Driving nationwide equitable change

Community colleges have the potential to change the economic trajectory of millions of people and serve as a catalyst for both individual and community economic mobility. Achieving the Dream (ATD) helps community colleges achieve this potential – facilitating student access to life-changing learning that propels them into community changing careers.

Since 2004, ATD’s focus on institutional transformation involves deep and customized engagement to improve student success and eliminate equity gaps. With a network of over 300 community colleges across , ATD provides institutions with integrated, tailored support for every aspect of their work. From foundational capacities such as leadership, data, and equity to intentional strategies for supporting students holistically, building K-12 partnerships, and more, these supports help institutions become hubs for equitable, antiracist, and economically vibrant communities.

The forceful power of network building

ATD’s network is a powerful engine for impact. As a trusted partner, ATD connects leaders across the network as they transform their institutions to better serve their students and communities.

As one example of student-centered capacity building, ATD helps colleges forge partnerships with external organizations that help students persist and succeed. These partnerships might help students with basic economic support for food or bills, ensure they have laptops or Wi-Fi to participate fully in class, or provide mental health resources. By leveraging insights from across the network, ATD can help identify common challenges and provide valuable and practical support to realize solutions.

The network also provides opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. For example, at the annual DREAM conference, college leaders hear directly from each other about their successes and challenges.

ATD’s network provides a connection point for colleges with a shared ambition for innovation and progress. It also serves as an access point to ATD’s broader set of supports that help colleges identify their key capacities and address their areas for improvement.

A renewed strategic vision with equity at the center

In 2021, ATD worked with Redstone to refresh its strategic vision. With a systemic and intentional approach to further advance equity, ATD introduced a radical access agenda. Building on the power of the network is central to the refreshed vision – providing space for colleges to share what is working, and for ATD to draw lessons from local experiences that have network-wide applications.

Inspired momentum

Mid-February 2023, DREAM will bring together thousands of practitioners to exchange strategies and ideas to drive student success. Through this powerful network of dedicated professionals, community colleges nationwide are closing equity gaps and realizing ATDs vision to transform colleges and communities. To learn more about ATD, you can attend the conference, or contact us for a deeper dive into impactful coalition building.

    About the Author
  • Rachel Cowher

    Rachel works with a range of foundations and nonprofits on strategic planning, organizational sustainability, and program evaluation