Giving Compass' Take:

• The Potts Family Foundation share their strategies for success in promoting early childhood well-being that are rooted in using voice, bringing together key experts and stakeholders, and catalyzing change through legislation. 

• How can other foundations foster similar strategies and hone them to fit their own missions? 

• Read about different ways your family foundation can increase impact. 

We at the Potts Family Foundation in Oklahoma feel our most important role is not as a funder but as an advocate, convener, and catalyst. Foundations—including those with a few staff like ours—have a reputation, access, voice, convening power, and passion. Let’s use them to move people to action!

Our activities are part of an effort to raise our state from near bottom to among the top 25 in markers of early childhood well-being by 2025. To address these concerns, the foundation created OK25by25, an early childhood coalition. Progress is being tracked on an annual basis with the help of some 60 organizational members.

Here is some of what our foundation does:

• Using Our Voice: So your grant dollars don’t go far? Then be little but loud! Using your voice with people of influence can move others to action, be they business leaders, fellow funders, or policymakers. You have credibility (earned or not) just by virtue of being a funder. That voice can be through social media, newspaper editorials, presentations to civic groups, and other means. You can involve volunteer spokespersons, training and supporting them in their role as advocates. You can engage expertise and influence on behalf of your cause.

• Bringing Others Together: We have been convening experts and learners around greater investment in early childhood education for six years now. In the process, we’ve planned annual conferences, civic group speaking engagements, and legislators reading at child care and Head Start centers.

• Catalyzing Change: We were able to secure passage of legislation creating a task force to make recommendations on best practices to mitigate the impact of trauma on Oklahoma children and advance hope-centered therapy and coping skills.

Read the full article about Potts Family Foundation by Kim Adkinson at Exponent Philanthropy.