This report explains that Making Connections was the Annie E. Casey Foundation's signature place-based, community-change initiative of the 2000s. It sought to build on previous work and launch an effort focused firmly on the framework of family strengthening. It grew from the premise that children do well when they have healthy, supportive, economically secure families, and that families do better when they live in neighborhoods with a range of opportunities, including services, resources and support networks. The Foundation started Making Connections in 22 places, focusing eventually on first 10, then seven sites. This report outlines key findings from the initiative that can provide guidance to those involved with community-change efforts in the future. It begins by providing an overview of the Making Connections program and then explains the following six recommendations: focus on two-generation, place-based community change; recognize the specific challenges facing each community; understand the complexity of managing and measuring community change; promote resident and parent engagement; develop effective ways to harness and learn from data; and redefine success for place-based community change. Examples of successful programs are described, and the implementation of Family-Centered Community Change programs, Promise Neighborhoods, and Choice Neighborhoods is noted. 11 references.
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