Focus on Sustainability: Connecting System-Building Work to State & National Initiatives

Focus on Sustainability: Connecting System-Building Work to State & National Initiatives
Focus on Sustainability: Connecting System-Building Work to State & National Initiatives


Are you making use of state and national initiatives to leverage your work at the local level? This final webinar for Better Together cities highlighted some of the efforts to connect the work of local systems builders with state and national experts and resources. The Afterschool Alliance, National League of Cities, and the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks showcased some of the tools and resources at your disposal, showcased communities that have engaged in such partnerships, and discuss the role these partnerships have played in providing sustainable programming. The American Youth Policy Forum will also be releasing a tool to help local systems builders identify national organizations and resources engaged in afterschool systems-building work.

Presenters Included:

Marjorie D. Cohen, Principal Associate, Education, National League of Cities, Institute for Youth, Education, and Families

Terri Ferinde Dunham, Partner, Collaborative Communications Group

Jane Eastwood, Education Director, Office of Mayor Christopher B. Coleman, St. Paul, Minnesota

Ursula Helminski, Vice President, External Affairs, Afterschool Alliance

Presenter Biographies

marjorie photo formattedMarjorie D. Cohen is the Principal Associate for Education in the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) at the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C.  In this role, Ms. Cohen provides technical assistance and support to municipal leaders and their education policy advisors on a range of early education, K-12, and postsecondary education policy issues.  She is currently leading mulitple initiatives funded by the Lumina and Kresge Foundations on municipal leadership for postsecondary success, focused on strengthening cities’ capacity to achieve significantly improved postsecondary completion results in collaboration with school districts, college, universities, and other key local partners.  Ms. Cohen was, until recently, engaged in implementing the Communities Learning in Partnership (CLIP) initiative to strengthen multi-sided partnerships involving city governments, community colleges, and business and community leaders focused on postsecondary success for low-income young adults. She also participated on a cross-program team working on helping municipal leaders align early childhood programs and elementary education in ways that increase the likelihood that children will be poised for educational success by the time they reach the third grade through the Education Alignment for Young Children initiative.

terri 2 formattedTerri Ferinde Dunham is working to create a new learning system where schools and communities work together to expand learning opportunities for young people. She works with organizations focused on both in- and out-of-school learning to develop networks, strategize new initiatives and build capacity. Terri was named one of the top 25 most influential people in afterschool in 2014 by the National AfterSchool Association. For more than a decade, Terri has managed the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks funded by the C.S. Mott Foundation with 47 statewide networks and partnerships focused on policy and funding for high-quality afterschool programs across the country.

jane-eastwood_photo formattedJane Eastwood is the Education Policy Director for Mayor Chris Coleman, Saint Paul.  She directs the Mayor’s Office education and youth initiatives including the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood, Right Track youth employment, Sprockets – the citywide out-of-school-time network, the Saint Paul Youth Intervention Initiative and oversees the city’s VISTA program.  She provides leadership for the Mayor’s Education Leadership Team with the Mayor, Superintendent, County Manager and key education leaders, directs the city’s involvement in Generation Next, the Saint Paul/Minneapolis “Strive” organization, and guides the Saint Paul’s racial equity initiative.  Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Eastwood held positions in higher education and informal education organizations including as a vice president with Scholarship America, the largest nonprofit high education scholarship organization in the country.  She served as a director of the Minneapolis Public Library system and a vice president with the Science Museum of Minnesota.

ursula formattedUrsula Helminski has worked with the Afterschool Alliance since its inception, and was part of its founding team. She develops strategy and communications for the organization, and oversees public awareness initiatives such as the nationwide Lights On Afterschool rally. Before coming to the Afterschool Alliance, she worked with a communications and policy consulting firm, where she worked on issue campaigns ranging from youth violence prevention to telecommunications.





Click here to view the presentation slideshow

Presenter Information:

Marjorie D. Cohen

Principal Associate

Education National League of Cities, IYEF


1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 550

Washington, DC 20004


Terri Ferinde Dunham


National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks

1029 Vermont Ave NW

Washington, DC 20005


Jane Eastwood

Education Director

Office of Mayor, Christopher B. Coleman

15 Kellogg Blvd W, room 390

Saint Paul, MN 55102


Ursula Helminski

Vice President, External Affairs

Afterschool Alliance

1616 H Street NW, Suite 820

Washington, D.C., 20006



The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.