The Bridges Collaborative

NestQuest Houston selected as Inaugural Member of The Bridges Collaborative, A Nationwide Initiative to Advance Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Education. The first-of-its-kind collaboration connects 56 school and housing groups from 21 states, covering 3.5 million children; Represents the most significant grassroots effort focused on school integration in decades. 

NestQuest Houston Inc announced today that it was selected to join the inaugural cohort of The Bridges Collaborative, a first-of-its kind grassroots initiative to advance racial and socioeconomic integration and equity in America’s schools. The Bridges Collaborative, which officially launches this week, is coordinated by The Century Foundation (TCF), a national think tank that has helped steer the conversation on school integration for decades. The collaborative is unique in the world of K-12 education for its size, diversity, and mission. 

NestQuest Houston is joining 55 other organizations—including 27 school districts, 17 charter schools, and 12 housing organizations—which together represent more than 3.5 million children nationwide. Together, the collaborative spans more than 20 states and includes representatives from three of the five largest school districts in the country, along with other organizations of varying size, geographies, and student demographics. Other members of the cohort from Texas include Inclusive Communities Project (ICP), Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, and Dallas Housing Authority.

NestQuest’s mission is to improve access to great housing and exceptional education for low income families who receive Housing Choice Vouchers. NestQuest’s ultimate goal is to end segregation in schools based upon income. NestQuest Houston specializes in helping low income families secure long term housing located near to high ranking schools. NestQuest’s involvement in the collaborative will help to highlight the importance of stable housing on educational achievement.

“NestQuest Houston is thrilled to be joining this impressive group of organizations working around the country to ensure that all of our students benefit from the promise of public education,” said Isabel Lopez, Executive Director at NestQuest Houston. “This year has not been easy for students, particularly those who have access to fewer educational resources. We know that any effort to achieve successful school integration will not occur in a vacuum, which is why we are especially excited about the chance to connect with and learn from other housing organizations and school leaders. We are doing this for Houston’s children and for our community’s future.”

This unprecedented effort comes at a pivotal moment for the cause of school integration. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the myriad positive benefits for students who attend diverse and integrated schools, including higher test scores, higher graduation rates, and a host of positive social and civic outcomes. Despite the clear benefits, however, progress on integration has been extremely limited in recent decades—although those trends are beginning to change, especially with growing awareness on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on students and schools.

Over the next two years, the collaborative will serve as a hub for practitioners from across the country, providing school and housing leaders the opportunity to learn from one another, build grassroots momentum, and develop successful approaches for integration. The initiative is led by Stefan Louis Lallinger, who most recently served as a Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and is a former school principal in New Orleans. Lallinger’s grandfather, Louis Redding, was a lawyer who argued the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, before the Supreme Court in 1954.

“Never before has there been an organization like the Bridges Collaborative. The sheer breadth and depth of knowledge and experience represented by the 56 groups in this cohort sends a clear message: we will deliver the high-quality, integrated school experience that the next generation deserves,” said Stefan Lallinger, Director of the Bridges Collaborative at TCF. “COVID-19 and the racial reckoning we’re experiencing underscore that the fight for racial and economic justice is far from over. To have any shot at winning that fight, we must first tackle the rampant inequities and segregation in our nation’s education system. That’s exactly what the Bridges Collaborative was built for.” 

For more background, see the following resources:

A full list of the inaugural members of the Bridges Collaborative is below. 

Inaugural Members of Bridges Collaborative (56 total


  • Tucson Unified School District


  • Citizens of the World Charter School
  • City Charter Schools
  • High Tech High
  • Larchmont Charter
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Yu Ming Charter Schools


  • Colorado Springs School District 11
  • DSST Public Schools
  • Roaring Fork School District


  • Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) 
  • ELM City Communities (The Housing Authority of the City of New Haven)
  • New Haven Housing Authority (Elm City)
  • Elm City Montessori
  • Hamden School District
  • Hartford Public Schools
  • New Haven Public Schools


  • Miami Dade Public Schools


  • Housing Choice Partners


  • Enroll Indy


  • Jefferson County Public Schools


  • Housing NOLA
  • Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle Orléans


  • Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership (BRHP)
  • City Neighbors
  • Howard County Public Schools
  • Montgomery County Public Schools


  • Boston Collegiate Charter School
  • Cambridge Public Schools
  • The Metropolitan Council for Education Opportunity (METCO)
  • Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)


  • HousingLink


  • City Garden Montessori
  • Urban Strategies, Inc.

New York

  • Compass Charter School
  • KIPP Beyond Middle School
  • Prospect Charter Schools
  • The Renaissance Charter Schools
  • NYC Department of Education 
  • NYC Community School District #1 (Manhattan)
  • NYC Community School District #13 (Brooklyn)

North Carolina

  • Central Park School for Children
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Schools
  • Wake County Public Schools
  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District
  • Inlivian (Charlotte Housing Authority)


  • Shaker Heights Public School District


  • Philadelphia School District

Rhode Island

  • Blackstone Valley Prep


  • Dallas Independent School District 
  • Fort Worth Independent School District
  • Dallas Housing Authority
  • Inclusive Communities Project (ICP)
  • NestQuest Houston


  • Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services


  • Milwaukee Public Schools