Pairing investment and advocacy in early childhood education

The Foundation’s collaborative efforts to advance early childhood education include leadership and participation in the MKE Civic Response Team, a cross-sector coalition working to coordinate immediate relief to the community as well as long-term systems change. Team members are engaging in advocacy at the state and federal levels to support and sustain the early childhood sector during the current public health and economic crises. 

Making their case for support, early childhood education team members recently penned two letters – one to Gov. Tony Evers, one to the Wisconsin Congressional delegation – to put the force and funding of government behind the value of the sector. Strengthening early childhood education is a priority shared by the Foundation and the communitywide educational partnership we launched and house, Milwaukee Succeeds, whose leadership in this work is instrumental.

State advocacy: Milwaukee child care providers are in profound need of supplies such as personal protective equipment, thermometers and cleaning products to maintain health and safety for children, families and staff.  With investment from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s MKE Responds Fund, the MKE Civic Response Team has purchased and distributed these types of supplies to the field. Recognizing a critical need for public investment, the collective wrote a letter to Gov. Evers requesting support from the state. This advocacy has had an impact.  At a recent Civic Response Team meeting, representatives from the Department of Children and Families shared that the state will be providing early childhood education programs with much-needed supplies in the coming weeks. READ THE LETTER 

Federal advocacy: As Congress debates the next federal COVID-19 relief bill, the MKE Civic Response Team raised its collective voice and asked that Milwaukee’s Congressional representatives support a $50 billion investment in early childhood education – the amount experts say is necessary to truly stabilize the sector, which has been decimated by COVID. This request was made in conjunction with diverse advocates from across the country, and on July 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Child Care is Essential Act, which includes this $50 billion investment. Now, all eyes are on the Senate to match this commitment and support children and working parents. READ THE LETTER 

Foundation continues to prioritize early childhood education

The latest edition of our Greater Together magazine features an in-depth focus on the Foundation’s strategies and investments in early childhood care and education in Milwaukee and beyond. The issue is now available online.