Contact: Ed Hatcher
George Gund Foundation
Announce Early Childhood Initiative in Four States
in Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio to Receive $350,000 Each
Washington, D.C., August 27,
2002 – Early childhood partnerships in four states — Illinois, New Jersey,
Ohio and Minnesota — will receive $350,000 each to develop state-specific
strategies for improving early learning opportunities for children ages birth
initial two-year awards are part of a national initiative being launched by 11
members of the Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative (ECFC), a consortium of
national and local foundations. The initiative, known as “Build”, seeks to
support policymakers, providers and advocates who are committed to ensuring the
positive development of very young children.
programs and services exist today for young children and their families, yet
they often operate in isolation, sometimes at cross purposes, and frequently
without enough resources to meet critical needs,” said Barbara Gebhard,
project director for the Build Initiative.
four state grants, she said, will be used to connect and strengthen those
programs and services so there can be a continuum of care and learning
opportunities available for all children, from birth through age five. “We
want to help these states build a coordinated system that is responsive to the
needs of families and that can increase the likelihood that our youngest
children will be safe, eager to learn, and ready to succeed in school.”
four states were chosen based on a range of criteria, including their readiness
to build comprehensive systems of early care and education.
Gebhard said that $175,000 will be dispersed to each state partnership
team before December and the remaining $175,000 will be paid by May 2004 after
the team raises matching resources.
nothing more important in the State of Ohio than the future of our youngest
children,” said Marcia Egbert, Senior Program Officer for The George Gund
Foundation and a member of the Build executive committee. “Hopefully Build
will spark greater public investment in the healthy development of kids from
birth to through 5. We need to make
it easier for parents to find and choose quality child care and early learning
programs for their children.”
Ohio is building on a
good track record for supporting its youngest citizens and their families.
With programs like Help Me Grow, the emerging standards for pre-K
education from the Ohio Department of Education, the pending implementation of
the T.E.A.C.H. pilot program in Cuyahoga and Stark counties which provides
scholarships and bonuses for early childhood caregivers to further their
education, and a substantial state commitment to Head Start, there’s much to
build on across Ohio.
teams are being formalized in each state and will include state agency
officials, business and community leaders, parents, advocates, and others who
work with young children. Each team will develop a plan by mid-November that
will be submitted to the Build Initiative.
said nationally recognized early childhood experts will assist the four teams in
the development, implementation and evaluation of their plans. The teams will
learn from each other at joint meetings and will then share their findings and
want to be a catalyst for change on the state level, but we also want to
generate ideas and create a pathway for a deeper understanding of the issue,”
said that the impetus for the initiative and the four state grant awards grew
out of recent research showing that children do much of their most important
learning in their first years.
neurological, educational and child development research findings all clearly
demonstrate how important the early years are in determining whether or not a
child will eventually succeed in school,” Gebhard said. “Especially for
children from disadvantaged backgrounds, positive early care and education
experiences can make a tremendous difference. The Build Initiative is all about
trying to give kids a strong start in life.”
ECFC was established in 1995 to share information about successful program and
policy interventions in early childhood education and identify opportunities for
strategic partnerships. Foundations
participating in the Build Initiative include the Caroline and Sigmund Schott
Foundation, George Gund Foundation, Lucent Technologies Foundation, Harris
Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, A.L.
Mailman Family Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Tribune
Foundation, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, and The David and Lucile Packard
Gund Foundation has contributed $400,000 to the first phase of this national
information about the Build Initiative, go to our website: www.BuildInitiative.org
full website will be coming this Fall.)