Over the past several years, we have wrestled with a critical question: How do we show up more effectively as a partner if we want to have a greater impact for children, families and communities, especially those most affected by our nation’s harmful legacy of racial and economic inequity?

As a funder, we are stewards of a certain type of power and resources. We understand and own the responsibility to use our power and resources thoughtfully and collaboratively, alongside the power that already resides within community. What you will see in this annual report is how we intend to operate moving forward, which includes:

  • Viewing our role differently — as a resource bearer and thought partner rather than sole problem-solver.
  • Seeing things through — staying involved and investing for the long term, because that’s what’s needed to solve tough problems and change deeply rooted, inequitable systems.
  • Asking, listening and responding — identifying what partners and community need and aligning our practices and approaches to those needs, rather than imposing arbitrary rules and requirements.
  • Being accountable — to what we have committed to doing and to how we have committed to being.

While we are only in the early days of implementing our new strategy, we are encouraged by what we are seeing and hearing from our partner communities and organizations. What we’ve learned from them about how we need to show up has been inspiring and catalyzing. We are grateful to those who are already entrusting us with their time, talent and expertise, and are allowing us to come alongside them and address the big issues with them. We strive to be a learning organization, which is how we’ll continue to grow and improve and become a better partner.

As you read through this Year in Review, you’ll find that we have adopted a strategic approach that is not a time-bound, traditional plan. That centers community expertise and elevates community voice. That is nimble and flexible. That is built on yielding and sharing power. That, we believe, has the potential to generate lasting and systemic change.

We have already seen the doors that can be opened to create tremendous opportunities for individuals and organizations to bring about change together. Unlocking these opportunities through trusted partnerships brings us renewed energy and excitement for the road ahead.

I extend my sincere appreciation to our partners, community members, collaborators and all who helped us identify how we can most effectively work together to advance outcomes for young children. I am grateful for the support we have received from the Bainum family and our board to advance this work. Our commitment is to continue showing up differently. We look forward with renewed hope and optimism to the continued journey with each of you.

David Daniels
CEO and President