Dear YCF Summit Participant:

We are delighted that you are planning to join us in Seattle for the 2013 National Summit on Your City’s Families on November 12-14, 2013, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel (1400 Sixth Avenue; 206-621-9000).  By participating in the Summit, you will have the chance to learn from and share ideas with other municipal leaders and their community partners from cities and towns all across America.  I hope you will arrive in Seattle prepared to jump into a wide range of productive and thought-provoking conversations.  We have prepared an exciting program for you (see attached file for preliminary schedule of events), and we look forward to your contributions during the Summit as we examine new opportunities to improve outcomes for children and families by leading and managing for results.

I am writing to you today to let you know that your opportunities for engagement in the interactive portions of the Summit can begin immediately!  During the Summit, we will be asking participants to contribute their most innovative and creative ideas on how municipal governments can improve outcomes for children and families.  However, you don’t have to wait for Seattle to share your best ideas with us – you can take just a few minutes and add your thoughts to our Idea Bank right now by clicking here and submitting your suggestions online.  You can also follow NLC at @leagueofcities and tweet your ideas at #ideaYCFSummit.  On Facebook, LIKE our page and share your most innovative ideas on our wall.

You have another chance to jumpstart our Summit discussions by participating now in our process to define “benchmarks” for city success in critical areas associated with the well-being of children and families.  In concurrent sessions on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 13, we will solicit input from participants to two related questions: “What does success look like?” and “How do we know if we’re doing a really good job meeting the needs of children and families in our city?” The ideas emerging from these benchmarking sessions will be shared broadly with all Summit participants, and the YEF Institute will use them as guideposts in its work during the coming years.

These facilitated and highly interactive conversations will be organized around the four central goals highlighted in NLC’s City Platform for Children and Families – opportunities to learn and grow, a safe neighborhood to call home, a healthy lifestyle and environment, and a financial fit family in which to thrive. Please take a moment to click on one or more of these goals below and share with us your thoughts on the most important elements of effective city efforts:

Finally, you can choose to prepare for another aspect of your Summit experience now by finding time to read one of the most thought-provoking new books on child/youth development and educational achievement – Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed, which makes the case for the importance of noncognitive skills such as persistence, curiosity, grit and self-confidence as factors in young people’s success.  Those interested in discussing the book will have the chance to get together as part of the Summit’s “open space” conversations at the end of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Of course, we have lots of other great things in store for you at the Summit.  Noteworthy highlights from the program include:

  • Interactive peer learning sessions will begin even before the Summit formally opens, with two-hour networking sessions organized around four key topics: education/afterschool, early childhood development, juvenile justice, and family economic success.

  • The Summit’s opening general session will feature Allan Golston, president of the United States Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Mr. Golston will share lessons learned from the Foundation’s work in education reform and public libraries as well as insights on multi-sector partnerships and the role of public sector leaders – including mayors, library directors, school administrators and other local officials – in meeting the needs of children, youth and families.

  • The Summit’s opening session will also feature a high-profile panel of mayors and public library directors who are working together to achieve better results for children and families in their cities. Panelists will include: Saint Paul (Minn.) Mayor and NLC First Vice President Chris Coleman; Hartford (Conn.) Mayor Pedro Segarra; Saint Paul Public Library Director Katherine (Kit) G. Hadley; and Hartford Public Library Chief Executive Officer Matt Poland.

  • Both the opening general session and the welcoming reception that follows on Tuesday, November 12, will be held jointly with the Urban Libraries Council’s Partners for Success conference, offering an exciting chance to connect with leaders from dozens of public libraries in major cities.

  • As previously announced, Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity in education and the most-watched TED Conference speaker of all-time, will give the keynote address for a second joint session of the Summit and ULC’s Partner’s for Success conference on the morning of Wednesday, November 13.

If you have any questions regarding the Summit, please do not hesitate to contact Sharie Wood, the Institute’s senior meeting and event planning coordinator, via e-mail at or by phone at 202/626-3087.  On behalf of the entire staff of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, we look forward to welcoming you and learning alongside you in Seattle.

Best wishes,

Clifford M. Johnson, Executive Director,
Institute for Youth, Education, & Families