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Elizabeth Gaines

Elizabeth is the founder and CEO of Children’s Funding Project. Begun in 2018, Children’s Funding Project is the response to Elizabeth’s 25 year career in child advocacy that persistently led her to question whether adequate resources were being directed to children. Her career began with leading after-school and community-based youth programs at the Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin. She later served as youth policy analyst for Citizens for Missouri’s Children, followed by 13 years at the Forum for Youth Investment, where she helped policy leaders develop tools and techniques to improve their use of data, increase their policy alignment, and more efficiently apply resources for greater impact. Elizabeth is also the executive director of Children’s Funding Accelerator, the advocacy arm of Children’s Funding Project.

As an expert on children’s policy at the state and local level, Elizabeth has worked with communities in nearly all 50 states to establish children’s cabinets, conduct fiscal maps, and pursue dedicated funding for youth. Her publications include: The Adding It Up Guide to Mapping Public Resources for Children, Youth and Families; the Forum for Youth Investment papers on state children’s cabinets and councils; How Public Policy Can Support Collective Impact, co-authored with FSG; and a collaboration on Funding Our Future: Generating State and Local Tax Revenue for Quality Early Care and Education. Since 2018, Elizabeth has guided Children’s Funding Project through over 40 projects with national networks, state and local governments, advocates, and youth leaders. A native of St. Louis, MO, Elizabeth attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and currently resides in Washington, D.C.