Vaughn and Lawrence chosen to present at Collective Impact Convening

LaTisha Vaughn

Amanda Lawrence, TUW

TCCC’s LaTisha Vaughn and Trident United Way’s Amanda Lawrence have been chosen to present at the 2020 Collective Impact Convening event May 6-8, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN. Their proposal, addressing “authentic engagement,” was chosen by the Collective Impact Forum from more than 120 submitted proposals.

Vaughn and Lawrence submitted and were chosen to present their session, entitled “Engaging vs. Engagement” which explores the differences between “planning for” versus “planning with” a community that has its own lived experiences.

“For too long, organizations, although well intended, have planned for communities instead of planning with communities to solve problems,” said LaTisha Vaughn, TCCC’s Director of Networks.

“Communities of need do not lack insight into their barriers, challenges or solutions, they lack critical connections and resources to be able to effectively create and implement solutions.”

Planning with communities in need ensures that critical insight and first-hand, lived experiences lead to the right issues or barriers being tackled. It ensures the community is empowered to find solutions that work for them rather than an organization supporting a pre-determined and uninformed solution for a community.

Vaughn and Lawrence’s presentation will also explore tools and techniques to ensure authentic community engagement, creating initiatives using a lens of equity, and knowledge of what best practices work well and what roadblocks to avoid to maintain momentum for community engagement and improvement.

The Collective Impact Forum, an initiative of FSG and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, supports the efforts of those who are practicing collective impact in the field. This year’s Collective Impact Convening will build on the success of the 2019 convening in Chicago that sold out in advance and attracted more than 800 funders, backbone leaders, and other collective impact community partners.

Congratulations Vaughn and Lawrence!

Remember TCCC on Giving Tuesday

Imagine you had a child entering kindergarten unprepared. I don’t mean without a backpack, but without the basic skills of how to hold a pencil, color within the lines, or identify simple ABCs. Sadly, in the past two years alone, more than 9,000 of our area’s children arrived for their first day of kindergarten just like this – fully unprepared to begin what should be an exciting time in their lives.

A solid education that begins in kindergarten and continues through middle school, high school, college, and beyond will provide children with the tools they need to reach their full potential.  Unfortunately, for thousands of our region’s children, circumstances beyond their control create barriers to education success. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way.

At Tri County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) we work to improve the odds for our children so they have a chance to succeed. By partnering as a community, aligning and leveraging resources, implementing transformative initiatives, and collectively working to change policies and systems that have created these barriers in the first place, we can make a difference and revolutionize the tri-county area. There is no better time to support this transformation than today, December 3, Giving Tuesday. 

Transformation is powerful and implies dramatic change is on the horizon. Not just any change, but the kind required to create equity in education that is necessary for all children to reach their full potential. Getting this right means our community will reap the benefits and our youth will be prepared for the 21st century workforce. This is the work of Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative.

As TCCC’s new CEO, I personally invite you to join the movement to ensure all our children are afforded an equal opportunity to succeed. Support TCCC on #GivingTuesday. Every donation, no matter how large or small, does make a difference.


Phyllis Martin


How To Donate to Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

  1. Through the StriveTogether Giving Tuesday 2019 campaign. Click on the orange Donate button, follow the prompts, and your contribution will come directly to us.

  2. On TCCC’s website donation page. Click on the yellow Donate button under Ways to Give and follow the prompts. You can donate on TCCC’s website anytime, not just on Giving Tuesday!

Academic Magnet High and Military Magnet Academy named champions of TCCC’s College Cash Campaign

Awards recognize schools’ efforts to build a college-going culture by
exceeding FAFSA completion goals

Academic Magnet High School and Military Magnet Academy have been named champions of Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s College Cash Campaign for increasing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) completion rates by at least 5 percentage points. Academic Magnet received “MVP” honors after leading the entire school district with 83 percent completion. Military Magnet’s 71 percent completion rate and its 9-percentage-point improvement from last year won them the “Most Improved” designation.

TCCC’s Future Ready Network launched the College Cash Campaign to provide support for tri-county high schools during the 2018-2019 school year, with the goal of increasing FAFSA completion and college enrollment rates. TCCC staff worked alongside school guidance counselors, administrators and teachers to build a college-going culture, host financial aid literacy workshops and outreach events, and provide FAFSA completion and college application assistance.

“Completing FAFSA is a pivotal part in many students’ decision to attend college because it tells them the Federal scholarships and grants to which they are already entitled,” said John C. Read, TCCC’s chief executive officer.  “We can do better as a community to encourage our students, particularly those who are in the greatest need, to take advantage of Federal and state supports for a postsecondary education.”

In 2019, only 52 percent of tri-county students filled out the FAFSA application, and even fewer students from high schools in low-income areas applied for financial assistance.

Filling out the FAFSA is the first step for students to access federal grants and loans as well as both state and institutional grants and scholarships. FAFSA funds can be used to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies.

The 2020–21 FAFSA form is now available for students to complete. Some states and schools have limited funds, so students should talk with their school’s guidance counselor or visit the FAFSA website at to apply as soon as possible.


TCCC launches CQI Initiative for local childhood service providers

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) and national consulting group Root Cause recently launched the Tri-County Continuous Quality Improvement Initiative to provide coaching and strengthen evidence-based results for seven local early childhood service providers.

With funding from The Duke Endowment, the initiative will take the seven participating organizations through a 12- to 15-month continuous quality improvement (CQI) process to collect, analyze and use data to improve the quality of services being delivered. Root Cause will help the providers strengthen their capacity to collect and use data and improve their programs, with the ultimate goal being to increase kindergarten readiness among children in the community.

“This CQI initiative is another step being taken to strategically align with the work of the Kindergarten Readiness Network convened by the Trident United Way and sponsored by TCCC, to achieve the goal that all children are ready for kindergarten regardless of race or zip code,” said Thetyka  Robinson, TCCC’s Director of Facilitation.

The organizations selected to participate in the CQI initiative are Communities in Schools Charleston; Father to Father, Inc.; Berkeley County First Steps; Charleston County First Steps; Dorchester County First Steps; Florence Crittenton; and PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy) Charleston. These organizations provide services in planned and well-timed pregnancies, healthy births, on-track development, school readiness by kindergarten and success by third grade, as well as other services.  The programs directly serve families in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and two other counties in South Carolina.

The goals of the CQI initiative are to help childhood service organizations build capacity to collect and use data in ways that go beyond compliance with funder requirements or other external performance standards; be intentional about clarity of vision, goals, and measurement; improve communication within and across teams; and create a culture that fosters learning and a spirit of inquiry.

TCCC announces Phyllis Martin as new CEO

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative announces the appointment of Phyllis Martin as its next chief executive officer (CEO).

Martin joins TCCC after three years as the vice president of Community Impact for the United Way of Northeastern Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. Prior to that, Martin served as the vice president of Impact Strategies for the United Way of Greenville County in Greenville, S.C. She is replacing John C. Read who has served as CEO for the past five years and had advised TCCC’s board one year ago of his intent to step down.

“I am very pleased that Phyllis has agreed to take the helm of our organization and continue the work to assure that every child, from cradle to career is able to succeed,” said TCCC Board Chair Anita Zucker.  “Phyllis’ experiences working in leadership positions for large, regional United Way organizations will serve her well in connecting with education stakeholders in the Lowcountry.”

Darrin Goss, CEO of Coastal Community Foundation who chaired the TCCC CEO search committee, said Martin stood out as someone with a distinctive ability to build lasting relationships throughout the community given her experience across multiple sectors.

Martin was elected CEO at the board meeting held October 16 and will also serve as a member of the board of directors. She will step into her new role effective November 18.

The 2019 Excellence in Mathematics Teaching award winners announced

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s (TCCC) Math Pathways Project Team (MPPT) announced the winners of the 2019 Excellence in Mathematics Teaching awards at a dinner celebration on Monday, October 14 at Charleston Southern University. To honor and recognize mathematics teachers and administrators who work tirelessly to train our future work force, MPPT recognized 38 nominees with 16 winners receiving a trophy and a financial award for professional development.

The event brought together 175 people, many of them math professionals from across the four county school districts serving the greater Charleston area, as well other professionals and family members who wanted to honors these teachers.

The keynote speaker was Marc Drews, Director of Strategic Partnerships, EdVenture Children’s Museum, and a past Mathematics teacher who began his career in the Charleston area. Other speakers included Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group Inc. and Chair of the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative Board of Directors; Jessica Jackson, Director of Global Engagement, The Boeing Company; Dr. Dondi Costin, President of Charleston Southern University; Dr. Karen Fonkert, Mathematics professor at Charleston Southern University; John Cooper, convener of TCCC’s Math Pathways Project Team, and John Read, CEO of TCCC.

The 2019 Excellence in Mathematics Teaching award winners and their award categories are listed below. Visit the event page for additional information on winners and nominees.

Jeremy Osborne (Elementary), Berkeley County School District

Jackie Danko (Middle School), Berkeley County School District

Accalia Bailey (High School), Berkeley County School District

Elizabeth Ball (Professional), Berkeley County School District

Sarah Coleman (Elementary), Charleston County School District

Cathy DeMers (Middle School), Charleston County School District

Jenell Riley (High School), Charleston County School District

Nicholas Reece (Professional), Charleston County School District

Melissa Odom (Elementary), Dorchester School District Two

Ariana Mitchell (Middle School), Dorchester School District Two

Ashley Jacobs (High School), Dorchester School District Two

Dr. Malia Dunn (Professional), Dorchester School District Two

Ivory Howard (Elementary), Dorchester School District Four

Rebecca Steedley (Middle School), Dorchester School District Four

Brittany Wright Sibert (High School), Dorchester School District Four

Nicole Bryant (Professional), Dorchester School District Four


Local student artist wins StriveTogether scholarship

TCCC CEO John Read congratulates Aileen Shi for winning a StriveTogether Art Inspires scholarship.

We’re excited to announce that Aileen Shi, a student artist in our community, has been selected for StriveTogether’s 2019 Art Inspires scholarship! As a winner of this national award, she’ll have her art displayed at StriveTogether’s Cincinnati headquarters.

Clicke here to take a look at her work and learn more about the StriveTogether Art Inspires winners. Congratulations Aileen!

Thank you to our summer interns

It has been such a pleasure to have Riley Haas and Caroline Vail as interns with Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative for eight weeks this summer. The interns came to TCCC as participants of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Student Leaders program.

Haas and Vail worked on a number of projects and brought a fresh perspective on how to reach students.

The Student Leaders program is a significant component of Bank of America’s commitment to strengthening the economic and social health of communities. At its core, Student Leaders is designed to help develop the next generation of community leaders.

Haas is senior this year at Academic Magnet High School. Within the school environment, Riley is a member of many service clubs and organizations, including Key Club, Freshmen Peer Mentoring and National Honor Society.

Vail is a senior at Porter-Gaud School. She is involved in cheerleading, drama productions, mock trial teams, Model United Nations and the Senior Leadership Council.


TCCC submits position statements on education reform to SC legislators

In response to a legislative request for input on education reform measures, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative sent South Carolina legislators its views on what goals and guiding principles must be in place for overhauling the state’s education system.

Legislation S419, which is under consideration by the Senate Education Committee, proposes several measures to improve education statewide, and the committee has asked for input from key education stakeholders. The SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA) Office also has sought comments on its May, 2019 Report on education funding reform.

TCCC recommends that legislators first establish a clear “Goal” statement for public education that goes beyond the “Profile of the South Carolina Graduate” by adding clearly defined achievement goals for education attainment as well as progress measures to assure that students receive a college- or career-ready education.

TCCC also identifies what it believes are the critical elements necessary for the successful achievement of an education goal, including equitable funding, effective leadership, highly effective teaching and universal early childhood education.

“Setting a goal for K-12 public education and assuring the success of our students is public policy at the highest level and should be set by the General Assembly,” said Anita Zucker, TCCC board chairman and CEO of The InterTech Group.

In this submission, TCCC also proposes a set of principles to bound and guide the work of redesigning education funding. Responding to the RFA Report, TCCC states that reform measures must consider funding equity down to the student level so that resources “flow through districts, schools and classrooms to students with the greatest needs.” Currently,

models under consideration go only to the district level and rely on “averages” that can mask wide disparities in student needs. TCCC’s recommended principles also call for stabilized funding that is less susceptible to economic fluctuations and affords greater flexibility for local school administrators.

“Revenues that support schools are far too complex, siloed and cyclical to be reliable, let alone sufficient to support the student-centered equity public education needs,” said John Read, TCCC’s CEO.

TCCC believes statutory goals and principles should first be established in order to provide a framework for the education and education funding reform efforts which it hopes will be taken up by the General Assembly in the coming months. Read informed Senate Education Committee Chairman Greg Hembree that TCCC would be submitting its comments on S.419 to the committee in the coming weeks, based on these goals and principles.

Read TCCC’s Goals and Education Funding Submission to Legislators

TCCC welcomes Marcus Trinidad as AmeriCorps VISTA member

Marcus Trinidad

Marcus Trinidad

Marcus Trinidad, a recent graduate of Oregon State University (OSU), has joined Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative for the next year as a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA member.

Trinidad is one of 19 VISTA members who serve under the auspices of the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families, which manages the local AmeriCorps VISTA grant program. Organizations around Charleston county were invited to apply to the city and were chosen to host a VISTA member if they met the necessary requirements.

The AmeriCorps VISTA program, funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, mobilizes its members to fight poverty by focusing on education, health and economic opportunity. The program seeks to help organizations, agencies and nonprofits build sustainable systems, improve capacity and operate in an integrated and collaborative manner that allow them to better serve their clients.

Trinidad’s focus at TCCC will be to work collectively and collaboratively with Tri-County schools and relevant stakeholders to develop a comprehensive and sustainable strategy that supports a regional college-going culture. A main area of focus will be to improve knowledge and awareness of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) among school district staff and the community at large. TCCC’s FAFSA project seeks to increase the number of local high school students, especially from low income families, who apply for financial assistance for post-secondary education.

Trinidad graduated in May from OSU with bachelor’s degrees in mathematical economics and political science and a minor in statistics. He most recently served as the editor-in-chief for the national-award winning school newspaper The Daily Barometer.

Additionally, Trinidad gained government experience interning for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and for Portland’s Black Male Achievement initiative. He also previously worked on community social justice issues and a first-year college student peer mentorship at OSU as a Community Relations Facilitator.

After his AmeriCorps VISTA service, Trinidad plans on attending graduate school to pursue a master’s in public policy.