Early Education Funders Values Statement

The Early Education Funders Collaborative (Washington, D.C.) represents over 40 outstanding charitable foundations in the United States. The Samuel N. & Mary Castle Foundation has been a member for 15 years and maintains close relations with those regional and national foundations serving young children and their families.
The values held by ECFC are shared by the venerable Castle Foundation, and our ongoing work in early education in Hawaii is informed by those values. These values are as follows:

ECFC
• focuses on children who are prenatal to age eight and their families.
• takes a multigenerational approach, recognizing that children thrive when their parents thrive.
• prioritizes equity for children and families who face risks such as exclusion or unequal opportunity based on race or ethnicity, income, or other factors.
• seeks to promote self-determination and democratic voices for disenfranchised families.
• recognizes that private philanthropic dollars cannot replace the social safety net, but can leverage public investment, test ideas, and contribute to knowledge about effective practice.
• promotes the integration of practice, policy and research grantmaking.

CHILDREN
• reach their full potential, live the healthiest lives possible, and are nurtured in strong relationships with their parents and other adults, and safe and supportive communities.
• begin school safe, healthy, and ready to learn with a continuum of education and support throughout childhood.
• enter schools that are safe, healthy, and ready to provide quality education.
• have a level playing field of opportunities designed to create equitable outcomes for all children, with the most vulnerable benefiting from increased services and investments to create more equitable opportunities.
• experience environments in which their racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity is respected and meaningfully integrated into their early childhood experiences and education.

PARENTS & FAMILIES
• have a right to secure work that meets their most basic needs and supports economic stability, with a safety net to support them when work does not offer family-supporting pay, working conditions, and benefits.
• can thrive and advocate for their children through civic participation and having a voice in education, health care, and human services decisions.
• deserve supportive policies that allow them to both work and parent well.

SYSTEMS SUPPORTING EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
• implement a comprehensive approach to child development.
• are well-financed through adequate public investment and public-private partnerships.
• strive for and achieve equitable outcomes for children.
• serve the unique needs of children who are at higher risk due to poverty, discrimination disability, health and mental health concerns, or adverse childhood experiences.
• are staffed by professionals who are respected, well-prepared, and well-compensated.

OUR COUNTRY
For our nation to succeed we must:
• recognize that U.S. society has a stake in positive developmental outcomes for ALL children.
• recognize our racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity as an asset.
• adopt budgets that reflect our values with investments in adequate health and mental health care, education (including early care and education), and economic policies that support children and families to thrive.