The Global Early Childhood Funders is an informal network of foundations who seek to communicate, learn and collaborate in pursuit of better results for young children and their families.
How we emerged: The network started in 2015 in order to capitalize on a window of growing momentum and interest in early childhood development, as reflected in the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals and a highly-anticipated third series of articles in the Lancet. By November of that year, a group of 14 private foundations were involved and met in The Hague to explore opportunities to align efforts, messaging and advocacy around four imperatives: workforce quality, financing, systems building and development of the architecture of the growing field. In the ensuing years the composition, leadership and areas of focus have shifted in response to group interests and sector developments.
Who is involved: Today, the group includes 54 private foundations, and is open to grant giving foundations that deploy their own financial resources (ie. not only re-granting) on early childhood development. Most participants fund in more than one country and many work in low and lower middle-income countries. For some foundations, early childhood is their entire focus, while for many, it is a theme that intersects with other priorities and activities. The group spans from very small to very large foundations. Some are just exploring early childhood grant making for the first time while others have engaged in these issues for more than 40 years. The diversity of member experience and contexts enriches our discussions.
What we do: The group seeks to encourage communication, learning and collaboration between funders, not to operate as a collective movement. It does this by making connections (eg. through a directory) and facilitating meetings (online and occasionally in person) of foundations around topical issues and themes. The group does not seek to run its own projects, adopt a collective advocacy position, or hold/distribute a central pooled fund, although coordinated actions and joint projects have emerged between specific partners as a result of their participation in the network.
Coordination: A small planning group (elected from and by participants) determines thematic priorities, admits new members, and plans meetings. The group includes representatives from the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Minderoo Foundation, and Porticus.