KConnect 101

KConnect is a complex system of teams and partners coming together to address the unacceptable disparities along the prenatal to career continuum in Kent County, Michigan. The following will provide a brief overview of who KConnect is, what we do, and how we can partner together to close achievement gaps.

KConnect Common Agenda and Roadmap

Ten years ago, Collective Impact was a new national movement – it was an idea focused on the concept that “together is better.” KConnect ultimately began as a dream to bring change to Kent county. With the help of FSG, a national consultancy, and feedback from the community, our prenatal to career common agenda and roadmap began to take shape. The newly created Common Agenda & Roadmap ultimately paved the way for the early formation of KConnect, its structure, including the vital support of the backbone, and the initial work that needed to get underway.


KConnect Structure

KConnect is made up of individuals and organizations that work to improve outcomes – at a systemic level – for children across the prenatal to career continuum. This network includes Workgroup members, supporters, funders, partners, the Board of Trustees, and the Accountability Partners Council (APC).

KConnect is more than a backbone staff that convenes and supports various Workgroups. It’s a collective of people who work in tandem to make lasting and sustainable change happen in our communities. This is done through exploring and sharing of data, defining and cultivating critical partnerships, and facilitating difficult, but necessary, conversations with a focus on elevating equity to the forefront.. KConnect as an organization is not at the center of this work – the focus is on the network of partners (see our Partners page) who are working together to ensure that all children in Kent County have a clear path to economic prosperity through quality education, family, and community support.

KConnect Workplan

We have eight success measures spanning the prenatal to career continuum, which the team of original Steering Committee members worked hard to identify in those early days. Since then we have all endeavored to find the critical levers of change (Indicators). We also have 27 Indicators that we believe will change our outcomes in a significant way if we get behind them. All of this is happening, not because of KConnect as an organization, but because of you, our extremely dedicated network that continues to move forward, challenge the status quo, and prioritize the interests of children and families above our own independent agendas.

This updated version of the Workplan visualizes the 27 “swim lanes” under each Success Measure that represent KConnect’s Indicators spanning the prenatal to career continuum. Indicators allow network members, and those new to KConnect, to easily identify where their time, talent, treasure, or organizational mission can best be leveraged. For example, individuals with a passion for Early Childhood can “jump into” the Born Healthy lane while those with expertise in higher education can focus on College Enrollment.

Accountability Partners Council

Writing on a wall with post its

Our Accountability Partners Council (APC) serves as the large convening space for all of KConnect’s network. It’s the only space where we bring ALL of the work together and make decisions collectively. It’s also the space where KConnect’s work gets shaped and refined in ways that no one might imagine individually or even within the singular workgroups.

The content that comes before the APC is developed within cross-sector workgroups. Strategies that elevate systemic coordination, alignment and innovation are presented by the Workgroups and the Align and Design Teams for feedback and affirmation from the broader network. In total, participants have three opportunities to vote throughout this process – twice as part of the group at their table and once on an individual ballot that is immediately tabulated and shared at the end of the meeting.

Want more information?

Contact Katie Hop, Director of Communications at khop@k-connect.org.