Grown in Durham

Grown in Durham (Durham County’s Early Childhood Action Plan) is a collective of parents, providers, and community and institutional leaders focused on creating the conditions for young children and their families to thrive. Led by a 36-member steering committee (majority parents of young children) and supported by the Durham Collective for Equity in Early Childhood (parent and community leaders providing backbone support), we are implementing the first county-level early childhood action plan in NC. With funding and facilitation support from Durham County and the Durham Children’s Initiative and leadership and engagement from parents and providers, the plan was released in Fall 2021. It draws on the experiences of over 1,000 parents, population-level data, research, and the expertise and dreams of 150 parents, early childhood providers, and community and systems leaders who worked over 18 months to create it. In 2022, the steering committee identified five of those for initial action and fundraising, called our Five to Thrive.

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Fast Facts

Relevant Actions
State or Local? Local
Lead Agency Durham Collective for Equity in Early Childhood
Type of Agency

Community/Family-Led Group

Racial Equity Lens
  • In the systems overview documents that are a part of the plan, we highlight disparities in outcomes and voices of BIPOC parents, providers and community leaders that contextualize these disparities. 
  • A number of the recommendations and strategies in the plan focus on the needs and strengths of children of color, their families, and providers of color. 
  • Partway through our planning process, we shifted our planning from large workgroups meeting during the day to small action teams made up of primarily parents and providers of color that could meet at times that worked best for them. Parent, frontline, and community-rooted members of these teams were compensated for their time. The action plans they developed make up the bulk of the plan.
Community Voice
  • In our steering committee charter, which lays out our membership and decision-making policies, we both allocate more seats for parents, front-line workers, and community-rooted leaders, and weight their votes more heavily in decision-making. The steering committee sets the vision for and makes key decisions about the initiative. 
  • We structured the selection process for this backbone team to create more equitable access to the opportunity, especially for groups that don’t usually have the opportunity for a County contract. The announcement, application, and info sessions were available in English and Spanish, allowed for a fiscal sponsor, and required that the engagement functions be done by people or groups that reflect their communities. Steering committee members were involved in the review of applications and made the final decision. As a result, the backbone support team that was selected is a group of primarily BIPOC parents and community leaders.
  • Created an approach to community and parent-led planning and implementation that has informed at least 2 other similar processes (1 local, 1 national)
  • Raised at least $1.5 million for plan implementation
Next Steps
  • Create implementation teams for each of our Five to Thrive strategies
  • Proactively raise funds for the Five to Thrive strategies
Primary Partners
  • Grown in Durham Steering Committee
  • Durham Collective for Equity in Early Childhood
  • Durham County government 
  • Durham Children’s Initiative
  • Over 50 early childhood agencies and entities are at the table  
Primary Funders
  • Durham County government
  • Pediatrics Supporting Parents
  • Think Babies Alliance  
Contact Cate Elander

Active Counties