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In July 2018, the Vital Village Network selected 10 local communities to form the first Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing Learning Community (NOW LC). The NOW LC supports peer networks to address barriers and develop innovative community partnerships aimed at improving the early childhood experience.

Between 2018 and 2020, the NOW Learning Community will support the 10 selected communities to build critical knowledge, skills, and tools to scale and sustain equitable transformation of early childhood, education, and health systems in their neighborhood, city, or county. Each recipient will receive in-depth and tailored technical assistance in key capacity-building areas — such as utilizing equity tools and frameworks, mobilizing community leaders, using data and storytelling tools, and communicating with diverse stakeholders — to build a strong and healthy foundation for all children and families.


These include capacities and skills to:

  • Utilize equity and trauma-informed tools and frameworks

  • Mobilize community leaders and engage a broad group of stakeholders

  • Use data and storytelling tools to tell the story of their work and impact, using both qualitative and quantitative methods

  • Build and strengthen their relationships with local and state policy stakeholders

  • Develop an action plan to grow and sustain their innovation over time


Partner organizations supporting the NOW Learning Community include BMC Vital Village Network, Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Children’s HealthWatch, and National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families (NLC). These partners have wedded their complementary skillsets, resources, and networks to provide technical assistance and guidance to the NOW LC cohort.

The NOW LC is also supported by the HOPE (Harnessing Opportunity for Positive, Equitable Early Childhood Development) Consortium funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The HOPE Consortium includes BMC Vital Village Network, the BUILD Initiative, and the Nemours Children's Health System. The HOPE Consortium provides opportunities for the NOW LC to learn from Nemours’ and the BUILD Initiative’s expertise in working with state leaders, cross-sector governance teams, and policymakers. In partnership with NOW, the HOPE Consortium will co-design innovative approaches to link community- and state-level efforts through: (1) feedback loops for ongoing and effective communication between community leaders, families, and policymakers; (2) the use of data and design of data systems to highlight inequities and promote cross-sector alignment; and (3) systems alignment and shared governance processes that authentically partner with community members and coalitions.

NOW LC communities will also be supported by six coalitions invited to serve as Mentors-in-Residence:

  • The California Consortium for Equity in Early Care and Education (California)

  • The Consortium for Resilient Young Children (Ohio and Kentucky)

  • Opportunity Knocks for Middletown’s Young Children Community Collaborative (Connecticut)

  • Somerville Community Cabinet — SomerBaby (Massachusetts)

  • West Philadelphia Action for Early Learning and partners: Drexel University, Health Federation of Philadelphia, and Public Citizens for Children and Youth (Pennsylvania)

Finalists were selected through a rigorous, multi-part review process and from a robust pool of 139 applicants from across the country. Participants in the 2018-2020 NOW Learning Community include the following, listed by coalition name, backbone organization, and location:

Austin Neighborhood Network

Austin Coming Together, United Way of Metro Chicago

Chicago, Illinois


Berkeley Early Education and Care Collective

Berkeley County First Steps

Berkeley County, South Carolina


Essex County Council for Young Children

Programs for Parents, Inc

Newark, New Jersey


Family Engagement Network

First Things First, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

Pima County, Arizona

Generations Forward Children's Collaborative

The Opportunity Council, Whatcom County Health Department

Whatcom County, Washington

McKinley County Early Childhood Coalition

Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment

Navajo Nation, New Mexico


Moving Ahead, Adelante!

Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, Jefferson County Public Health

Jefferson County, Colorado


Linking Immigrant Families with Early Childhood Education (LIFE)

The New York Immigration Coalition

New York City, New York


Voices and Choices for Children Coalition

Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota

Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota


Young Child Wellness Council

Child Development Resources, The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The NOW Innovation Network will help accelerate the progress of local communities by offering opportunities for peer learning, tailored technical assistance, and equity-guided content and skill expansion, resulting in more effective action planning, collaboration, and implementation to achieve improved systems alignment. The NOW Learning Community will use these resources and strategies and promote peer-to-peer learning on how to use a trauma-informed lens to address the impact of childhood adversity and adverse community environments on wellbeing, health, and educational equity.

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