We have an emerging body of evidence demonstrating the critical importance of the earliest years, and how cost-effective it is to invest at that point. The achievement gap between low-income children and their higher-resourced peers appears during their first year. Some early childhood programs studied by Nobel laureate James Heckman produce double digit returns on investment, outperforming the S&P 500. Are we mortgaging our future as a nation by not investing in early childhood?
Changing how our country supports families and children is not easy. Only eight percent of our federal budget supports children, who make up nearly a quarter of the population in the US. They also are our most vulnerable population because they cannot care for themselves and they are more likely to be poor. Children in the US are more than twice as likely to be living in poverty as seniors, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.
Despite the politically charged environment of the past 24 months, early childhood is one of the few issues in our country that continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support.”
If you search here on Giving Compass, you’ll find everyone from conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, to National Public Radio advocating for more, higher-quality early care and education.
Two of our partners, The Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) and Bridgespan supported by J.B. Pritzker Foundation have developed significant resources to guide donors who want to help young children. If you are just getting oriented to this issue and ways you can engage, start with the CHIP toolkit.
Through this resource, you can learn about the brain research and other evidence that makes early childhood a high-impact giving priority.
You also can take action: in each of the three strategies they profile:
- Create a web of support,
- Provide great places to learn,
- Prepare kids to be strong readers
For each, CHIP offers up a comprehensive list of organizations doing measurable and meaningful work that you can support. The toolkit also helps you connect with others, as it highlights key players who are leaders in this space, including funders.
Before and during a child’s first two years of life we have a unique window in time to jumpstart a lifetime of positive health, education, and social outcomes. As a nation, we cannot afford to mortgage our future by not investing today. Join the movement!
Stephanie Fuerstner Gillis is a Strategy Advisor for Giving Compass and Senior Advisor for the Impact Driven Philanthropy Initiative at the Raikes Foundation
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Looking for a way to get involved?
Early Childhood is a fascinating topic, and others found these events, galas, conferences and volunteering opportunities aggregated by Giving Compass to be relevant for individuals with a passion for Early Childhood.
Are you ready to give?
If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Early Childhood, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Early Childhood.