East Side Aligned

In a Nutshell

East Side Aligned is not an organization or program. It is how we refer to the Collective Impact process happening within the greater East St. Louis area to improve outcomes for young people. The process works to align policy, practice and investment across sectors to ensure all children and youth are supported and ready for life.

Project Information


East Side Aligned is not an organization or program. It is the name of the Collective Impact process happening within the greater East St. Louis area to ensure all children and youth are supported and ready for life.

The Collective Impact approach understands that no single organization can create large scale, lasting social change alone. Lasting solutions are born and bred when organizations coordinate their efforts around clearly defined goals. East Side Aligned creates links between people, organizations and systems to collaboratively tackle complex issues affecting young people.

Watch this video to get an overview of the Collective Impact approach.

United Way of Greater St. Louis serves as the backbone support organization for East Side Aligned. As backbone, United Way:

  • Guides Vision & Strategy
  • Supports Mutually Reinforcing Activities
  • Establishes Shared Measurement Practices
  • Builds Public Will
  • Advances Policy
  • Mobilizes Funding


Right now, people representing diverse sectors – from education to business to healthcare to government – and constituencies – neighborhood associations, faith community, and most importantly, youth – are coming together through East Side Aligned to change the trajectory of a generation.

Below are existing coalitions that actively living out Collective Impact principles and practices.

East Side Works aims to increase postsecondary degree and credential attainment through developing a local, comprehensive college and career pathway systems aligned with Illinois Pathways. East Side Works hosts an online platform to provide students with meaningful work-based learning opportunities and mentoring relationships with local employers.

Greater East St. Louis Early Learning Partnership works to strengthen and sustain a high quality early childhood education system in Greater East St. Louis.  The Partnership envisions a community where every child has the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for kindergarten success.  

Greater East St. Louis Youth Coordinating Council is a coalition of out-of-school-time service provider working to ensure all youth have access to quality programs and safe, supportive and productive environments to help move them out of poverty.

Healthy Start Consortium works to improve birth outcomes by addressing issues of infant mortality, low birth weight, and racial disparities in perinatal health. The consortium strives to help women have a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

Make Health Happen

St. Clair County Health Care Commission

St. Clair County Juvenile Justice Council

St. Clair County Youth Coalition



2025 Goal
All children and youth within Greater East St. Louis will be:

  • Healthy & Safe in their Environments
  • Socially Connected & Emotionally Secure
  • Successful in School, College & Work
  • Positively Engaged in their Community


Toll-Free: 844-372-2025
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Collective impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem. It is a significant shift from the social sector’s current paradigm of "isolated impact." There is no "silver bullet" solution to systemic social problems, and these problems cannot be solved by simply scaling or replicating one organization or program. Strong organizations are necessary but not sufficient for large-scale social change.

Collective impact is more rigorous and specific than collaboration among organizations. There are five conditions that, together, lead to meaningful results from collective impact:

  1. Common Agenda: All participants share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed-upon actions.
  2. Shared Measurement: All participating organizations agree on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a short list of common indicators identified and used for learning and improvement.
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: A diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinate a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
  4. Continuous Communication: All players engage in frequent and structured open communication to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
  5. Backbone Support: An independent, funded staff dedicated to the initiative provides ongoing support by guiding the initiative’s vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing resources.

To learn more, visit:
The Collective Impact Forum
Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement