Guided by our mission, vision, and values of social justice and equal access to opportunity, we concentrate our efforts on supporting children and their families during a child’s early years. We aim to increase access to high-quality early childhood development experiences that prepare all children to succeed emotionally, physically, and academically.
We believe that providing high-quality learning, health, and economic supports to families and children before birth and through their early years offers the best opportunity to influence children’s future trajectories. Research shows that effective early interventions for undeserved children can promote positive development, increase opportunity, and greatly reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes later in life, such as disease, unemployment, and incarceration.
Yet too few children who could benefit are not getting these supports. We know that only 2.2. million children–fewer than half of the 4.6 million children in poverty under the age of six–have access to early learning programs. For example, from 2012 to 2016, 60 percent of three- and four-year-old children living significantly below the federal poverty level in the United States were not enrolled in preschool. Research also demonstrates the impact a parent’s education, economic stability, and overall health has on a child’s learning and development trajectory. For example, studies show that an extra $3,000 in parents’ annual income when their child is young often leads to a 17 percent increase in the child’s future earnings. For these reasons, we support two-generation approaches (targeting parents and children) to early childhood work at the national level, focused on increasing access to quality early childhood interventions for families who are least likely to have these opportunities.
Specifically, we have funded evidence-based service programs, advocacy to effect policy change at the state and federal levels, work to advance and connect early childhood data systems and infrastructure, efforts to improve the quality of early care and education, and research that can advance the field. We also make mission related investments (MRIs) from the foundation’s corpus to advance early childhood success through health, education, and community development. We prioritize impact and mission alignment in our investments and aim to provide flexible, patient capital to develop the field of early childhood investing.