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ERIC Number: ED542857
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 27
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Into the Fray: How a Funders Coalition Restored Momentum for Early Learning in Minnesota. FCD Case Study
Hage, Dave
Foundation for Child Development
In the fall of 2008, a coalition of Minnesota foundations commissioned a local research organization to assess the state's ability to undertake a major improvement in school readiness and early learning services for disadvantaged children. The findings were discouraging. Richard Chase, working at the research arm of St. Paul's Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, concluded that Minnesota lacked a political champion for early learning in the governor's office or any other executive agency. He observed that government authority over early childhood services was fragmented among three cabinet departments--Human Services, Health, and Education--leaving no agency with overall authority or vision. And yet just three years later, Minnesota would win three highly competitive federal grants to fund important pilot projects in early education. The three grants, totaling nearly $90 million over five years, would fund an ambitious cycle of early learning experiments, bringing high-quality education and family services to thousands of PreKindergarten children, while modeling rigorous evaluation and funding mechanisms for wider use. This abrupt turnabout in Minnesota's prospects reflected a number of fortuitous events, including the election of a new, more activist governor and a "coming-of-age" for local advocates who had spent years building the case for state and corporate support of quality services for low-income children. Central to the achievement, however, was a coalition of Minnesota philanthropic leaders who sensed a vacuum in state leadership and stepped in to fill it. Over the four years between 2007 and 2011, these leaders joined forces to provide research, seed money, staff, ambitious goals, expertise in child development, and tactical energy that gave early childhood services a new coherence in the state and a new momentum at the state capitol. This case study tells their story.
Foundation for Child Development. 295 Madison Avenue 40th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Tel: 212-867-5777; Fax: 212-867-5844; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: McKnight Foundation
Authoring Institution: Foundation for Child Development
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota