Edgewater Collective began in March 2013 out of a desire to rally the Edgewater community around its schools. Local pastor Joel Newton organized the Edgewater Art Walk along with community partners and realized there were community assets in Edgewater that could be connected to the needs within the local public schools.
So in November 2013, Joel left his pastor job to work full-time for Edgewater Collective and strategize how to best invest in our local schools and families. Though Joel worked as pastor, it was important to position Edgewater Collective as a “common good” organization instead of a faith-based organization. Edgewater Collective is committed to working with anyone who wants to see thriving schools and families.
Spring 2013 was devoted to beta testing a couple of projects to see what worked in the Edgewater community. The Reading Buddy project was started to train volunteers to help 1st-3rd grade students read. Math Mentors were also trained to help 3rd-6th grade students develop their math skills. Edgewater Collective also partnered with Jefferson High School to organize the Saint Tank competition where high school students competed for funds to start their own business in Edgewater.
As these projects developed and relationships were built with the local schools, Joel realized the need for a greater collective impact initiative around creating a cradle to career pathway for children in the greater Edgewater area. Many of the children who attend Edgewater schools and funnel into Jefferson High School live in north Lakewood and south Wheat Ridge. So Edgewater Collective widened its circle of influence to also focus on the communities that bordered Edgewater.
Also, in the spring of 2013, it was determined by the leadership of local networking group, Greater Edgewater Community Connection (GECC) that the organization would transition to become part of Edgewater Collective. We are so thankful for the leadership of GECC since its inception and hope to build on this great foundation of collaboration.
As this cradle to career pathway develops, Edgewater Collective will transition to be the backbone organization for these collective impact efforts. We will be transitioning our beta projects like Reading Buddies and Saint Tank to local groups that can take these projects to the next level. Our focus will be on building this cradle to career pathway and connecting various organizations and groups behind this effort.
Edgewater Collective is currently part of the Exploring Communities stage of development with national network Strive Together. Our goal is to learn from their best practices around developing a cradle to career pathway. Strive Together Networks are currently in 37 states and are seeing increased student outcomes as a result of their efforts.
During the summer of 2014, the leadership structure for the cradle to career pathway will be developed and long-term funding for the initiative will be sought.
For more on the role of a backbone entity in collective impact movements, read this article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Value of Inclusion and Diversity
We are a common good organization which strives to be inclusive of all and value the beauty of diversity.
We welcome all who want to invest in the next generation. It is our hope to offer equal opportunity to all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, gender identifications, abilities, incomes, marital statuses and ages in all levels of staff and governance.