ROC the Future Alliance is a collective impact initiative bringing together a coalition of partners working towards a shared vision of academic success for every child.  We are a member of the StriveTogethercradle to career network, a national movement impacting the lives of more than 14 million youth and counting. Our efforts are currently focused on improving outcomes via our Whole Child Initiative, Parent/Family Partner (PFP) Engagement and High School Graduation Outcome Team.  

Our Mission 

ROC the Future is an alliance of over 60 leading Rochester-area institutions and community partners that promotes alignment of community resources to improve the academic achievement of Rochester’s children.  We will achieve this using a collective impact approach. No one individual, organization or business can accomplish significant change by themselves. By working together, funders, providers, and staff are focused on a common agenda. Our efforts are based on evidence-based practice and measured by ROC the Future Annual Report CardsCollectively, we can and will create opportunities for success for every child, from cradle to career 

Our Goals 

  1. Every child is School Ready (prepared for school).  
  2. Every Child is Supported (with every opportunity to reach their full potential)  
  3. Every Child is Successful (in school and achieves on time high school graduation)  
  4. Every Child is College & Career Ready (prepared for college, training, a career and success in life)  

Whole Child Initiative 

The Whole Child Initiative seeks to reimagine the way systems provide services to families in our community. Through the Whole Child Initiative, re-imagined systems, sectors, and professionals adopt a whole-child, parent-led, anti-racist, family, and community-voice centered, cross-sector way of supporting the development of prenatal to age eight children, while avoiding unintended fragmentation of existing initiatives. The Whole Child Initiative prioritizes an anti-racist, equity, and justice-based framework as the foundation to systems transformation. To build this cultural framework in the Whole Child system, our goal is to eliminate implicit, explicit, and systemic biases. We respect people as individuals, not as “others”. We also refocus on the strengths, not the deficits of systems and sectors.  

We intend to replace silos within the system with an integrated, cross-sectional whole child health system. We analyze the structure across health, education and human services while also looking to find connections to reduce or eliminate systemic barriers for families that are moving across all the systems. We improve access to services, repair fractures, and fill in gaps in services. By simplifying the system, we make it easier to navigate. 

The Whole Child Initiative stems from the reality that young children and their families are not a priority in the United States, New York State, or the Rochester community. For decades children and families, as well as those that serve them, have endured a lack of persistent public investment and coherent policy informed by families which has resulted in persistently poor child outcomes. The Whole Child Initiative asserts that it does not have to be this way! Other states and many other communities do better. Rochester’s shameful ranking as a national leader in child poverty and poor academic performance persists generation after generation as the systems established to attend to health, education, social services and economic security of children and their families are often deficit thinking and fail to change and improve to meet their needs measurably and sustainably. Change initiatives targeting Rochester’ children have failed to produce needed broad and impactful improvements in our health, education, and human services systems – collectively and independently. The culture and operation of these systems are often felt by too many Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) children and families to be lacking, siloed, inaccessible, impersonal, racist, and disrespectful. In fact, families with second language learners often enter our systems with a perceived linguistic and cultural disadvantage and often feel punished instead of nurtured. Stereotyping and “othering” of Rochester’s children and families is rampant, as are predictably disparate outcomes on essential indicators of child development reflecting racism; implicit, explicit, and systemic biases. Moreover, parents and family members, who are experts in knowing the processes that are working and the areas that need overhaul, have been left out of decision-making spaces, which has specifically contributed to these failures.  

Opportunity and Who We are Looking For 

This model of evaluation seeks to be different deliberately by including parents and family partners in the process of evaluation. Roc the Future Alliance’s Whole Child initiative is seeking an evaluation support team to assist with the creation and implementation of a data evaluation plan. The evaluation support team will work closely and in partnership with our: Whole Child Parent Family Partners (PFPs), System Partners, Whole Child Outcome Team, and Whole Child Implementation Workgroup Members. The evaluation support team will be experienced in enlisting community members as partners and will have experience with facilitation and coaching community members to lead participatory program evaluations. One of their first priorities will be to coordinate with the WCI backbone staff, system partners and parent family/partners to gather information to support the participatory evaluation design. They will also support the creation of goals that will address the “how” and “when” of initiative start-up, resulting in formative and process assessments using quantitative and qualitative data. Information produced from this design work will be utilized to provide an understanding of the steps, processes, and resources required to operationalize the WCI Initiative and move us from our year of planning and fully into our year of implementation. This evaluation support team will also help to ensure our Whole Child Initiative is utilizing a summative evaluation approach. 

Phases of the Initiative 

Training of PFPS 

Characteristics of the evaluation support team should include: 

  1. Past experience: It is essential that the evaluation support team has experience in participatory methods and preferred they have experience evaluating whole child initiatives in Rochester or cities with similar characteristics. 
  2. Parent centered: The evaluation support team should have a history of conducting research/evaluations where parents are seen as equal and full partners in the evaluation team.   
  3. The support team will create a culture of respect and humility that recognizes parents as lead evaluators and honors the decision-making authority of the parent evaluators. 
  4. Team composition: It is preferred that the evaluation support team include members of historically marginalized groups and/or those who have lived experience similar to the population the initiative aims to serve. The team should also have an in-depth understanding of systems transformation. 
  5. Community knowledge: The evaluation should be conducted through the construct and lens of Rochester’s culture and norms. If the evaluation support team does not already possess this community knowledge or is external to Rochester, they should demonstrate capacity and a clear plan of action to gain an authentic understanding of the Rochester community. If a non-local evaluation support team is selected, we strongly recommend they consult with local evaluators for context and guidance.  

Capacity building: The evaluation support team should have experience in building the capacity of participant evaluators, including providing training, coaching and ongoing technical assistance. The team should also utilize a data equity framework such as We All Count or similar. 

Whole Child Initiative Evaluation Support Team Proposal Questions 

Please provide written responses to the following, using no more than 5 pages for the entire narrative submission (excluding attachments) beginning July 1, 2023. Please respond to each of the inquiries below, about your ability to serve as the Whole Child Initiative Evaluator or Whole Child Initiative Evaluation Team.  

Utilize a participatory framework. 

Utilizing a participatory evaluation model will serve the project’s overall goals and ensure integrity of the project. The Initiative will bring on an evaluation support team that centers parent family partners through the assignment of active roles in both the evaluation design and process. This parent team will lead the development of insights about the project based on the information collected through the evaluation. Please describe how you will provide adequate support and coaching to this team as well as bring knowledge of best practices in evaluating whole child health outcomes at the community and systems level? 

Principles for conducting evaluation will include: 

  1. Diversity: Parents who serve as participant evaluators will reflect the full diversity of the families being served through the project. The project team and evaluation support team will identify key demographic groups to be represented. If all efforts have been exhausted to recruit a lead parent evaluator from a particular group, the team can then consider a representative who can serve as a proxy to engage other members of that group. 
  2. Inclusive: Parents and other key stakeholders will be full partners in the evaluation design, implementation and analysis. Their perspectives, expertise and lived experience will be invited, valued, prioritized and will directly shape the process. Evaluation norms will be established to  foster authentic engagement and the evaluation will offer a variety of ways to engage based on how much or how little time parents and key stakeholders can contribute. 
  3. Equity Focused: Equity, with an emphasis on racial equity, should be built into the overall process including the evaluation design and the outcomes we seek to measure through evaluation. Parents and other key stakeholders will be provided with the tools, training, technical assistance/coaching and ongoing support they need to be full partners in the evaluation. Power structures within the evaluation and project team should be assessed to build equitable partnerships. Compensation will be provided to parents participating on the evaluation team. 
  4. Transparent: The evaluation process and results will be communicated using lay language and translated into other languages as needed. Biases within the evaluation will be communicated to stakeholders. Conflicts of Interest should be avoided and/or declared at the start. 
  5. Innovative: The evaluation design will be innovative and go beyond the status quo. Parent evaluators will have the freedom to design culturally engaging methods and tools to engage their respective communities. The evaluation support team will assist parents in developing data capture and storage protocols that allow analyses across groups and methodologies. 
  6. Trust: Trust must be present between the evaluation team and the contracted evaluation support team. Protocols should be in place to repair trust if it is broken. 
  7. Systemic view: The evaluation should aim to measure both process and systems changes including evidence of progress toward systems change in the short-term; and develop a set of indicators that point to medium- and long-term systems change. 

Please describe how you would plan to support incorporating the aforementioned principles into the creation and initial implementation of the Whole Child data evaluation plan. How would you work with our parents, system partners and backbone staff to ensure that these values are reflected in the way our evaluation work is designed and conducted? 

Additional Information 

Please feel free to submit any additional information not covered above, but that you feel relevant to this proposal, within the 5-page limit.  

All submissions must include following attachments: 

  • Cv/resume 
  • Relevant articles, studies led, published materials. 
  • Proposed budget for support of plan creation and implementation 

Timeline and Process 

Release Date: June 9, 2023 

Questions due to Whole Child Initiative about RFP: June 23, 2023 

Written proposals submitted: August 4, 2023 

Clarification Period: August 7-11, 2023 

Decision: September 1, 2023 

Project Start Date: October 1, 2023 


Sara White Smith:  

Briana Peterson-Scott: