Family Success Alliance Awarded William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust Grant
ORANGE COUNTY, NC (July 6, 2018) – The Family Success Alliance (FSA) has been awarded a William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust Grant which will allow FSA to expand and enhance the Navigator Program. FSA is a collective impact initiative that is working to close the opportunity gap in Orange County, North Carolina.
FSA was founded in 2014 as a response to significant disparities in opportunities, health and achievement for children and families. The backbone staff is housed in the Orange County Health Department and the “Zone Navigators” are housed in local community-based organizations in the two zones where the work is focused: Empowerment, Inc. in Chapel Hill and Orange Congregations in Mission (OCIM) in Hillsborough.
Navigators are proven leaders in the community who were chosen to work with FSA based on their deep community roots and shared experience with families, both culturally and linguistically.
The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust Grant will allow FSA to increase its impact in the community by building the Navigator Program’s infrastructure and support. Currently, seven FSA Navigators partner with 120 students and their families. This grant enables FSA to hire a Manager of Family Engagement to support the navigators and build the core infrastructure required to add additional cohorts.
Orange County is one of the wealthiest counties in the state but also has great health and opportunity disparities. According to the health rankings, the number of children in poverty in Orange County varies widely by race, with 4 percent of white children living in poverty, 32 percent of Hispanic children and 25 percent of black children. Sixty-nine percent of children born into poverty will remain there through adulthood unless there is systemic change. Families lack equal access to jobs, housing, mental health care, and other vital resources. Community leaders and agencies join together on the FSA Advisory Council to tackle these systems-level issues. The FSA initiative takes a two-generation approach to meeting students’ needs by making a steady stream of resources available to both parents and children. Ten non-profits prioritize programming for FSA families, and many others step up to meet their needs.
As one parent recently shared: “FSA is building trust with the community. This community has changed because people are now aware of what kind of programs are out there. For me things have improved by working with FSA because before I wouldn’t speak my mind or express myself, but now that FSA is here I can express myself and my concerns and my navigator can help me bring this to the attention of others.”
Three out of four FSA families say their social supports from family, friends and neighbors have increased, and 88 percent of FSA families deal with daily problems more effectively since joining FSA. UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development evaluation of the program shows that Navigators are an integral part of FSA planning and decision-making, bringing marginalized family and community voices to the forefront so that those who are closest to the pain are closest to the solution.