Systems Development and Sustainability

photo by Nancy Sidelinger

photo by Nancy Sidelinger

Enhancing the programs that directly serve young children will move Great Expectations toward its goal, but we won’t achieve true and lasting change for young children in Forsyth County until the systems serving young children and their families change. Great Expectations' success will require sustainable systems change, resulting in a strengthened, better aligned system that leads to coordinated supports for children and families across Forsyth County.                                                                                     Over time, and in partnership with system leaders, parents and caregivers, nonprofit leaders, employers and others, the Trust hopes to create a Great Expectations “way of doing business” that includes shared goals, shared language and data, collective operating principles and a two-generation approach to direct services. Early work will focus in the following ways:

Gap Analysis

MDC is working with other partners and practitioners in Forsyth County to develop a shared “landscape map” that details the organizations working with children and families, who they’re serving and where, and how and to what extent they work together. Once initial data collection is complete, the map will help identify gaps, including who is and isn’t being served, and areas of strength in the early childhood system. This map will help the Trust guide Great Expectations investments and identify opportunities for additional collaboration.

Interagency Coordination

With so many different providers offering programs and services to young children and families, stronger coordination across providers and systems is required. To accomplish this, Great Expectations will support efforts that elevate and promote coordination and that specifically knit together elements of a system towards stronger alignment. One such opportunity is Help Me Grow (HMG)—through a grant from the Trust, HMG exploring the interest and feasibility of implementing a centralized system of telephone advice for providers, children and families that provides screening and connection to services in Forsyth County. In addition, MDC is learning about the important collaborative work to advance Universal Pre-K, being led by Family Services. MDC is also working closely with 

Current grantees

WS/FC Schools
Program Name: Ready Schools

Help Me Grow
Program Name: Building Resources for Families and Physicians

With this work in mind, MDC will identify other opportunities for leveraging system alignment to improve the experience of the families and providers who interact with these systems. Great Expectations will work closely with health, education and government agencies in Forsyth County to coordinate efforts, share data and track outcomes. MDC will forge a close working relationship with key agencies receiving funding as part of Great Expectations, as well as other organizations that are engaged with financially-disadvantaged children and families throughout Forsyth County—and early in the initiative, will identify ways to bring together other key stakeholders towards a common vision for success for young children in Forsyth County. Over time, this will likely involve formal working agreements with agencies and local government.


While the Trust is committed to investing in the work of Great Expectations for at least a full decade, funding partners for the work of Great Expectations will be an essential ingredient for scale and sustainability. The Trust will seek opportunities to partner with other foundations, local and state government, and other investors over the life of this initiative. 

Current Opportunities to Engage

  • Contact Family Services to get involved in their Universal Pre-K Initiative
  • If you would like to support Great Expectations by donating, please visit any of the websites of the organizations involved to financially contribute to their work
  • If you’re a funder or philanthropist, contact the Trust to discuss ways to support Great Expectations