Early Care & Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) FY 2023 Grant Recipients Announced

The Women’s Foundation is excited to announce its FY 2023 grant recipients for the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC)!

Since 2008, Washington Area Women’s Foundation has been home to the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC), a collaborative investment model made up of 11 current members, including The Women’s Foundation, that pool dollars and make collective grant decisions toward early education systems change in the Washington, DC metropolitan region.

For the past few years, the ECEFC has focused on supporting the leadership and advancement of the largely women of color and immigrant women early education workforce. Now in its 14th year of funding together, the ECEFC has proudly invested over $300K this grant cycle in advocacy and grassroots organizing organizations, partnerships, or coalition models whose work will ultimately improve working conditions, well-being, and respect of those in the early care and education field, as defined by the needs and recommendations of early educators themselves.

To learn more about each of these awardees, please visit their website linked below and follow The Women’s Foundation via social media to keep up with their work and the work of our partnership.

FY 2023 ECEFC grant recipients (DC):

DC Action

DC Association for the Education of Young Children (DCAEYC)

DC Family Child Care Association

DC Fiscal Policy Institute

The Multicultural Spanish Speaking Providers Association

SPACES In Action

FY 2023 ECEFC grant recipients (MD):

Maryland State Family Child Care Association Inc

Nonprofit Montgomery

Prince George’s Child Resource Center, Inc.

FY 2023 ECEFC grant recipients (VA):

Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children

Voices for Virginia’s Children

Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative Announces 2021 Docket

Washington Area Women’s Foundation has been the home to the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) since 2008. This month, the ECEFC is excited to announce the awardees for its 13th year funding together!

The ECEFC is a collaborative investment model with 11 current members, including The Women’s Foundation, that pool dollars and make collective grant decisions toward early education systems change in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. For the past few years, the ECEFC has focused on supporting the leadership and advancement of the largely women of color and immigrant women early education workforce.

“The ECEFC allows us to meet the needs of our association without us having to fit into a set box,” said Diane Volcansek, Executive Director of Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children. Diane added that the ECEFC’s giving process is “supportive and intentional. They really get to know us, and then trust us to use the funding in the way that is best for us.”

The ECEFC is proud to invest $351,000 in the following organizations during 2022:

Collectively, and with other partners, these organizations are working to ensure the voices of early educators are at decision-making tables related to the early education industry and workforce.

Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) Makes 2021 Investments

After the latest grant round for the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative, I received an email from the President of one of our new Grantee Partners. It was right before Thanksgiving, and she wrote, “I have so much to be thankful for. You, especially, and The Women’s Foundation will be on my Thanksgiving list from now on.”

Upon reading her email, I was overwhelmed with humility and gratitude. Here is a woman who works a full-time job and volunteers to run a nonprofit organization on evenings and weekends, and she’s thanking me? How can this be?

Unfortunately, it’s for the simple act of treating her with respect.

Those of us who work in philanthropy know that the sector is currently undergoing a reckoning of sorts. There are those of us who were discussing systemic racism, philanthropic power dynamics and the need for more trust-based philanthropy prior to this year. However, for many, this past summer meant they could no longer gloss over the articles, blogs, and other resource guides of how to invest with an equity lens. They now have to act.

The Women’s Foundation has been reforming our practices for some time now, and the members of the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) have come along with us. The ECEFC is a group of funders who pool their money and make grant award decisions together. The members have changed slightly over time, but the group has come together to invest in early education systems change in the DC metropolitan region for the past 13 years. The Women’s Foundation is a member of the group, but we also staff it.

The ECEFC members have been refining their priorities in the area of early education over the past four years by listening to community needs and recommendations, while also updating their giving processes to better align with their collective values around equity in early education. This year, in the midst of the global pandemic, the national childcare crisis, and overall local hardship, they took a giant leap forward. They said they wanted to invest in the largely women of color, and largely under-compensated, early education workforce. Specifically, they stated a desire to provide resources to early educator membership associations, community organizers, and policy advocates to elevate the voices of early educators in policy decisions. And they wanted to support early educator well-being.

They also supported me in streamlining the application process and working with applicants more directly. This allowed me to help applicants with few or no staff to draft portions of their grant applications, update deadlines so that folks who had a family emergency come up the day the application was due could still submit, and finalize applications in our online system for some organizations when their internet wasn’t working properly or their paying day-job required their attention.

The Women’s Foundation and the ECEFC operate this way to show respect. Respect for time. Respect for expertise. Respect for people.

This new way of working is how The Women’s Foundation staff is partnering with applicants across all of our priority areas. And, it is one of the many reasons that the members of the ECEFC trust The Women’s Foundation to be its home.

Ultimately, the ECEFC awarded grants to 13 organizations for 2021, totaling $367,000. In another demonstration of respect, the ECEFC made the intentional decision to fund general operating requests, and offered applicants a choice of applying for general operating or project-specific funds. Ultimately, 60% of the total funds awarded this round are general operating dollars, which the Grantee Partners can use as they see fit.

The 2021 Grantee Partners/Projects are:

  • Briya Public Charter School to support Multicultural Spanish Speaking Provider Association
  • DC Association for the Education of Young Children
  • DC Family Child Care Association
  • DC Fiscal Policy Institute
  • The Equity in Early Learning Initiative pilot project including Wonders Early Learning and Extended Day, The Campagna Center, Briya Public Charter School, and Bright Beginnings
  • House of Ruth to support a pilot project including KidSpace, Bright Beginnings and the Early Childhood Innovation Network focused on early educator wellbeing
  • Maryland Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Maryland State Family Child Care Association
  • Nonprofit Montgomery to support Montgomery Moving Forward
  • Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Prince George’s Child Resource Center
  • SPACEs In Action
  • Voices for Virginia’s Children

There is still more work to be done, of course. Now that the funds are awarded, we will collect confidential feedback from applicants on how the process could be improved to better support them, to incorporate their needs, and to better respect them. And, what’s most important, we will improve our processes based on their feedback. Because just as we expect that nonprofits center the voices and lived experiences of those they serve in their work, philanthropy should do the same.

The 2020 members of the ECEFC include The Andrew and Julie Klingenstein Family Fund, Bainum Family Foundation, The Goldberg Family Fund, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation, PNC Foundation, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, and The World Bank.

Child Care Deserves Increased Investment – Here is What Philanthropy Can Do

Findings from the Washington Region ECE Workforce Network to inform the current child care crisis


Early care and education systems in the United States have been instable, at best, for decades. In fact, it is difficult to call it a true system. It is more a patchwork of different funding, regulations, and ideologies sewn together over the years. When a stitch breaks or a hole appears, we attempt to sew it shut, but this leaves significant weaknesses in the system’s structure. Educators and advocates have been warning about this instability for years.

Now, as we experience intersecting and simultaneous crises, the weaknesses of this system are torn wide open and on full display. We can no longer afford the current inadequate, patchwork system, and we will continue to undermine our economy if we continue to simply patch holes. This is the time to take the lessons learned from research and local collaboration, coupled with the expertise of educators and the needs of families, to implement policy and systems changes that will stabilize the early education system as a foundational and critical element of our economic infrastructure. In order for this new system to ensure high quality, accessible caregiving options for all families, we must ensure stronger investment in early childhood educators and the programs in which they teach.

The Burden of the System on Workers

In the DC metropolitan region, early childhood educators in 2016 earned $17,711 per year on average, with Latinx and Black early educators earning less per hour than their White counterparts. Health insurance coverage [1] is also inconsistent among early childhood educators.  In 2016, only 52 percent of early childhood educators in the region had health insurance (either from their own employer or their spouse’s employer), and health benefit coverage varied, not surprisingly, across the system. For example, only 37 percent of family child care providers had health insurance that same year, compared to 60 percent of school-based early educators.[2]

Public school educators are paid more and receive benefits as a result of significant government investment. However, we have not invested in the full early education workforce in the same way. The current system of early childhood education puts the financial burden on parents, who are forced to pay well beyond their means, in many cases, as well as the educators themselves who receive lower compensation to keep costs from skyrocketing beyond what families are currently paying.

At a rate of pay that effectively equals DC’s minimum wage, and with inconsistent access to benefits, the field of early childhood education was not a stable employment option prior to the current pandemic. Now, recent local and national surveys of early education programs estimate that in the current crisis, 20 to 50 percent of early education programs will close, if they have not already, without significant financial investment. This means that there will be less availability of programs for families, and less jobs available for early educators [3].

The Burden of the System of Families

Consider that, as previously mentioned, many early childhood educators earn wages that fall below 200 percent of the poverty line for a family of three, while at the same time, in 2017, the average annual cost of full-time, center-based infant care in Washington, DC was 89 percent of the median income of a family led by a single mother.[4] Let me be plain: she can’t afford that. Now, with COVID-19, public health and safety require early care and education programs to increase expenses even more to account for tighter student-to-teacher ratios, increased and new cleaning supplies and methods, less sharing of supplies and equipment by students, potential construction costs needed to retrofit classrooms and upgrade HVAC systems, and much more.

While there are some programs that are publicly funded—including  DC’s preK program, Early Head Start and Head Start, the Virginia Preschool Initiative, and subsidy programs—the vast majority of the early care and education system in the Washington, DC region, and nationally, is funded by families. So, what we have now is a situation where parents cannot pay any more, but programs need more money to ensure programs are safe for kids. This discrepancy is significant—estimated to total in the billions of dollars over multiple years—and, therefore, can only be remedied through increased public investment.

Increased Public Investment Is Needed

In the current state of the economy, with such high levels of unemployment, it is in our country’s best interest to invest strongly in early childhood education programs both to create stable jobs against the backdrop of high unemployment rates and to ensure that parents can get back to work as other jobs become available. As Fatima Goss Graves and Ai-jen Poo stated during The Women’s Foundation’s #AskHer webinar on August 27, 2020, “care work makes all other work possible.”

Advocates had pushed for $50 billion at the federal level to “bail out child care,” but that funding was not approved. Some states and localities have directed local funds to early care and education systems in their jurisdictions, but those funds will fall short of the level of investment needed. And because states need to balance their budgets, whereas the federal government does not, during a national economic crisis, it becomes increasingly necessary for states to look to the federal government for support.

What Philanthropy Can Do

Local philanthropy has been generous and responsive to the current crises. However, the volume of need is overwhelming, and local foundations and corporate philanthropy will not be able to fully fund every system. However, there are specific things that local philanthropy can do to support local early care and education systems.

First, funders can invest in early care and education programs directly or into pooled funder collaborative models that are providing funding and technical assistance to local programs to re-open or remain open. We do not have to see the dire closure rates that are predicted. Philanthropic dollars can ease that pain.

Second, funders can invest in policy advocacy and community organizing that will put early care and education workers front and center in policy and systems discussions to ultimately result in the changes and increased public investments needed. Some funders historically stay away from funding advocacy to avoid being associated with lobbying activities, but private foundations can fund 501(c)(3) organizations that engage in advocacy with general operating dollars. Lobbying does not have to be a concern.

Additionally, for funders who do not have a current early education or child care giving priority area, I encourage you to think about how your current giving priorities intersect with the challenges presented by the current early care and education crisis. Embedded in all of these issues is anti-poverty work, workforce development, education reform, family supports, mental health and well-being, movement building and community organizing, racial and gender justice, and much more.

The Women’s Foundation stands ready to help our funder colleagues and other community members who want to direct dollars to improve early care and education systems in our region. Reach out to us with questions about this piece or for advice on where you can invest in a local funders collaborative or advocacy coalition working on these issues at programs@wawf.org or find us on social media on Twitter, FacebookInstagram or LinkedIn.

About the Washington Region Early Childhood Education Workforce Network

Much of the points in this piece are supported by research conducted by the Washington Region Early Childhood Education Workforce Network (The Network), which has spent the past five years researching the current state of the early childhood education field locally and coordinating around policies and practices that will contribute to a more stable early education workforce. The Network launched in partnership with the National Academies of Medicine after its 2015 report on the early education workforce and is aligned with NAEYC’s Power to the Profession.

The Network is currently housed at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and funded by the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative.

Research and Resources Produced

Throughout its five years, The Network produced valuable research to inform the field in the region, including:

Next Steps for The Network

The Network is currently in the process of converting from a cross-sector, regional research and design entity to a regional early childhood education workforce advocacy collaborative. The collaborative will use the research and findings of The Network to inform its work and coordinate policy changes at the local and state levels to advance the early childhood education workforce in the region.

About the author – Martine Sadarangani Gordon is Vice President of Programs at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and manages the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative.

[1] The research referenced did not include paid leave or other benefits in the compensation review

[2] Urban Institute. Early Childhood Educator Compensation in the Washington Region, April 2018 – https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/97676/early_childhood_educator_compensation_final_2.pdf

[3] National Women’s Law Center reports that nationally the child care industry lost one third of its workforce between February and April, 2020, and 95 percent of those who lost jobs were women. https://nwlc-ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ChildCareWorkersFS.pdf

[4] https://thewomensfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2016ECEFS-1.compressed.pdf

Do you care about Pre-K in Virginia? It’s time to speak up.

The shifting political landscape in Virginia has made national news over a variety of issues in the Commonwealth. But, one area of public policy that has been quietly making traction for years, and is now poised to be a breakout star of the current Virginia legislative session, is early education.

There are a number of bills and budget proposals being considered in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate that could change the early childhood development and education system. One such issue is mixed-delivery pre-kindergarten. Mixed-delivery refers to the idea that publicly-funded early education programs do not need to exist only in public schools, but rather can be delivered through center-based and home-based programs as well.

Earlier this month, budgets approved by the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee maintained most of the Governor’s proposals for early childhood. In regard to funding for mixed-delivery grants to non-public school programs to offer pre-kindergarten, the House proposed $3 million of the original $10 million proposed for the grants, while the Senate proposed $8 million. This week the Virginia House and Senate appointed conferees to negotiate differences in the budget. Advocates argue that the House budget would provide 500 fewer mixed-delivery slots than the Senate budget.

From where we sit at The Women’s Foundation, the fact that the debate is over the amount of funding, versus the viability of mixed-delivery as an option, is pretty amazing. Here’s why:

There was a time when the debate around early education was whether or not it should be publicly funded at all, let alone how it should be delivered. With everything we’ve learned about early brain development and the impact of early education in the past few decades, it’s exciting to see the policy debates shift from “if” we should support early education to “how” can we support early education.

Check out ECEFC Grantee Partner Voices for Virginia’s Children’s blog to learn more and get involved!

Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative Announces RFP for 2020 Giving Cycle

Washington Area Women’s Foundation is pleased to release an open request for proposals for funding from the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative for its 2020 Giving Cycle.

The Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative

The Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC), housed at Washington Area Women’s Foundation, launched in 2008 as a multi-year collective investment effort. Its mission is to increase the quality and capacity of, and access to, early care and education in the Washington region, with the goal of reducing school readiness gaps among populations of our youngest children. The ECEFC is supported and directed by corporate funders and local and national foundations. Our target geographic area includes Washington, DC; Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia; the City of Alexandria, Virginia; and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland.

2020 Giving Cycle

With the 2020 Giving Cycle the ECEFC will invest in organizations and/or organizational partnerships that contribute to systems change in the early care and education space while utilizing a racial equity framework and demonstrating a holistic view of child development.

Specifically, the ECEFC is committed to working on and investing in projects in the region that:

  • Improve early childhood systems infrastructure,
  • Work to ensure families have access to high quality early education programs, and
  • Help early educators effectively meet the needs of all children.

Examples of initiatives that are of interest to the ECEFC within each of the three strategic areas include:

  • Effective Systems
    • Early childhood systems alignment across health and education agencies,
    • Promotion of developmentally appropriate kindergarten readiness tools that include social-emotional development,
    • Increased financing of early education systems tied to program quality, family needs, and educator compensation,
  • Family Access
    • Expanding access to and/or increasing the value of child care subsidies to families,
    • Increasing the number of high-quality, culturally responsive early education classrooms and/or programs in high-need neighborhoods,
  • Strong Educators
    • Elevating the early care and education workforce through professionalization, professional development and technical assistance,
    • Lifting up the family child care community as important contributors to the early care and education system.

Successful proposals will demonstrate how their organization’s work or project will:

  • Contribute to quality improvements across multiple programs and/or multiple jurisdictions,
  • Increase program capacity to effectively support all children across multiple programs and/or multiple jurisdictions; and/or
  • Work to reduce barriers for families to access quality programs across neighborhoods and/or the region.

Successful proposals will also work to address disparate outcomes for children, families, and educators with regard to race and ethnicity and demonstrate how their organization’s work or project works to ensure race, culture, class, and ability equity across early education systems.

The ECEFC seeks to award $365,000 in grants this giving cycle to multiple projects across the DC region. Typically, the ECEFC awards between six to eight grants per giving cycle. The average grant awarded in last year’s cycle was $37,600.

All proposal submissions should be for a one-year grant period beginning January 1, 2020 and ending December 31, 2020.

2020 Funding Proposal

Prospective applicants are required to participate in one of two information session webinars prior to submitting a proposal. Use this link to sign up for one of the webinar sessions: [insert link].

Upon completion of the information session webinar, you will receive the application questions and guidelines and may submit your organization’s proposal for funding. Proposals can be submitted either by a single organization or as a partnership or collaboration across two or more organizations.

Grant Timeline

Applicant Information Session Webinars (Prospective applicants must attend one.) August 13th at 9:30 am or August 14th at 1:30 pm (Click here to RSVP for a session.)
Proposals Due September 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Site Visits (Pending Selection After Proposal Review) October 23 – November 22, 2019
Notification of Award December 20, 2019
Grant Period January 1 – December 31, 2020


Additional Information

Please direct all inquiries to The Women’s Foundation program staff at programs@wawf.org or 202.347.7737.

A Response to The Washington Post Editorial Board

When The Washington Post Editorial Board recently released its endorsements for the upcoming Fairfax County Board of Supervisors primary election, it was criticized for supporting all male candidates. Reporters from other local news outlets interviewed some of the candidates about the questions they were asked by the Editorial Board, and it was discovered that one of the questions that the Post asked all candidates who are parents was how they will manage the long hours and stress of an elected position.

Here at Washington Area Women’s Foundation, we are all about transparency, but we also know that not all questions are helpful. Here are the top five reasons why asking a parent if having kids will affect their job performance as an elected official is completely inappropriate and totally unnecessary:

Number 5 Elected office is just one of many demanding jobs that parents perform on a daily basis.

Parents are public school teachers, nurses, police officers, members of the armed forces. If we don’t question if a parent of young children can be deployed, we don’t need to question if a parent can handle local elected office.

Number 4 Childcare is a policy issue. Full stop.

While it is difficult to find and afford high-quality childcare in the DC metro region, we should discuss the issues from a policy perspective, not as a requirement an individual needs to have in place before securing political office.

Number 3 – Answers to this question are not helpful to voters.

There is no way that a candidate, in response to this question, is going to say, “Now that you mention it, that is a problem for me. I shouldn’t run after all.” Of course every candidate is going to say that they can handle the job. They wouldn’t have decided to run otherwise. Therefore, this question doesn’t actually provide any useful information to voters or to the interviewer who asked the question.

Number 2 – Asking this question demonstrates a gender bias.

This is not a question that would have been asked if all of the candidates were male. Now, that is an admittedly presumptuous statement, but we all know it’s true. If all of the candidates were men, no one would question that the dads would be able to do the job. We know this because there are a billion books and articles on “how women can have it all” but not one about how men can. It’s just expected that men can be parents and professionals simultaneously, but people still question if women can.

Number 1 – It is wrong to judge parents differently.

There is a federal law against employers asking potential job candidates about a number of personal things, including if they have kids. This is in place because, presumably, as a country we don’t want to discriminate against parents. True, it is not illegal to ask a political candidate about her family, but the same ethical principle should apply. Parents and non-parents should be considered fairly for a position, based on their merits.

Instances like this help make the case for our work at The Women’s Foundation, where we center the voices and experiences of women and open doors to opportunities. As more diverse voices and experiences are included in leadership conversations, we’ll all start to ask smarter and more appropriate questions.

Future-Focused Philanthropy: Investing in the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative

For the past six years, I had the privilege of serving alongside the region’s most distinguished funding professionals via the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (Collaborative), housed under Washington Area Women’s Foundation. It was a true bright spot in my 10+ years working in the CSR space and on education-related issues while at The Boeing Company. As I turn a new page in my career, allow this outgoing chair to offer a few reflections on why the Collaborative remains one of the soundest investments available to future-focused funders.

The Collaborative is a force-multiplier for good. A collection of top regional foundations and corporate funders, the Collaborative creates a coordinated system of philanthropic resources to improve access to high-quality early care and education (ECE) for low income families. Funders contribute a modest investment, pool it with the other members and collectively determine where to allocate investments. Working as a team, the Collaborative greatly extends the scale of impact individual funders have on their own. And for many foundations that may be considering a first foray into the ECE field, it’s hard to find a better vehicle that will expand your reach, and your knowledge-base, so easily.

The Collaborative is driving real progress on substantial systemic changes across the region. At a macro level over the past three years alone, the Collaborative leveraged over $37M toward high quality early education interventions and, through partners, influenced nine policy changes to better strengthen safety and affordability. Through strong leadership at the Women’s Foundation, the Collaborative is applying a racial equity lens to these investments.  Additionally, the Collaborative is spearheading the regional effort to create a consistent strategy on workforce development for ECE providers, which is backed by the National Academy of Sciences. The Collaborative is facilitating the dialogue between the region’s policy developers, enabling them to align their goals and build a cooperative workforce plan. Given the mobility of the region’s talent and market pressures on wage growth, consistent policies on competencies and credentialing will be greatly needed.

The Collaborative offers members a real leadership platform. The public is demanding more from our ECE sector. That’s a good thing. But the sector remains grossly under-resourced and underappreciated, even from the philanthropy community. Dollar for dollar, ECE investments offer the most effective use of education funding, mitigating the need for costly interventions later in the K-12 pipeline. Working through the Collaborative, membership provides a real opportunity for companies and other brand-conscious foundations seeking differentiation and impact. The Collaborative provides numerous vehicles for member entities to showcase their efforts in this space. And collectively, given the leadership and composition of the members, it represents one of the strongest voices from the funding community on ECE issues.

I look forward to seeing the Collaborative’s continued accomplishments in the months to come. And I hope to see more bright minds and diverse perspectives from the region’s top companies and foundations at this unique funder table. Only then will we really move outcomes forward for young children and families.

–Tom Bartlett, Former Co-Chair of the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative.

Tom Bartlett was the Senior Manager for Boeing Global Engagement and Co-Chair of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative. Together with his partner, he is launching a new impact investing firm aimed at helping more non-profits access impact capital. Working with investors, donors and non-profits, they seek to unite unexpected allies in the creation of social change.


Beyond the Classroom: The Role of Race and Culture in Improving Early Education Systems

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, more than 200 early education leaders and professionals attended Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s annual regional Early Care and Education Summit. The event, co-hosted by the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) and Montgomery College’s School of Education focused on the role of race and culture in improving early education systems.

Participants attend workshops in English and Spanish by leading experts on a range of issues related to the pre-school to prison pipeline, improving quality care and strengthening the workforce, community engagement, working with diverse populations, kindergarten readiness, and ensuring the socio-emotional needs of young children, among other topics. They also engaged in discussions focused on creating early care and education policies that are reflective of the needs of families and communities.

Program Highlights
The Summit launched with an opening keynote presentation by the leadership of the Equity in Early Learning Initiative, a partnership of The Campagna Center, School Readiness Consulting, and Wonders Early Learning + Extended Day.  Lindsey Allard Agnamba of School Readiness Consulting provided a historical perspective of the importance of race in early childhood education policy, with Tammy Mann of The Campagna Center and Joanne Hurt of Wonders Early Learning + Extended Day punctuating Lindsey’s points with stories from their own experiences working in the field.
Participants had the opportunity to attend smaller workshops facilitated by local and national experts, including presenters from Bank Street College of Education, Children’s National Health System, Mary’s Center, Montgomery College, NAEYC, Naval District Washington Region, Northern Virginia Community College, School Readiness Consulting, Trinity Washington University, and Wonders Early Learning + Extended Day.

The day closed with a panel discussing diversity in the early care and education field, with a focus on how early education systems can improve in their support of an inclusive workforce. Cemeré James of National Black Child Development Institute moderated the panel discussion featuring Stacie Burch of Anne Arundel Community College, Florence Kreisman of Mary’s Center, Marica Cox Mitchell of NAEYC, Sonia Prundeda-Hernandez of Montgomery College, and Mandy Sorge of National Governors Association. Cemeré and the panelists highlighted the significance of educators’ advocating for their own advancement and to inform decisions of policymakers that impact them and the children they serve.

Review the Summit program book here.

Commitment to Racial Equity
In 2016, Washington Area Women’s Foundation made a public commitment layering a racial equity lens on our work, on top of our existing gender and class equity lenses.  To compliment The Women’s Foundation’s commitment, the ECEFC formally adopted a racial equity commitment into its work, as well.
With this new consideration, the ECEFC did not only need to incorporate racial equity in how it considers its grantmaking, but across its full body of work, including its annual regional early care and education summit. In addition to deciding to make race and culture the Summit theme, the ECEFC made changes to the programming to ensure that early childhood educators, who are predominately women of color, had the opportunity attend, including holding it on a weekend and offering participation credit across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative
Launched in 2008, as a multi-year, multi-million dollar collective investment effort, the ECEFC holds the distinction of being the only early care and education funders collaborative in the country that works on systems-change across state lines. Its mission is to increase the quality and capacity of, and access to, early care and education in the Washington area, with the goal of closing kindergarten readiness gaps throughout the region. The ECEFC is supported and directed by corporate funders and local and national foundations and staffed by The Women’s Foundation.

2018 Washington Region ECE Summit

The Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative and Montgomery College School of Education invite you to join us on January 20, 2018 for a Regional Early Care and Education Summit. The Summit will focus on the impact of diversity and racial stratification on early education systems, including creating a skilled workforce to meet the needs of all children and families and reducing achievement gaps.


Beyond the Classroom: 

Confirmed speakers and workshop presenters include:

  • Cemere James, National Black Child Development Institute
  • Bweikia Steen, Trinity Washington University
  • Zeporia Smith, Montgomery College

Additional speakers to be announced!

This event is free for early childhood educators and others in the early education field in the DC region, including Washington, DC, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Alexandria, Arlington County, and Fairfax County. Participation letters will be provided for educators.

A general admission ticket includes lunch.

Space is limited, so reserve your seat today!

Questions? Email Martine Gordon at mgordon@wawf.org