The question isn’t whether or not to invest in early childhood, but how.
University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy recently released a toolkit for philanthropists looking to invest in early childhood education entitled “Invest in a Strong Start for Children: A Toolkit for Donors.”
The Center for High Impact Philanthropy — part of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice — serves as an authority for donors seeking to maximize the social impact of their funds. The early childhood toolkit provides information for investors which includes: high impact strategies for investing in early childhood, including analysis of five key programs, implications of the latest brain research, an estimate on the return on investment, and a list of key stakeholders and organizations involved in early childhood.
The toolkit and accompanying video list three main things philanthropists can invest in:
- Weave a strong web of support for kids and their families. Examples of programs that achieve this goal include Nurse Family Partnership, Healthy Families America, and Avance. For every dollar put into programs like these, it’s estimated that society gets $5.70 back.
- Provide great places to learn. Providing places to learn has an even higher estimated return rate to society. The Center for High Impact Philanthropy estimates that for every dollar invested, society gets $16 back. Programs that provide great places to learn include Educar and Acelero.
- Prepare kids to be strong readers. Children who don’t reach the appropriate reading level by 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out. According for the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, many of the programs that provide a great place to learn also prepare kids to be strong leaders. They also cite programs such as Jumpstart and Children’s Literacy Initiative as being exemplar programs.
Center for High Impact Philanthropy has also covered early childhood previously in Investing in Early Childhood: A No Brainer and Pathways to Student Success: A Guide to Translating Good Intentions Into Meaningful Impact.
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