More About this Toolkit

More About this Toolkit

More About this Toolkit

New evidence from neuroscience and social science, high-level policy efforts, and growing concern among business, military, and other civic leaders have placed early childhood high on the priority list for donors focused on impact. Such growing interest has generated vast amounts of information and potentially useful guidance. We developed this web-based “toolkit” to help donors cut through the noise. The toolkit provides key facts, strategies, exemplar programs, and partners that any donor interested in early childhood should know.

As with all of our work, our team curated these resources by reviewing the best available information from research, informed opinion, and field experience. It reflects our review of over 50 major research reports and policy analyses; dozens of conversations with experts and nonprofit leaders in the field; and engagement with two national networks of donors, researchers, and practitioners working to address early childhood issues.

To find out more about our evidence-based methodology, please see What is High Impact Philanthropy?

Authors – 2015 Working Team

Our Partners

This toolkit is an extension of our ongoing partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national foundation focused on improving the lives of disadvantaged children. Previous collaborations include an invitation-only donor seminar at Wharton’s Aresty Institute, for individual high net worth donors interested in supporting economically vulnerable families; a Foundation Review article exploring the implications for institutional funders of our “I’m Not Rockefeller” analysis. We are grateful to our Casey partners for their guidance and support.

We are also deeply appreciative of the feedback from a nationally-sourced advisory group of individual donors whose input was critical to making this toolkit relevant for their peers.


We would like to thank the following people who shared their expertise, talent, and time; offered insights; or provided feedback on this toolkit.

Miriam Shark, Lisa Hamilton, Robert Giloth, Gail Hayes, and Leah Austin of the Annie E. Casey Foundation; our amazing early childhood advisory group of donors, which included Peter Samuelson, Laura Samberg, Janet Levinger, Julie F. Cummings, Kelly Pope, and the Pascale Sykes Foundation; our excellent research team, which included Sivahn Barsade, Jacob Appel, and University of Pennsylvania students Maria Wahlstrom, Christina Saggiomo, Aviva Koloski, Lauren Kobylarz, Paul Marvucic, Haisheng Yang, Katey Peck, Djaniele Taylor, and Jamie Holliday; Jen Weikert and Megan Barner of the Children’s Literacy Initiative; Lisa St. George of The Incredible Years; Lisa Hill, Patrick Sablich, and Jodi Vongsakoun of Invest in Kids; Amy Lusk, Ann Hanson, Mike Burke and Anthony Raden of Educare; Sue Slater, Emily Goldstein, Joy Errico, Kjersti Ulvestad, and Meredith Hamilton of Jumpstart; Arthur Reynolds, Erin Lease, and Cathy Momo Hayakawa of Child-Parent Centers; Alejandro Gac-Artigas and Laura Banos of Springboard Collaborative; Dr. Robert C. Pianta of the University of Virginia; Dr. Jack Shonkoff of the Harvard Center on the Developing Child; Dr. Lynn Karoly of RAND; Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania; Steve Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research; Sara Mead of Bellwether Education Partners; Steve Cohen of the Center for the Study of Social Policy; Matt Regan of the Bay Area Council; Brenda Blasingame of Save the Children. Ben and Clementine Lieberman, Benjamin Webb, and Patrick Blake from Leveler Media; Michael, Marissa, and Cate O’Connell.

We are also grateful for the contributions of the late Bill Henningsgaard.