In order to fulfill its mission of middle-grades education reform, the Mid South Middle Start initiative works with schools, organizations, and institutions to improve the social and academic outcomes of students aged 10-14. A vital element of this endeavor is the creation of linkages by the core group of organizational partners with relevant people and groups to promote and sustain middle-grades reform. The concept of building strategic alliances borrows ideas from the best practices of successful collaborations and partnerships by bringing together people and institutions around a set of needs and goals that are addressed with resources, activities, events, and products. Given a shared understanding of the mission and sufficient diffusion of knowledge, skills, contacts, and resources, alliances perform the following functions for their members: (1) Enlarge the mission to make it a more collective one; (2) Foster a spirit of camaraderie; (3) Enlarge the pool of thinkers and doers; (4) Expand the resource base; (5) Broaden the base of ideas, knowledge, resources, and supports; (6) Increase publicity and accessibility to school reform services; and (7) Build the infrastructure for implementation and sustainability. This report, based on documentation and interviews conducted between 2000 and 2003, presents highlights of the strategic alliance-building process in the Mid South Middle Start initiative. Some of these were developed by design; others developed though a less intentional process of creating opportunities that later became the foundation for a strategic alliance. The core partners and strategic allies of Mid South Middle Start have successfully implemented a school reform effort focused on middle-grades education in three states, sparking interest, increasing awareness, and building capacity in the Mid South for comprehensive changes in the education and social lives of youth ages 10-14. Building these strategic alliances with education-related individuals, institutions, and organizations was a conscious agenda of this initiative that has resulted in effective alliance-building, with the potential for more team-building, inter-initiative linkages, and effective partnerships. Core partners worked together, receiving and giving information, making decisions, making grants, and providing services, data, and other feedback in ways to engender good public relations, regional exposure, and the mutually beneficial involvement of a variety of organizations, institutions, and individuals, as described throughout this report. As a result, participating schools now have access to support and expertise from alliance members, and long-term connections and commitments can be expected in all relevant sectors as these linkages are nurtured and connected. In effect, the alliances are an investment that will help maintain and sustain the broad-based comprehensive nature of Mid South Middle Start.