UW-Parkside Profile: Building Our Future with Tatjana Bicanin ’00

Published: May 24, 2021
By: UW-Parkside Communications

Building Our Future (BOF) is a network of community leaders representing all sectors of Kenosha County committed to improving student outcomes with a vision of everyone achieving personal potential from cradle to career. Led by first-generation graduate and Parkside alum, Tatjana Bicanin ’00, BOF recently published its 2020 Annual Impact Report, to capture the milestones and bright spots of the partnership.

As BOF grows each year, Tatjana envisions a community in which every child has the opportunity and supports to succeed in school and in life, regardless of race, ethnicity, zip code or income. Follow along to learn more about BOF and the partnership with UW-Parkside.

1. What are some of the key takeaways that you want people to learn from the report?

Building Our Future is continuously grateful and humbled by the more than 350 partners, who have given their time, talents, and resources to make our tagline a true reality: community unites, students succeed, everyone prospers. Throughout the report, we highlight accomplishments, changes in the way Kenosha County works, and bright spots that illuminate the continued success of this partnership. Building Our Future is so much more than a small team of staff members; it’s a partnership with the idea that Kenosha County can create an even brighter future through its children and community – and this is impossible without the dedication and hard work of our stakeholders.

2. You said, "At BOF, our role is to be an ally and champion for equity and to build collective clarity around what’s needed to advance sustainable systems change." How can we all do that in our community?

Everyone in Kenosha County has a role in centering racial equity. It starts with examining your role in the system as a participant: as member of the community, as a person in your career, as a person with your relationships. Ask yourself, who and what can you influence, and can these actions take place in alignment with others? Our commitment to equity – access to the same opportunities – is not about new programs, but about alleviating systemic barriers that prevent every child and young person from seizing opportunity to realize their full potential.  

3. How has the relationship with BOF and UW-Parkside grown and how do you hope to see it grow in the future?

UW-Parkside plays a critical role in aligning efforts and resources to ensure every community member has the opportunity to succeed and support themselves and their families. We value the trust UW-Parkside has put in our collective work and we are grateful to have the continued support from Chancellor Ford and colleagues as not only a thought partner, but also an investor. This relationship will only grow as work towards supporting the long-term vision we collectively share: that together, we can build equitable economic mobility, anchored in academic achievement, that builds strong futures for every individual. Furthermore, by working together we will reach Parkside’s Bold Goal of increasing the number of graduates by 50% by 2025. BOF was proud to be a community partner in UW-Parkside’s Talent Hub work in partnership with Gateway Technical College these past three years.

4. What role do you see BOF playing in the future of Kenosha County?

Building Our Future is creating a new culture of collaboration, accountability, and trust. Nothing miraculous happens from individual effort. It takes all of us – strong partners, community members, local investors, government officials, educators, businesses, parents and children to improve educational outcomes from cradle to career. Building Our Future will continue to serve as a backbone entity for Kenosha County collective impact work – connect the community’s diverse assets, build the capability of our partners to address root-cause issues with powerful strategies, implement continuous improvement, and hold each other accountable. 

To read the 2020 Impact Report, please click here. UW-Parkside is proud to partner with BOF and assist in the printing of the Impact Report through Creative Services. To learn more about the Building Our Future and its mission, click here.

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