The Investment Will Fuel Powerful and Diverse State-Level Coalitions to Demand Bold Early Childhood Policies and Funding
The Alliance for Early Success, a 50-state early childhood policy nonprofit, announced today a $10-million grant from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The unrestricted investment will fund the launch of the Power Equity Initiative, a bold strategy to grow an influential voice for young children at the state level by catalyzing equitable coalitions in which parents, advocates, practitioners, and other diverse voices work collaboratively to improve policies and increase funding.
“This extraordinary investment is a huge step toward more equitable and powerful movement to ensure young children have what they need in the early years to achieve their full potential,” said Helene Stebbins, the Alliance’s Executive Director. “It will allow us to launch a collaborative grantmaking process that will provide direct grants to new and often under-resourced advocacy voices in states—including organizations representing parents, practitioners, and other traditionally marginalized voices. We intend to give the full $10 million away.”
The Power Equity Initiative and its grantmaking fund are controlled by a leadership council made up of representatives from power-building early childhood policy organizations, including the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI), 9to5, the United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN), and the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative. The planning process for the Power Equity Initiative began in 2021 with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and launched earlier this year with an initial $1-million investment from core investors in the Alliance for Early Success.
The overall objective is to create a “tipping point” in states—when support for young children is so great that their health and wellbeing are a priority for state policymakers, regardless of geography and political party. “We’ll only achieve this” said Mercedes Phelan, a National Organizer at UPLAN, “when organizations work together, plan together, set big and bold objectives together, build power, and include the voices of people who have experienced the challenges we’re fighting to address. The Scott investment means we can really begin to deliver on that.”
“We at 9to5 are thrilled to witness the investment in equitable coalitions that pave the way for collaboration and power-building toward long-lasting improvement in our early childhood systems,” said Mica Whitfield, Vice President of Programs and Partnership at 9to5.
“We know that building effective coalitions with advocates across communities—like those that make up our Village Network of Affiliates—is key to advancing equity for Black children and families,” said Dr. Leah Austin, President and CEO at NBCDI. “However, providing these advocates with the resources and support they need to grow their influence requires significant investment. That is why we are thrilled to be part of the Power Equity Fund and excited about the $10-million investment from MacKenzie Scott. With this investment as a foundation, we are optimistic about the future of our work and the impact we can have on the lives of those we all serve.”