New Pledges to Expand Access to Early Childhood Education Announced

New Pledges to Expand Access to Early Childhood Education Announced

The White House has announced public, private, and philanthropic commitments totaling more than $1 billion in support of efforts to expand access to early childhood education.

New commitments announced at Invest in US: The White House Summit on Early Childhood Education on Wednesday include up to $750 million in new federal awards from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and more than $333 million from corporations and philanthropic organizations awarded through Invest in US, an initiative created by the First Five Years Fund to expand the reach and enhance the quality of early learning programs. Pledges of private support include an in-kind gift of learning apps and books valued at $55 million from the Walt Disney Company to First Book and other nonprofits; $25 million over five years from the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation to scale evidence-based early childhood programs, advance early learning social impact bond investments, and further research on the economic efficacy of government investments that improve outcomes for disadvantaged young children and their families; and $20 million from the Kresge Foundation over five years to build out a high-quality early childhood development system in Detroit in collaboration with local, state, and federal partners.

Through its Early Learning Communities initiative, Invest in US also will connect communities and states interested in expanding early learning opportunities with leading private and philanthropic partner organizations that have committed to providing resources, planning grants, technical assistance, and other support.

In conjunction with the summit, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report (43 pages, PDF) detailing the economic return on investments in early childhood education, including increased parental earnings and employment, reduced need for remedial education and public school expenditures, and positive long-term outcomes such as higher educational attainment, increased earnings, better health, and less involvement with the criminal justice system.

"These champions of early childhood education are contributing toward new efforts across the country that will bring more children a critical opportunity for success in school and in life," said First Five Years Fund executive director Kris Perry. "But there are still too many children in America that enter school not ready to learn, including more than half of disadvantaged children. That’s why government at all levels, business leaders, philanthropy, and the early childhood community must come together and continue to make investments that give all kids a strong start. That's what Invest in US is all about."

For a complete list of private commitments (19 pages, PDF)  announced at the summit, visit the Invest in US website.