As many of us found our attention (rightfully) drawn to crises and conversations both nationally and within our own homes in 2020, the child and youth field continued to take decisive steps to fully fund prenatal-to-career programs and services. We at Children’s Funding Project are proud to work with the individuals and teams committed to this mission and want to use this opportunity to look back at what we were able to accomplish together.

Founded in 2018, Children’s Funding Project entered 2020 with the goal of transitioning from a start-up project to an established 501c3 organization. Somehow we managed to fulfill that goal, growing both our board and team (see more about our new members and board here). No matter what it brings, we look forward to continuing to advocate for children and youth in 2021 and beyond! Here are some highlights from last year:

Responding to and Learning from COVID-19

How We Responded to Racial Inequities

  • As advocates demanded that the nation face its legacy of injustice and white supremacy, Children’s Funding Project saw the field’s definition of recovery focus on building more equitable systems and services, rather than a return to the status quo. Through our work with UP Partnership in San Antonio, TX, CFP made our first Equitable Recovery Pledge this summer, followed by our commitment to Strive Together’s Equitable Recovery Pledge, centered on PolicyLink’s Principles for a Common-Sense, Street-Smart Recovery, this winter. We also published an article on how cities and counties can institute equitable change in their budgets and finances.

New Tools for How Communities Prioritize their Kids

  • Around the same time our team pivoted to fully remote work, Children’s Funding Project launched an Interactive Map of Local Dedicated Children’s Funds from all across the country. Use the interactive feature to find funds using different types of revenue and focusing on different areas of childhood.
  • Examples of “fiscal maps” and children’s budget analyses are one of the best tools for communities to use when creating buy-in for this work, so last year we created an Interactive Map of Children’s Budget Analyses. One analysis added to the map in 2020 comes from New Orleans, LA, whose map highlights the $40M that the city of New Orleans invests in children and youth services.

Spring and Fall Ballot Successes

  • During April’s primary elections, amidst the worst unemployment spike in US history, voters in Anchorage, AK passed an alcohol retail tax for human services including children’s services, and voters in Cuyahoga County, OH increased their health and human services special tax.
  • The November 2020 elections ushered in A Children’s Wave of Local Budget Successes as voters both red and blue, from Pensacola to Portland, came together to support kids in their communities. New revenue dedicated to children on November’s ballot will exceed half a billion dollars annually.

Introducing the Children’s Funding Accelerator

  • August brought the establishment of Children’s Funding Accelerator, a 501(c)4 that will serve as the advocacy and political funding companion to CFP. In the second half of 2020, the Accelerator provided funding and TA to seven children’s funding measures on the November 2020 ballot.

Second Annual Children’s Funding Institute

  • From December 8 – 10, Children’s Funding Project and partner Funding the Next Generation hosted 40 communities at our Second Annual (and first virtual) Children’s Funding Institute. If experience is a guide, we look forward to seeing many of these attending communities successfully pass ballot measures in 2021 and beyond!

Local Children’s Cabinet Network Year-End Report

  • This year, the Local Children’s Cabinet Network (co-hosted with the Harvard Education ReDesign Lab and Forum for Youth Investment) membership grew to 45 communities in 20 states as cabinets across the country innovated to support children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read our Local Children’s Cabinet Network year-end report here.

White House Office on Children and Youth: Sign-On Letter