Child Care and Early Education Providers Are in Crisis. How Are Funders Responding?

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from Inside Philanthropy

Caroline Bermudez | 11 June 2020

In the United States, there are programs that can deliver better returns than the stock market. People who participate in these programs earn more money over their lifetimes, enjoy more stable long-term relationships, have stronger social and emotional skills, lead healthier lives, and are less likely to be incarcerated. The benefits these programs produce span multiple generations.

Yet these programs have been underfunded for years.

There is near-universal consensus that early-childhood education programs can break cycles of poverty and lead to lasting upward mobility. But funders say they have always been fragile, and have only become more so due to COVID-19.

Shannon Rudisill, executive director of the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative (ECFC), a coalition of 43 philanthropies across the nation, says, “We have lots of evidence that the early care and education sector is getting decimated.”

Early care and education do not receive much public investment compared to K-12 public education. The result is a patchworked system—if you can call it a system—kept afloat by various sources of revenue. Most early care and education providers teetered at the financial edge, with a month or two of reserves on hand even before the crisis. Weeks of closure have likely led to permanent closures for thousands of child care centers.

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