Help Me Grow

How does the original site of a multi-state initiative transform itself into a national center and develop a plan for national reach and impact?


Help Me Grow was established in 1998 in Connecticut, and in 2008 it received funding from The Commonwealth Fund to expand to five states. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation then provided Help Me Grow with support to expand to an additional 10 states. Like other organizations trying to increase their social impact, Help Me Grow recognized the need to develop a business plan to grow strategically and with long-term sustainability in mind.

In particular, Help Me Grow wanted to better understand how to build a sustainable national center, as well as what specific activities the center would undertake to support a growing network of states. Help Me Grow leadership also wanted to define the optimal relationship between the states and the national center, and develop a long-term strategy for financial sustainability nationally and within the states.

Project Overview

Root Cause worked with Help Me Grow to write a strategic business plan to guide the national expansion, the creation of the Help Me Grow National Center, and the development of a sustainable model for future growth and impact. As part of this, our consultants worked with the leadership team to articulate the major strategies of the National Center and define the core components and structural requirements of the Help Me Grow system. Consultants also developed a step-by-step action plan and financial model for the National Center.

Root Cause subsequently supported implementation of the business plan by helping to assess the National Center’s progress, developing an updated action plan, and advising National Center leadership on a strategy for earning revenue.


At the start of our engagement, Help Me Grow was in a total of seven states. Today, Help Me Grow is in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Help Me Grow is widely recognized by multiple federal agencies for its innovative approach to the promotion of children’s optimal healthy development through systemic change, and has been integrated into major national initiatives including the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Project LAUNCH, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. In addition, Help Me Grow’s partnership with the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Strengthening Families resulted in a research project addressing the efficacy of Help Me Grow success in promoting optimal child development by enhancing protective factors.

Dr. Paul Dworkin, director of the Help Me Grow National Center, has been invited to participate in events all around the country. He recently gave a TEDx talk in Connecticut and attended the White House “Building Ladders of Opportunity” forum hosted by the White House for 120 national leaders in health, economics, public policy, and civil rights.

Relevant expertise and smart problem solving tools.
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