The Depths of Relationships survey results are in!
Newsletter | July 2022 | Edition 12
Measuring Collective Impact within the Doña Ana County Early Childhood Education Coalition
Results from the 2020 Depths of Relationships Survey
The SUCCESS Partnership, a prenatal-to-career community education initiative, formed the Doña Ana County Early Childhood Education (ECE) Coalition in 2014 to increase access to quality ECE countywide. The ECE Coalition uses a collective impact framework to address three common goals: 
  1. Children are born into healthy homes.
  2. Children are ready for school.
  3. The ECE workforce is supported.
Collective impact theory suggests that collaboration between coalition members can lead to better educational opportunities for our children, better access to childcare for working parents, and higher quality employment opportunities for ECE providers. It is therefore essential to evaluate the strength of interorganizational relationships between the partners making this work possible. In 2017, the Center for Community Analysis, Ngage NM, and the ECE Coalition created the first Depths of Relationships (DOR) survey to measure collaboration among early childhood organizations in Doña Ana County. The DOR survey was conducted again in 2020, and results are now available in our newly updated Depths of Relationships dashboard. Survey results highlight significant growth in collaboration between ECE partners in Doña Ana County, contributing to improvements in early childhood education in the county and statewide. 
DOR Survey results show continuous growth.
The updated DOR dashboard indicates a steady growth in ECE Coalition partnerships from 2014 to 2020. In 2020, 51 ECE Coalition member organizations participated in at least 282 interorganizational partnerships (Note 1). This equates to a 159% increase in partnerships since the ECE Coalition's establishment in 2014 when organizations reported 109 partnerships.
DOR survey respondents reported eight unique types of collaborations with other organizations in 2014, 2017, and 2020 (Note 2). Between 2014 and 2020, the total number of collaborations increased by 110%, from 500 to 1,050. Most notably, organizations reported vast increases in communication, discussing common goals, working on collaborative projects and activities, and building capacity for greater impact after partnering with others. 
Number of Collaborations Reported by All Organizations, 2014 to 2020:
28 organizations reported sharing personnel in 2020 compared to 11 in 2014. 53 reported shared funding with a joint grant in 2020 compared to 25 in 2014.
55 organizations reported an existing MOU or written agreement in 2020 compared to 60 in 2014. 122 organizations reported sharing or receiving data in 2020 compared to 50 in 2014.
190 organizations reported discussing common goals in 2020 compared to 79 in 2014. 213 reported working together on a collaborative activity in 2020 compared to 92 in 2014.
245 organizations reported increased capacity for greater impact after interacting with another organization in 2020, compared to 43 in 2014. 348 organizations reported being in communication with another organization in 2020, compared to 140 in 2014.
Limitations and Considerations:
One limitation of the DOR survey is that not every ECE organization in Doña Ana responded to the survey. In 2014 and 2017, 73% (16/22) of organizations within the ECE Coalition responded to the DOR survey. In 2020, 41% (21/51) of organizations responded. Consequently, the survey results may not represent the true magnitude of partnerships, and the growth in partnerships and collaborations is likely more extensive than this data shows. That said, this data demonstrates the types of work being accomplished because organizations that responded may be the most active within the coalition.
Although the DOR survey results may underestimate the true extent of partnerships in 2020, it is worth noting that while collaboration is trending upwards overall, growth may have recently slowed in establishing MOUs or other written agreements. In 2020, DOR respondents reported 55 MOUs/agreements compared to 77 in 2017 and 60 in 2014. This may be due to the low survey response rate. Another possible explanation is that formal collaborations stalled during the pandemic. Some projects were put on hold or replaced with providing essentials to the community in response to pandemic-related shortages. 
Growth aligns with recent accomplishments in ECE.
Growing connections within the Doña Ana County ECE Coalition illustrated by the DOR survey is directly and indirectly linked to concurrent improvements in early childhood education:
The ECE Coalition, Ngage NM, and CCA helped to successfully advocate for increased funding for children in the county. Between 2017 and 2022, the percentage of children funded for free or subsidized evidence-based ECE programs in Doña Ana County increased from 28% to 36%.
The Doña Ana County ECE Coalition, one of the few ECE coalitions in the state with a paid coordinator, also advocated for funding for paid coordinators in other coalitions, resulting in 15 paid positions across the state.
In May 2022, New Mexico eased income restrictions for childcare assistance, allowing families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line ($111,000 for a family of four) to qualify for childcare assistance. Previously, assistance was limited to families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line (or $55,500 for a family of four).(1)
The ECE Coalition advocated for the formation of the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) and has been one of many groups partnering with ECECD as they launched during the pandemic. Among other efforts, the ECECD offers scholarships to early childhood educators, supporting their career path to education.(2) In addition to helping meet the demands for ECE providers, the ECECD scholarship program positively impacts women in New Mexico, who comprise the vast majority of the ECE workforce, including women of color (40% of the ECE workforce).(1) 
Final Thoughts
The Depths of Relationships survey suggests that the ECE Coalition has expanded its reach through collective impact. Since 2014, 30 additional organizations have joined the coalition to help increase access to high-quality early childhood education. Through at least 282 partnerships, coalition member organizations continue to share funding, personnel, and data; establish common goals and written agreements; communicate and collaborate; and increase one another's capacity for greater impact. The results of their work manifest locally and ripple throughout the state. 
  • Note 1: "Partnership" refers to the existence of any type of collaboration between two organizations. In the 2020 DOR Survey, participants were asked about subdivisions of Tresco, Department of Health, Aprendamos, and Community Action Agency which were not specified in 2014 and 2017. These subdivisions were grouped prior to analysis for a more accurate comparison of partnerships across years. Before grouping these subdivisions, the 2020 survey results show 349 partnerships.
  • Note 2: "Collaboration" refers to a particular activity reported between two partnerships, such as sharing data. Survey respondents were able to report eight unique types of collaborations. These included: sharing in funding with a joint grant; sharing personnel; sharing or receiving data; discussing common goals; having an existing MOU or written agreement; working together on a collaborative activity; being in communication; and feeling that interaction with another organization has increased their capacity for greater impact.
Center for Community Analysis | 575-646-3352 |
SUCCESS Partnership
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