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Project HOPE: Engaging the community’s voice in systems-level change

Project HOPE (Harnessing Opportunity for Positive, Equitable Early Childhood Development), funded by a $3 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, works to ensure equitable access to health services and healthy development opportunities for children under age 5 and their families by partnering with states and local organizations to work on policies and programs that result in systems-level change. 

Project HOPE

A critical aspect of Project HOPE is ensuring all stakeholder voices are heard whenever and wherever new strategies, policies or programs are created. The goal of any change or improvement is to eliminate barriers such as transportation issues and application redundancies so that families can access critical services like workforce development, health care and social-emotional support that impact well-being. To this end, cross-sector teams and local coalitions in the four HOPE states (Florida, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Washington) have been bringing key stakeholders and community members together to dialogue about issues and co-design actionable and sustainable plans together. 

In Florida, teams are co-creating strategies to address social-emotional development and increase child developmental screening. In New Jersey, teams are working on health and childcare strategies that intersect with the workforce. The focus in Oklahoma is on building a stronger feedback loop through story-gathering, while teams in Washington are working to expand “Help Me Grow” across the state.

“We need to stop looking at communities as deficits; instead uplifting and highlighting the ways in which the talents and passions of community residents can be core to solutions.”

Nicole Martin-Bynum, TOUCCH, Inc., 
Project HOPE Community Partner