America faces great challenges as we approach the year 2026 – the 250th anniversary of our nation’s founding. Communities across our country have struggled to confront systemic problems such as:
- Education disparities – the average performance levels for students in the least socioeconomically advantaged districts are at least four grade levels below students in the most socioeconomically advantaged districts 
- Deteriorating public health - life expectancy of Americans is now below the OECD (Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation) average and the U.S. has the highest prevalence of obesity in the developed world 
- Inequalities in economic opportunity - 40-45 million Americans live in poverty  and smaller cities, towns and rural areas are particularly suffering, with average annual incomes about $54,000 less than larger metropolitan areas. 
Moreover, efforts to address these and other critical issues are often carried out in silos and without a solid, proactive framework for cross-sector collaboration and performance excellence among key players and stakeholders.
The ongoing challenges that are prevalent throughout our country must be tackled with systemic thinking and action, collaboration and cooperation, and a commitment to performance excellence at the community level.