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Our Mission

We help communities and states expand equitable opportunities for children and youth through strategic public financing.

We envision a nation where all children and youth thrive because all communities maintain equitable, coordinated, and sustainable funding for comprehensive programs and services.

Read our one-page overview

The Challenge

Children and youth spend 80% of their time outside of school. Yet the public services that help nurture and prepare them remain dramatically underfunded and deeply inequitable.

Without robust public funding, a family’s income alone dictates whether a child can access high-quality early care and education, after-school and summer programs, mental health support, college and workforce preparation, and other essential services. Children from households with fewer resources get left behind. They are the ones least able to access the programs and services all children need and deserve.

How We Do It

Through our hands-on technical assistance and collection of resources, we help communities, states, and Native nations identify sustainable ways to fund their goals for kids.

We collaborate with local leaders and advocates to help them understand the multiple sources of funding for children and youth and develop customized financing solutions tailored to their needs. Our library of resources, custom tools, one-on-one coaching, and training events help advocates, policymakers, and Native leaders develop the skills they need and build collective momentum toward an equitable future for all children.

Read our framework for impact

Our Beliefs About Funding Children and Youth Services

Provide Cradle-to-Career Support

Children’s growth, development, and learning take place 24 hours a day, both inside and outside of a classroom. Supporting this development means providing comprehensive public funding to ensure all children come into the world healthy and have access to high-quality infant and toddler care, early childhood education, summer and after-school programs, mental health services, career-building opportunities, and mentorship.

What Gets Budgeted, Gets Done

Funding for children is complicated, multilayered, and often lacks strategy. Strategic public financing is a process that assesses what a community already has, assigns a cost to the goals and policy priorities for its young people, and identifies ways to cover that cost. It empowers communities to fund their goals for children and youth and provides a clear road map for effectively using local, state, federal, and private dollars.

Fund the True Cost of Services

Strategic public financing is about transforming the way we think about funding. Instead of assigning an arbitrary amount of funding to programs and services, we conduct research to arrive at the true cost of achieving the goals we set for our children and youth and then create a plan to fund those needs.

Shift from Scarcity to Abundance Mindsets

In a nation with so much collective abundance, a family’s income should not prevent children from receiving the care and support they need to thrive. Strategic public financing helps communities and states give all children an opportunity for a strong start in life. It helps communities shift from funding a collection of individual programs and services to strategically funding a comprehensive system that supports our goals for kids.

Our Organizational Values

We are a team.

Each of us offers valuable skills and original perspectives that enhance our work. We strengthen our organization when we collaborate and tackle challenges together. We treat each other with kindness and believe that authentic personal relationships, built on trust, make us stronger.

We are honest.

Open, consistent, and transparent communication enables us to function effectively as a team and with our partners. We approach our work with confidence and humility. We admit when we’re wrong or don’t have the answer and acknowledge each other’s individual expertise. We own and learn from our mistakes and use feedback as an opportunity to improve.

We are resourceful.

We believe that our strong instincts combined with strategic thinking and planning lead to success. We allocate existing organizational resources pragmatically while continuing to build toward our larger vision. We encourage ongoing learning, growth, and ingenuity to identify new and enterprising ways of working.

We are flexible.

We embrace new ideas without compromising our core identities, either as an organization or as individuals. We adapt efficiently and pursue innovative opportunities that fulfill our mission.

We are passionate.

We confront hard problems, explore difficult questions, and pursue creative solutions to solve challenges together. Our commitment to children and youth drives us. We are determined to build a nation where all children and youth thrive.

Our Commitment to Equity in Both Process and Outcomes

All children and youth deserve equitable access to experiences that support their development and well-being. To achieve equitable outcomes for children and youth, we prioritize coordinated and comprehensive funding systems; dedicated public funding for high-quality programs; building the financing capacity of leaders with lived experience in communities farthest from resources; and pursuing equitable processes in our work.