Food for Thought on Fatherhood Programs

National Fatherhood Summit


This week I will head to the National Fatherhood Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. I am honored that while at Courtland, I have been involved with Fatherhood Programs providing research and evaluation, as a  member of advisory boards, and as outreach and supporter of the former Michigan Fatherhood Coalition.  I have observed a wide variety of data analytics, many of which are pointed at the positive impact for children with involved fathers and successful co-parenting. I am excited to connect with my colleagues in this area who are committed to exploring ways to support and promote responsible fatherhood. Here are some of my thoughts on who in your community can help with your Fatherhood Programs.

It’s important when designing fatherhood programs to think of the comprehensive social change that can result and how to magnify its impact. Fatherhood programs are completely dependent on partnerships. The partners must include diverse representation from multiple gateways. Consider seven social gateways to help identify partners and services offered by future fatherhood programs. Consider engaging representatives from each of these gateways to participate on an advisory board and utilize their teams/locations within the community to host workshops intended to provide a means of navigating your fatherhood program and services.

Seven Social Gateways

  • Families: Co-parenting education paired w/family-centered services, involves community-based organizations such as YMCA, Metropolitan Community Action Agencies, and local Family Rec Centers.
  • Churches & Ministries: Working with a variety local churches who already provide family-centered services can broaden perspectives and faith-based programs are an option for serving many families.
  • Government & Law: Identify ways to seek to glean wisdom from elected/appointed officials, government leaders and judges who can use their abilities to problem solve for the fatherhood program.
  • Education & Science: Engage administrators with data for k-12 and colleges, universities and trade schools to get them involved in conducting research, providing education, training and help with outreach and advertisement of fatherhood issues.
  • Business & Economics: Make contacts with national and local businesses, including private employers, banks, investment firms, commerce organizations and identify how their offerings can benefit fatherhood programs.
  • Media & Communications: Utilize advertising and marketing firms, media firms, TV and radio stations to provide consistent and relevant communication about program offerings and engage continually to promote fatherhood and healthy families. Develop blogs, chat rooms, FB, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat presence to provide a 360° online presence and circulate contact information and statistics.
  • Arts & Entertainment: Fatherhood programs can provide great inspiration for artists, art galleries, art instructors, musicians, music instructors, and local theaters


Perhaps this gateway approach will spark exciting ideas as you plan new fatherhood programs. Please contact me, Sharon Pizzuti, Executive Director for Courtland Consulting at or at 517-908-3843 to continue the conversation.