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Mission and Vision

Early Childhood Partners NYC (ECP-NYC), housed at The New York Community Trust, is a network of donors that seeks to ensure that all children in New York City enter kindergarten prepared for lifelong success. It does this by expanding and promoting access to highly effective early childhood services and by working to improve the systems that influence the well-being of New York City’s young children, especially those from low-income families.

Early Childhood Partners NYC works closely with philanthropists, policymakers, service providers, researchers, public agency administrators, advocates, and other leaders in the early childhood and related fields, as well as concerned citizens, to develop funding opportunities that advance a continuum of quality integrated services for young children.

The Partners’ vision is that all young children in New York City realize the significant short- and long-term educational, social-emotional, health, and other developmental benefits associated with participation in high quality early childhood services and be launched on a trajectory of long-term success.

Investing in Kids

The critical importance of investing in early childhood is well-documented. The data are clear: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who grow up in safe, nurturing, and appropriately stimulating environments do better cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically than those who do not.

A substantial body of research demonstrates the positive long-term effects of high quality early education and other services for children, particularly those from low-income families. These benefits include lasting positive effects on cognitive abilities, school progress, high school graduation rates, post-secondary matriculation and completion, social-emotional development, mental health, employment, earnings, family stability, and crime rates. 

Lack of access to such early childhood services contributes significantly to the educational achievement gap. Researchers estimate that as much as half of school failure may be attributable to gaps in quality early education and care prior to school entry.

New York City has implemented an impressive expansion of prekindergarten in the last three years. It now serves over 70,000 four-year-olds across the five boroughs and It recently announced additional expansion for three-year-olds. However, it has not created an integrated system of high quality services for all children under the age of five. 

The City agencies responsible for early childhood programs (Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Department of Education) have historically operated in relative isolation from each other with differing, uncoordinated regulations for service providers and eligibility requirements for families. This lack of coordination makes it very difficult for families, especially those with lower incomes and less formal education, as well as service providers themselves, to navigate the systems and access services. Along with this, there are significant gaps in services, especially for infants and toddlers.

Finally, the quality of services across all settings is inconsistent due primarily to inadequate funding, workforce issues, and lack of coordination, alignment, and cooperation across public agencies. The recent extensive expansion of prekindergarten provides an opportunity to create a continuum of high quality, evidence-based services for the youngest New Yorkers in the next three to five years and sustain this continuum over time. Donors and private and corporate foundations can help advance this vision by aligning their investments effectively and efficiently through carefully designed funding opportunities informed by the best research and practice knowledge and aimed at achieving improved outcomes for children.

Our Model

Early Childhood Partners NYC is designed to significantly increase and sustain funding for quality early childhood services in New York City by engaging foundation and individual supporters at different levels of desired involvement. Leveraging funding from within the Partners’ network for well developed, evidenced-based efforts is the first goal. Such funding is achieved through a pooled grantmaking fund and aligned individual grants. Interested funders can join Early Childhood Partners NYC at one of three membership levels. 

Member Level  Minimum Contribution for Network Operations and Grantmaking Description 
Steering Committee Member $50,000
  • Help direct pooled grantmaking fund (one vote per member)
  • Attend quarterly grantmaking meetings (optional with votes on grants made via email when necessary)
  • Receive quarterly updates on grants and important developments in the early childhood field in NYC and beyond
  • Have access to all due diligence materials regarding funding opportunities 
  • Guide priorities for early childhood network convenings and seminars on early childhood grantmaking opportunities
  • Have options to fund projects developed by Early Childhood Partners NYC 
General Member $25,000
  • All the above except the ability to help direct pooled grantmaking fund

Network Affiliate None 
  • Receive information on convenings and all funded projects, and due diligence materials available for projects under consideration for aligned grants 

At the Steering Committee level, with a minimum contribution of $50,000, members establish strategic directions, identify possible opportunities for grantmaking, and allocate resources from the pooled fund. At the General Member level of $25,000, members do not guide the direction of the pooled fund but are welcome to be involved in all other activities. 

Grants are made to the Early Childhood Partners NYC Fund at The New York Community Trust. The Trust does not charge any fees for managing the Fund. A small portion (not to exceed 15 percen of anticipated annual revenue) of all grants received will be directed toward ECP-NYC's administrative costs, and the remaining funds will be deposited into the pooled fund.  All contributing members will be provided quarterly financial statements detailing revenues, grants, and administrative costs.

There is no charge for involvement at the Network Affiliate level. Affiliates, however, are encouraged to support the selected projects through aligned individual grants to advance the shared mission for all children in New York City, and to inform the Partners when a grant is made to a Partner-supported project so that the grant can be counted in leveraged funding.

The combination of the pooled fund and aligned individual grantmaking is a critical aspect of Early Childhood Partners NYC’s model. Grant opportunities identified for funding will be made available for consideration by Members and Affiliates. Both Steering Committee and General Members are strongly encouraged to make aligned individual grants for the selected projects as appropriate. 

Leveraging aligned funding allows the Partners to consider projects that cost above and beyond the level the pooled fund can support on its own. Along with contributing to broad-based initiatives with multiple funders, the pooled fund also supports projects in areas that have traditionally been under-funded, such as advocacy and systems-building.

Project Identification, Development, and Grantmaking

To identify, further develop, and assess grantmaking strategies and related potential investments, monitor investments, and ease the burden on busy donors and/or short-handed foundations, Early Childhood Partners NYC has engaged a consultant team from High Impact Partnering (Shelby H. Miller and Myra Rosenbaum). High Impact Partnering brings extensive knowledge of the early childhood field and deep experience in strategic grantmaking, program development, grants management, and funder relations. 

Grants are focused on projects that ultimately contribute to the achievement of improved early childhood outcomes for low-income children up to age five in New York City through: scaling proven and promising approaches, advancing innovative pilots, improving systems, conducting research, and informing and advocating for policy change. Early Childhood Partners NYC also considers efforts that seek to create a continuum of services starting prenatally and continuing to age eight.

All funded projects are subject to The New York Community Trust’s grantee requirements and fiscal oversight. All grantees must meet the governance and financial standards of the Better Business Bureau and include a board of directors with at least five members and no more than one paid board member. Each member on the Steering Committee has one vote on all projects regardless of grant size. Grants approved will be monitored at a minimum quarterly by the consultant team. 

Leadership and Management

Early Childhood Partners NYC is managed by The New York Community Trust which has partnered with over 140 funders to pursue common goals through collaborative grantmaking. The Trust is currently home to five such collaboratives: The New York City Workforce Development Fund, the Donors’ Education Collaborative, the Fund for New Citizens, the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund, and the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund. Over the past 40 years, The Trust has managed 20 collaborative funds and through these distributed $119 million.

Early Childhood Partners NYC is overseen by the Trust’s Senior Program Officer for Human Services, Natasha Lifton, and the Executive Director of the Viking Global Foundation, Sarah Jankowski, who serve as its Co-Chairs. 

Steering Committee

  • Altman Foundation
  • Catherine & Joseph Aresty Foundation
  • Booth Ferris Foundation
  • Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation/Deutsche Bank CSR Americas
  • Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation
  • A.L. Mailman Family Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • The Edith Glick Shoolman Children's Foundation
  • Viking Global Foundation

General Members

  • Heckscher Foundation for Children
  • The New York Women's Foundation
  • The Staten Island Foundation

For more information please contact one or more of the following individuals:

Natasha Lifton,  212-686-1089
Sarah Jankowski
Shelby Miller 
Myra Rosenbaum 

909 Third Avenue | New York, NY 10022 | P (212) 686-0010 | F (212) 532-8528 |
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The New York Community Trust is a 501(c)3 public charity.