The McGowan Fund has joined nine other philanthropic organizations to establish a new fund aimed at improving early childhood education in the six-county metro area around Kansas City. The primary target: programs that support teacher and leader development, parent engagement, and creation or expansion of quality programming.
With a goal of increasing the access to quality programs for low-income families and children of color, the Early Education Funders Collaborative is making awards of as much as $500,000. The Collaborative was founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
This is the first time that McGowan has joined a collaboration of this size. Increasingly, the board is interested in these kinds of partnerships, which can leverage resources and bring a new scale to the Fund’s work. “Working with other foundations has a multiplier effect,” explains Diana Spencer, executive director of the Fund. “The collaboration gives us greater reach in our support for low-income children who have limited access to the power of early childhood education. We’re so pleased to be part of this group,” she adds. Among the partners in this effort: Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Hall Family Foundation, and the Francis Family Foundation.
The collaboration also serves to increase awareness and visibility around an issue of major importance, notes Spencer. According to a Harvard report, every $1 invested in early childhood education can reap returns as high as $16.14 in benefits to the individual and society. Among the social benefits: higher income taxes and lower crime costs.
McGowan’s education grant-making strives to ensure that all children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn; achieve grade-level academic performance in literacy, math, and science; graduate from high school prepared for success in college, vocational training, or the workforce; and graduate from college or vocational training prepared for self-sufficiency.