Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC), a community movement committed to improving educational outcomes, has received the first installment of a $1,545,000 grant from The Duke Endowment, one of the largest private foundations in the Southeast.

The grant will be used to support continuous improvement coaching for early childhood providers in the Charleston area. Nearly $500,000 has been awarded so far, with the balance to be paid in increments through 2020.

“We are deeply grateful for The Duke Endowment’s financial support and confidence in our work,” said Anita Zucker, chair of the TCCC board. “This grant will put momentum behind our efforts and is a great opportunity to share a successful tool with other organizations working to improve the lives of children.”

In 2014, TCCC created and deployed the Tri-County Regional Improvement Process (TRIP!) across its networks, consortia and project teams to guide collaborative work. Trident United Way, a fellow non-profit organization with an early childhood focus, adopted TRIP! as the foundation for its own continuous improvement culture.

TCCC will use funding from The Duke Endowment to expand and deepen the tools available within TRIP! and train 10 other non-profit organizations to use the process.

To oversee the further development of TRIP! and its deployment across the region, TCCC has hired Chris McNally as the director of continuous improvement.

McNally has been deeply engaged in improvement work for the past six years with The Boeing Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from McDaniel College in Westminster, Md. and a master’s degree in health information management from The Citadel.

“Chris will oversee the creation of an in-depth TRIP! manual and training syllabus then recruit and certify other non-profit organizations to adopt the tool,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “His skills and experience make him a key addition to the TCCC staff, and I look forward to seeing TRIP! grow under his leadership.”

The Duke Endowment awards grants to fulfill its founder’s vision to nurture children, promote health, educate minds and enrich spirits. In October, the Endowment announced a strategic emphasis on children ages zero to eight.

“The Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative has shown great civic vision in seeking a unified effort to boost early childhood outcomes,” said Meka Sales, Director of Special Initiatives for The Duke Endowment. “We believe its push for a stronger culture of data and improvement can be a model for similar initiatives in the Carolinas.”

Based in Charlotte, N.C., and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has awarded more than $3.4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but they are separate organizations.

The Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) is a community-wide movement in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, South Carolina focused on improving the quality of life of its citizens and its workforce through education. Using data and focused community collaboration across a continuum from “cradle-to-career,” TCCC serves as a catalyst for widespread systemic change, with the ultimate goal of increased student success and economic prosperity for all.