Giving Compass' Take:

Novak Djokovic, tennis superstar, is also a funder for early childhood development research at Harvard University where scientists are studying ways to improve children's lives.

The author mentions that the fame of Djokovic helps bring investors that might not otherwise care about this issue. In what other ways can celebrities advance philanthropy and research?

Read more about how to make an impact on early childhood adverse experiences.

Novak Djokovic has been battling in the Australian Open this week. But the tennis superstar has other goals that have nothing to do with sport, but much to do with his own childhood.

His foundation is funding four researchers per year at Harvard University to work on early years education. Their research at the leading US university's Centre on the Developing Child is focused on ways to improve the lives of young children, often those facing poverty and violence.

"Growing up in a war-torn country is not easy on anyone, most of all the children," said Mr Djokovic. "They don't have the coping mechanism as adults do and the impact of toxic environments on their life is tremendous.

The initial aim of the Novak Djokovic Foundation was to build pre-schools and support teacher training in Serbia. But the partnership with Harvard began after a meeting in late 2015 between the foundation's chief executive Alberto Lidji and the research centre's director, Jack Shonkoff.

"There are a lot of gaps within the body of knowledge on early childhood development and we realised that if we could deploy some of our resources to help to fill them, that would drive the field forward," he said.

The name recognition and fame of the tennis player helped to open doors, said Mr Lidji, connecting with "stakeholders who would otherwise not be engaged in early childhood development".

"People thought that because none of us can remember our experiences as babies, the early years don't matter much," he said. "We now know that what happens very early in life can have a lasting effect on lifelong outcomes on school performance and physical and mental health," he said.

Read the full article about early childhood development research by Matt Pickles at BBC