As a cause-driven movement of human services leaders from across the country, our story was first told more than 100 years ago and continues today, powered by the very best of our sector.

Built on a rich history of commitment to children and families, deep work with communities, and dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities strives for a common vision of a healthy and equitable society.  

Our vision will be realized when all people: 

  • Have health and well-being
  • Succeed in education
  • Are safe and resilient
  • Experience economic mobility

Today, with and through our network, the Alliance creates the excellence, distinction, and influence of human serving, community-based organizations by engaging them with best in class knowledge, networking, solutions, and advocacy to help all people reach their full potential.


The Alliance works with and through our strategic action network and many partners to promote changes in policy and practice that will improve systems through research, innovation and learning, networking, and solution-oriented advocacy. In 2019, we worked together to influence the public and private sectors on issues that matter for the health of the social sector and the children, families, and communities we serve. 

Advocating for a Universal Charitable Deduction

“Policymakers agree that the American spirit to give in support of our neighbors and communities should be easily accessible to all Americans, not just the wealthy. That is why calls are growing for a ‘universal tax deduction,’ which would level the playing field for all taxpayers.” – Susan Dreyfus, Alliance president and CEO, and Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide, in a co-authored piece in the Philanthropy Journal News

Federal Rulemaking

The Alliance has responded to and provided comments on six proposed federal regulations on issues ranging from protecting migrant families, to data interoperability in health care, to protecting the rights of our LGBTQ neighbors. 


The Alliance Learning Community, developed with support from The Kresge Foundation, will feature opportunities to help sector leaders translate knowledge into measurable action to strengthen their organizations and achieve breakthrough results with children, families, and communities. Our robust learning community: 

  • Captures the vast resources, knowledge, and expertise available through the Alliance and its network 
  • Aligns those resources with the Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofit Organizations framework and adult learning principles 
  • Offers online courses, webinars, member-led discussions, and more within a seamless technological ecosystem

Alliance organizations can use the technological platform for their own organization’s learning needs and the Alliance Learning Exchange also promotes to a wider audience best in sector training from our distinctive partners. Our first partner is the National Training Initiative that developed three trainings on mental health for child welfare professionals.  



provides guidance to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on ways to partner with community-based organizations. The Alliance engaged its national member network through focus groups, written feedback, and broad outreach to develop a comprehensive guide to building generative partnerships with community-based organizations for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Susan Dreyfus presented the guide and its recommendations to CMS staff in July 2019. 


More than 12,000 employees participated in hundreds of projects to impact thousands of community members across the globe in 2019, thanks to the Aramark-Alliance partnership.  

Nearly $565,000 was regranted to community-based organizations to support health, wellness, and workforce readiness activities.  

In a dynamic collaboration, Aramark, the Alliance, Pillsbury United Communities, and BakerRipley developed the Maximizing Urban Agriculture to Increase Community Health and Wellness Toolkit. This innovative resource advocates for a holistic approach to urban agriculture by highlighting key components of and strategies for leveraging urban farms and gardens to increase community health and wellness.

New Alliance Podcast! More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation 

exposes the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of collaboration between community-based organizations and health care, and it showcases the full potential of integration taking place in communities across the country. Every other week, a new episode of the More than Health Care podcast uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all. Born out of the Health and Human Services Intersection Alliance Peer Exchange Group, the podcast is presented by the Alliance, Ascentria Care Alliance, and Beech Acres Parenting Center.


Throughout 2019, the Change in Mind Institute continued to grow its presence, leadership, and reach in the alignment of brain science research throughout the human services sector.   

The Institute partnered on the article For Better Adult Mental and Relational Health, Boost Positive Childhood Experiences, featuring a new study led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers and co-authored by Jennifer Jones, director of the Alliance’s Change in Mind Institute. The article notes that positive childhood experiences are associated with reduced chances of having adult depression and poor mental health. Initially published in JAMA Pediatrics, and later referenced in articles in The New Yorker and Boston Globe, these findings could encourage public health efforts and policies aimed at boosting positive childhood experiences.  

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act Reauthorization: In partnership with the National Child Abuse Coalition, the Alliance is promoting the incorporation of key changes into the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Many of these changes, recommended by the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, were incorporated in the House of Representatives bill, which passed in the House with broad bipartisan support. The Alliance recruited four new champions to lead efforts to increase funding for CAPTA: Reps. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) and Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). 

Project THRIVE Campaign: The Alliance partnered on Project THRIVE, a multi-year national campaign to create a more equitable, inclusive support system and community for youth who identify as LGBTQ. Core goals of the campaign include promoting well-being for LGBTQ youth within youth-serving systems; increasing the proportion of LGBTQ youth experiencing permanent, supportive connections with caring adults and family networks; and reducing disparities in mental and physical health outcomes among youth who identify as LGBTQ.

2019 Building Resilience in the Face of Disaster: The Alliance partnered with the New York Life Foundation to administer the Building Resilience in the Face of Disaster grant program, which supported 16 communities in providing trauma-informed services and interventions for individuals and families impacted by natural disasters or human-made tragedies. 

The Alliance continued its partnership with Chapin Hall, Wisconsin Association of Family and Children’s Agencies (WAFCA), and the Wisconsin Department 
of Children and Families
on a three-year study funded by the William T. Grant Foundation to help community-based organizations develop their skills in evidence-based decision making, strengthening their ability to provide targeted, effective services to the children and families in their care.

Developing a public health approach to our nation’s child welfare system: The Within Our Reach Office, housed at the Alliance and made possible through collaboration with Casey Family Programs, continues to advance the recommendations of the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, on which Alliance CEO Susan Dreyfus served. In 2019, the Alliance provided technical assistance to states across the country as they worked to prevent child fatalities through a public health and preventative approach to ensuring child well-being.  

In October 2019, The Alliance was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime to serve as the national technical assistance provider for Reducing Child Fatalities and Recurring Child Injuries Caused by Crime Victimization project. The project supports five U.S. sites as cross-systems strategic plans are developed to:

  • reduce child crime victimization and child fatalities due to maltreatment; 
  • create a pathway for prevention, earlier intervention and supports; and
  • advance a more child- and family-centered child welfare system in our nation.


The Alliance tapped its extensive member network in 2019 to spot education trends, shared interests, training and research needs, and education innovation among human serving community-based organizations. Member feedback will guide the Alliance’s education policy, practice, and programs in 2020 and beyond, including input from our Educational Success Alliance Peer Exchange (APEX) group, which has grown to 93 members, and its core team of leaders. 
Three broad goals are emerging to drive our vision and our work in Educational Success:  

  1. members providing Early Care and Education are equipped with the resources they need to support an effective workforce and to equitably serve their communities; 
  2. members establish deep partnerships in K-12 public education; and
  3. members operating schools spread promising innovations and best practices



Building on its deep history and commitment of creating the conditions for all people in our nation to thrive, the Alliance continues to sharpen its focus on social economic mobility through a race equity lens.  

The 2019 Alliance National Conference plenary panel discussion, Bringing Systems to Life: Accelerating Social and Economic Mobility on Indy’s Near Eastside, featured leaders from Indianapolis’ human services ecosystem who spoke about the barriers families face in achieving economic mobility and how community-based organizations and communities can work together to help children and families thrive. 

At our 2019 Alliance National Conference Study Tour, Creating Collective Impact by Engaging Neighbors and Partners in Development, twenty Alliance National Conference participants visited the John Boner Neighborhood Centers and their partners, including a housing development, a school, a multigenerational development that includes affordable senior housing and daycare, and an arts district.



Our report, A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America, continued to influence the social sector in 2019. Susan Dreyfus addressed the first Hawaii conference convened by Child & Family Service to discuss ways to improve financial stability for nonprofits. 75 leaders in health and human services, government, and other areas attended the National Imperative Hawaii conference to improve the climate for these critical agencies in the community. 


The Equity Forward: Nonprofit Leadership Summit hosted 170 national and local human services professionals and community leaders in Milwaukee to share, learn, and discuss common challenges; consider strategies; and build equity action plans to advance equity in organizations and across the sector.

Additional workshops to build organizational capacity for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion were co-led by Alliance and FEI Behavioral Health at UCAN in Chicago, Martha O’Bryan Center in Nashville, and Neighborhood House Association in San Diego.

The Alliance Advancing Organizational Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion cohort began its second year with adaptive leadership training and coaching, guiding participants toward creating organizational cultures to attract, develop, and retain racially diverse leaders, particularly young leaders of color. 


Second Acts for Strong Communities launched a toolkit of resources to help organizations actively recruit, include, and engage people from all generations, with insights from sites in the Second Acts initiative. Engaging Second Acts talent showed improved results for older adults, their organizations, and the youth they served together.



The Alliance National Conference was held Oct. 16-18 in Indianapolis, Indiana. More than 450 attended this annual conference, providing important tools and  insights through our CEO Track designed for both new and experienced CEOs; emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion; and special sessions on fund development and marketing; policy and mobilization; and our impact areas of health and well-being; educational success; safety and resilience; and economic mobility. 

The Alliance Executive Leadership Conference (AELC) drew 70 Alliance executive leaders who participated in two days of focused work on board governance and peer-to-peer engagement.



The Senior Leadership Conference (SLC) welcomed 245 leaders from 83 organizations who gained knowledge and skills in organizational excellence. Six Rising Leaders received scholarships to attend and benefited from the support of a senior leader who mentored them before, during, and after the conference.



The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) engaged 31 Alliance network leaders in our two-year leadership development program, including seven full scholarship recipients thanks to support from Mutual of America.

In 2019, the Alliance redesigned its ELI curriculum in partnership with Loyola University. The new program, starting in 2020, will provide an interdisciplinary experience by leveraging the expertise of Loyola’s faculty, while retaining signature ELI experiences.