities in solutions-based ways is at the heart of SPIRE’s work, paving the way for community thought leaders to raise awareness, achieve participation, and align action.

Silos to Systems - To dissolve barriers of organizations and communities working independently, SPIRE aims to communicate in ways that weave people, organizations, and communities together to advance the practices and intentions in effective strategies of CGLR. SPIRE does this by building and sharing relevant multimedia packages, engagement practices, and resources with media organizations across the country.

Outputs to Outcomes – The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading seek to reverse negative trends in our educational system while applying strategies to amp up the five solution areas. Improved outcomes in reading proficiency are the goal with the application of the vast opportunities to connect and share via the active engagement of media.

To contact Deborah:

Join Deborah on Twitter: @DeborahGauvreau

Join Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading on Twitter: @SuncoastCGLR

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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