Publications & Research

Supporting Student Success Together

In 2021, in response to the long-standing high rates of college student basic needs insecurity that were exacerbated by the pandemic, College Futures Foundation funded 5 community-based organizations (CBOs) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire, Rise Student Navigator Network, OneFuture Coachella Valley, Braven, and United Way Bay Area – partnering with California higher education institutions to provide holistic student supports. College Futures then engaged Education Northwest, an education research and evaluation firm, in a learning project to examine the capacities, conditions, and strategies necessary to form successful partnerships between CBOs and higher education institutions.

Drawing on interviews with CBO grantees, institutional partners, and student participants, Education Northwest established a framework to organize and offer perspectives on ways to develop CBO-institutional partnerships. The framework delineates the conditions for and impacts of effective student support partnerships with CBOs, offering strategies for partnership initiation and sustainability. Recommendations are also provided to help higher education institutions, advocates and policymakers, and funders better understand their respective roles in bolstering successful CBO-institutional partnerships.

“Through our direct partnerships with CBOs – and as evident in this research – we learned the next-level impact CBO-institutional partnerships can have on supporting learners, shifting mindsets, and influencing policy,” says Elizabeth González, chief program and strategy officer at College Futures. “The value of effective cross-sector partnerships is clear and the strategies for partnership development gleaned through this learning engagement will continue to inform our work to advance learner-centered innovations, align postsecondary education for economic mobility, and reimagine education for the future of work.”


Read the Executive Summary

Access the Report, Map, and Case Studies from Education Northwest




This piece is a part of our new monthly series, Learning from Yesterday, Reimagining Tomorrow. This series will bridge the learnings and results from previous work with our new strategic framework. We’ll feature past projects, highlighting what we’ve learned and celebrating impact. As we look to realize our new mission and our commitment to DEI, we’ll also share current questions we’re exploring, change ideas we’re researching, and insights gained along the way. Join us as we learn from yesterday to reimagine tomorrow.