Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa (BEST)

Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa (BEST)

Blue Meridian Partners

The Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa is a community-wide collaboration to build a continuum of services for the poorest children in Tulsa County, OK.

The Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa (BEST) is an initiative spearheaded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to provide a comprehensive continuum of evidence-based programs and other services to low-income children from before conception to age eight, and to their families.

Approximately 40,000 children under nine years of age live in or near poverty in Tulsa County, OK. A barrage of daily challenges threatens their cognitive and social-emotional development. BEST is a structured collaboration of multiple programs and services designed to help families and caregivers break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Core components of this seamless continuum are evidence-based programs of other Blue Meridian Partners grantees.

The initiative’s goal is to increase the percentages of healthy births and of children who are raised in safe and nurturing homes, ready for kindergarten, and succeeding in school by the third grade. Increasing the supply of and access to quality programs and services, connecting families to them, and investing in talent, public awareness, integrated data, and shared leadership and governance will significantly improve the odds for life success for Tulsa’s poorest children.

BEST also presents an opportunity to explore the applicability and adaptability of such an initiative to other cities across America. By distilling which interventions are most effective for the greatest number of children, it will identify which elements of the initiative are most critical and compelling for replication elsewhere.

In 2017, Blue Meridian Partners invested $31 million over two years to help fund the first phase of the Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa and reach 17,000 children annually who live in or near poverty.