United Way ATX helps launch the Success By 6 Coalition Strategic Plan

United Way for Greater Austin Launches

2019-2023 “Success By 6” Strategic Plan

Every day, an average of 38 babies are born in the Austin area. The Success By 6 (SX6) Coalition is working to ensure that each of these 38 brand-new Texans have an equal opportunity to thrive. SX6 is a coalition of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, philanthropists, business leaders and early childhood experts – working together on a community plan that reflects our collective wisdom and amplifies our collective voice.

On Wednesday, April 24, 2019 the SX6 Coalition will launch the next iteration of our community’s strategic plan and lay out their strategies and goals for the next 2,000 days. From 7:15 – 9 a.m. civic leaders, including Mayor Steve Adler, Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Council Member Kathie Tovo, early childhood education experts, policymakers and more will gather to celebrate the hard work and collaboration that went into creating the plan. Attendees will hear a keynote from The University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken over breakfast at the University of Texas Club.

Why a 2,000-day journey? Because research has proven that the first five years of a child’s life strongly influence the rest. Ninety percent of brain development happens within the 2,000 days from birth to Kindergarten, so an early childhood full of rich experiences is essential for happy, healthy children who are ready to succeed in school and life.

For the past seven years, SX6 has led this strategic plan [formerly the School Readiness ActionPlan], designed to coordinate community efforts and give every baby born in Austin/Travis County the best possible first 2,000 days. This next phase of the strategic plan looks forward to our community’s next 2,000 days to ensure all children born in Austin/Travis County receive the care they deserve during their essential 2,000 days.

“To date, our coalition has accomplished substantial progress, but we still have much to do,” Cathy McHorse, Vice President of Success By 6 with United Way for Greater Austin said. “Still today, only about half of all children in Austin and Travis County enter Kindergarten 2,000 days later with the firm foundation they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. “That’s why this work is so important. Every child should enter school ready to learn and thrive, and that’s exactly what this coalition is working toward,” said McHorse.

WHO: Success By 6 Coalition and United Way

Speakers: Chancellor James B. Milliken, The University of Texas System, John Cullen,

Partner at Capstar Partners, Jacquie Porter, Texas Education Agency Early Childhood

Director, Cathy McHorse, President of Success By 6, and David C. Smith, CEO of

United Way for Greater Austin.

WHAT: 2019-2023 Success By 6 Strategic Plan Launch

WHEN: Wednesday April 24 from 7:15 – 9 a.m.

WHERE: The University of Texas Club,

2108 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin, TX, 78712


  • There are almost 93,000 children younger than six living in Travis County, 37 percent –more than one in three – live in households with low income.
  • Only 35% of children under four from households with low income are receiving any early learning services at all.
  • Fewer than 40 percent of children from families with low income begin Kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.
  • And over 90 percent of children from families with low income are children of color.
  • SX6 has secured more than an additional $1 million dollars from the City of Austin to help fund family support services and direct childcare spots.
  • Since SX6 launched, enrollment in the Austin Independent School District’s Pre-K3 program has risen from just 30 young children to about 1,000 Austin-area kids.
  • 14,000 babies are born in Austin/Travis County each year. Research indicates that 95 percent of families had physical, mental or social-emotional health needs within the first few weeks of a baby’s birth.
  • 75 percent of African-American infants born in Austin/Travis County are born early and 12 percent are born at low birth-weight.
  • 20.7 percent of children under 18 – more than 1 in 5 – experience food insecurity.
  • 80 percent of single-parent families living with low-income are working either full- or part-time and are still unable to meet their basic needs.
  • The average annual cost of child care in Austin/Travis County is $10,000.
  • Across all childcare centers in our community, average childcare-worker earnings range from $10.67/hour to $14.07/hour – while the city of Austin’s living wage is $15/hour.
  • Children from households with low income who attend Pre-K are more than twice as likely to enter school ready.
  • Pre-K directors in all four Austin-area school districts – Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Manor ISD and Pflugerville ISD – are working together to move the needle of progress collectively forward.


Note: Families can be made available for media interviews.

“AVANCE believes children will soar when parents introduce education and other life skills early in the child’s life and make it a natural everyday activity in the home”.

-Marie Felan, AVANCE-Austin, SX6 Coalition member


“The City of Austin invests in early childhood programs because we want every child in this community to have the opportunities, education, and resources they need to thrive.”

-Council Member Kathie Tovo, District 9


“As a pediatrician and a mom of young children in Austin, I care about the health and development of the kids in our community. Success By 6 has child development at the heart of its mission. In short order children learn to crawl, walk, run, share, eat, and speak an entire language and sometimes two! In no other five-year period is so much expected of a person. The development of these fundamental skills makes all future learning possible. Success By 6 knows that nurtured children and supported families creates the foundation for strong, healthy, and successful communities.”

-Dr. Jennifer Duc, Assistant Clinical Professor, UT-Austin Pediatric Residency Program and Outpatient Pediatrician, CommUnityCare


“As UT-DMS faculty and a pediatrician at Community Care (FQHC), I have the privilege to care for some of Central Texas’ most medically and socially fragile children. What we know about these vulnerable and tender young individuals is that adversity & toxic stress is ubiquitous, unavoidable, and silently detrimental if not countered with safe, nurturing positive relationships and high-quality early childhood programs that foster resiliency in parents and families. United Way facilitates this mission by providing the meticulous, evidence-based scaffolding of support to the interventions that we as pediatric professionals have come to confidently rely upon to mitigate the negative sequelae of the hardships that can derail a child’s chance to thrive and


-Dr. Michelle Gallas, Assistant Clinical Professor, UT-Austin Pediatric Residency Program and Outpatient Pediatrician, CommUnityCare


“As pediatricians caring for Austin’s children and families for over a decade, we know that ensuring kids have supportive, nurturing caregivers and environments is the most important investment our community can make. Success By 6 provides an invaluable framework not only for Austin’s families, but also for us pediatric providers! We know that most of what drives optimal health and well-being, from infancy through toddler hood and beyond does not happen in the clinic, but in all those places children grow and play, from the home to schools and playgrounds. We rely on Success By 6 Coalition members’ high-quality programs to provide the places, safe spaces and opportunities for children and families to thrive and become the best version of themselves possible! Optimal early brain and child development happens when kids are nurtured by compassionate and available adults in a community that values equity and opportunity.”

-Dr. Tara Greendyk, Assistant Clinical Professor, UT-Austin Pediatric Residency Program and Outpatient Pediatrician, CommUnityCare


“Investing in the growth and wellbeing of our youngest community members benefits us at every level. Children who have strong social-emotional skills are vastly more likely to become healthy, productive, successful adults.”

-Chloe Picot-Jacobs, Austin Child Guidance Center, SX6 Coalition member.


“‘Education is the great equalizer.’ Horace Mann said it, and I believe it – we’re investing in a future for everyone. Everybody benefits from free Pre-K because we’re lifting our students up to be on equal academic footing, and that can only serve to raise us all.

-Dolores McDonald, Teacher, Austin ISD Pre-K3


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