Network Anaheim: History and Evolution
Network Anaheim began as an informal partnership between public and non-profit organizations to address specific needs of Anaheim’s youth and has since developed into a longstanding collaborative committed to tackling the broader systemic issues challenging Anaheim. The partnership began in 1999 when the City of Anaheim, Anaheim City School District (ACSD), Magnolia School District, the Anaheim YMCA, and Marcus Management Solutions (a firm with deep roots in the city that provides grant writing and evaluation support for the partner agencies) came together to strengthen the after-school enrichment opportunities for Anaheim’s youth. Together, they launched Anaheim Achieves Afterschool Collaborative. Over the years, the partnership has expanded to include two more school districts (Savanna and Anaheim Union High School District), and many other community organizations. Building on the success of Anaheim Achieves and the relationships that were formed, the partners continued to meet regularly to problem solve and explore joint funding and programming to support the children and youth whom they all serve. In 2006, the collaborative partnered with the Anaheim Police Department and Western Youth Services to implement a $9 million federal grant to provide school-based mental health services for children in the Anaheim Elementary School District and in the community – known as JumpStart4Kids.
In 2011, as the Anaheim Achieves and JumpStart4Kids partners continued to share information, jointly write grants, and problem solve together and recognized that a partner in physical health or wellness was needed and added Complete Balance Wellness Center. Recognizing their unique collaborative efforts to support the children, youth and families of Anaheim were embodying the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” the Village Plan of Anaheim was born with a dream to build on their successes and take their collaborative spirit and work to scale in support of health and well-being for all of Anaheim’s children, youth and families.
In 2014, the Village Plan requested support from local funders to support the development of a strategic business plan to clarify and guide their work. At the same time, Children's Bureau of Southern California (CB) had received funds to explore growing the comprehensive collaborative efforts of its Magnolia Community Initiative in Orange County.
The Children & Families Commission of Orange County (CFCOC) funded CB's exploration which concluded that the Village Plan provided a natural platform. As a result, CFCOC, the Orange County Community Foundation, and the Samueli Foundation provided funding for the development of a business plan. From August 2014 to January 2015, Village Plan members, working with a key consultant from the Magnolia Community Initiative, engaged in a rigorous process of formalizing the grass roots synergy into a scalable framework. This process resulted in the rebranding of the Village Plan as Network Anaheim to reflect their new direction and approach. In addition, in 2015 Network Anaheim was funded to hire a part-time director and a full-time community engagement coordinator.