Impact Stories

More than 700 partners and countless others are using The Raising of America to advance their work. Here are some of the highlights.

Raising of America Kansas City Coalition, a broad alliance led by Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) and the Kansas City Public Health Department, formed in the wake of their “sneak preview” screening to use the series to educate and organize for policy and systems changes which expand opportunity structures for young children and their families. Their first win? Six weeks paid parental leave at 100% pay for Kansas City, Missouri municipal employees. The second? A When Work Works Initiative announced by the mayor of Kansas City to make KC businesses the most family-friendly in the nation.

King County Executive Dow Constantine (Seattle, WA) leveraged a The Raising of America launch event organized with Public Health - Seattle & King County, Child Care Resources and King County Dept. of Community and Human Services to announce an innovative, first-in-the-nation initiative for early child development called "Best Starts for Kids" to 175 civic leaders. “Best Starts for Kids” is a specified property tax levy to be invested in enhanced prenatal support, home visiting, and early care as well as affordable housing and other strategies that can better assure strong starts. Voters passed “Best Starts for Kids” in November 2015.

The National Partnership for Women and Families encouraged their coalition of 200 organizations to use the series with their respective constituencies around paid parental and family leave. They created a paid leave toolkit to support these efforts, helped arrange several screenings of The Raising of America for federal and Washington, DC lawmakers, and organized a “tweet storm” of more than 500 tweets sent during the course of an hour encouraging people to stream the series.

Michigan Power to Thrive is a coalition of community organizers, local health departments, government agencies and service providers in seven counties working to improve health and equity. Each county is using the series differently. Three examples:

  • Ingham County offered their audiences postcards they could send legislators asking to support four early childhood programs threatened by a budget fight. They won three of the four.

  • Kalamazoo County convened a launch event attended by 275 local leaders and asked attendees to identify priorities for the County in light of the issues raised by the film. Quality childcare, paid parental leave and other public policy initiatives emerged. A coalition called Raising Kalamazoo County was formed to use the series and press for changes so that all children can realize their potential.

  • Kent County (Grand Rapids) began with two screenings, same day, attended by 580 people. They then initiated a ‘train the trainer’ program for community members committed to hosting their own screenings. One result: Kent Intermediate School District worked with 110 agency partners using Wounded Places to trigger dialogues on health equity and social justice and support for adopting trauma-informed practices.

The Early Childhood Colorado Partnership of state and local agencies, nonprofits, early childhood councils, foundations and universities committed to improving child and family well-being and systems in Colorado has convened more than 80 screenings, funded 15 communities with mini-grants, hosted two webinars, partnered with Rocky Mountain PBS to broadcast multiple episodes, and created a Colorado-specific toolkit around The Raising of America. The Partnership engaged The Civic Canopy, an organization that facilitates thoughtful public dialogues and action plans, to manage the process.

Organizers of the Preschool Promise ballot initiatives partnered with public media stations ThinkTV and CET to raise awareness about the importance of universal, quality preschool in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. The Raising of America was screened by project partners as part of a two-year effort to build public will for the initiatives and engage the business community. Both stations used clips from The Raising of America to frame their own public affairs programs with community leaders. The Preschool Promise ballot initiatives were successful in both cities and are now being implemented. You can watch ThinkTV's "The Power of Preschool and CET's program online.

The Santa Cruz County of Education hosted a screening of The Raising of America: Signature Episode to an audience of 200 business, community and education leaders at the Cabrillo Community College campus. The event was designed to galvanize interest and momentum to address early childhood not just a single family issue, but as a community issue and our country's issue. The conversation that followed the screening was a call to action. As David Brody, Executive Director of First 5 Santa Cruz County, reminded the audience, "We need to work together to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot that will once and for all raise the revenue necessary to truly serve all young children in California."​ Read more here.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA ran a special exhibit entitled "Where Children Sleep" from July - October 2016 featuring photographs of children alongside the places where they sleep at night. The gallery highlights global disparity and the vulnerability of all children. As a part of this exhibit and in conversation with the photographs, The Raising of America trailer plays on continuous loop, raising the point that investing in children today means securing the health of our world tomorrow.

Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and ZFive (NC) educated business, political, and community leaders on the role each can play in supporting young children to thrive. They followed up their The Raising of America launch event, which drew more than 150 civic leaders, with 13 community café screenings where they asked parents across socioeconomic, racial and cultural lines to discuss the challenges they face. Feedback gathered at these cafés was used to leverage change in business practices, community focus and policy.

They created a guidebook to streamline the community café process, a Demographics handout and a Take Action activity highlighting ways to get involved.

The St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council, with a membership of over 200 child-serving organizations, funders and businesses, leveraged a successful ‘launch’ screening to develop a comprehensive, strategic approach for engaging the business and civic community in the region around the importance of childhood, beginning with screening Episodes 2-5.

WNIT and Beacon Health System (IN) teamed up with area childhood development organizations to air all five episodes of The Raising of America with live, in-studio discussions and neighborhood viewing parties to continue the conversation. A specially produced “Locally What’s Next?” episode examined how the “Michiana” region (Southwest Michigan, Northwest Indiana) can improve conditions for young children and their families.

The New Hampshire Endowment for Health and New Hampshire Public Television (NHPTV) co-produced a half-hour documentary spotlighting the successes of early care and home visiting programs in New Hampshire – and the pressing need to scale them up. Called Raising New Hampshire, it aired immediately after The Raising of America broadcast on NHPTV. The Endowment for Health also created a discussion guide to support local conversations.

Colorado Shines, the state's quality rating and improvement system, teamed up with Rocky Mountain PBS to provide Colorado’s early childhood professionals with online e-learning courses in the state’s Professional Development Information System (PDIS) that link directly to all five episodes of The Raising of America.

Healthy Start New Orleans used The Raising of America to kick off their Community Action Network, a collective impact initiative to address child well-being using a life-course perspective. Their first of six screenings drew over 200 community members and provided audience members a locally produced Toolkit and an invitation to host neighborhood viewings.

The New Jersey Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NJACCRRA), in collaboration with local CCRRAs, secured funding to host screenings of The Raising of America in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. The screenings were part of a statewide effort to spark conversations not only with parents and caregivers, but also elected officials, business leaders and the public about the need for increased investments to ensure all children in New Jersey have access to high quality and affordable early learning programs. Each county screening was followed by a community conversation, featuring a panel of early childhood experts, to discuss how these issues play out locally and what is needed to support families and children in NJ.

Massachusetts Essentials for Childhood used The Raising of America to engage civic and policy leaders, community organizations, and state agencies and legislators in conversations around the state about initiatives which can prevent child abuse and maltreatment and promote conditions in which all children can thrive.

The State Library of California and First 5 California sponsored a work-in-progress screening for 440 at the First 5 Annual Forum in Sacramento. The State Library, in collaboration with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, also rolled out an initiative using The Raising of America to train children’s librarians across the state to become child development resources and advocate for the children and young families who use their libraries.

The CDC Division of Violence Prevention, AMCHP, NACCHO and the Healthy Heartlands Collaborative worked in partnership with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the CDC Foundation to distribute 800 DVDs to members to encourage local, state and national partnerships to create the safe, secure and nurturing environments and relationships all babies need to thrive.

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) screened each episode across its national and all 9 regional offices to spark internal conversations about how the agency can build on current efforts to improve conditions for families with young children. The series was then rolled out to their grantees.

Children's Mercy Kansas City made The Raising of America series available to all 7,000 employees in their hospitals and clinics. Their goal? Preparing each employee to act as a resource within the region on how social conditions impact early childhood. Children’s Mercy Kansas City is empowering all staff and creating a shared language that links individual child outcomes with larger social structures that shape choices and opportunities.

SpoKids, a project of the Spokane Regional Health District’s Community and Family Services Division (WA), screened The Raising of America to spark community conversations which asked parents what Spokane’s young children need to thrive. They’ve formed a Parent Leadership Group and created a Child Policy Document which parents will urge local officials to adopt. Their three top policy priorities so far? 1) Affordable, accessible and high-quality childcare and early learning, 2) safe and stable housing and neighborhoods, and 3) resources and supports for new parents.

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta, GA hosted a work-in-progress screening for 350 civic leaders where they challenged participants to organize 100 community screenings across Georgia to change the conversation about early childhood. They quickly exceeded their goal and ordered 250 DVDs for the organizations expected to participate.


  • Eight Ways to Use the Series to Advance Your Work
  • Six Elements of a New Conversation
  • Planning a Successful Screening