CINCINNATI, Ohio (May 25, 2022) —
Dear United Way friends,
Last month’s introduction of our new investment strategy drew great interest, as did the subsequent unveiling of opportunity areas where we will focus those investments.
Over my next few community messages, I’ll take a deeper dive into those opportunities to give you a better understanding of why they are targeted and what we hope to accomplish.
Let’s start with Ready Kids, Resilient Families: Transforming the early education system of care to support the resiliency of kids and their families.
We are investing nearly $2.4 million in 11 partners to develop solutions that help prepare all children for kindergarten by building a more interconnected and resilient early education and care system.
United Way has emphasized the importance of quality early education and care for more than two decades. Ninety percent of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. Safe, nurturing and quality educational opportunities help children develop skills and behaviors important to their longer-term success in school and life. United Way has led and supported systems-change efforts that made early education more accessible and affordable, improved quality and helped to expand the range of options for families in our region.
Still, COVID-19 revealed the fragility of the early education and care system. Many child care providers were unable to stay in business. Parents had to navigate new child care challenges. Some parents were forced to leave the workforce to care for their young children at home.
Now is the time to address root causes holding back families from engaging in the right early education opportunities for their young children and rebuild a more resilient early education system. If parents can’t secure affordable and reliable care, they are unable to re-enter the workforce. Their children may not develop skills needed to be successful upon entering kindergarten.
Nearly 167,500 children under age 5 live in our region and they all deserve to be ready to learn on the first day of school, including the nearly 18% of young children living below the Federal Poverty line.
Our Systems Change partners will take a hard look at improving capacity, relationships and services to create a more resilient and supportive early education system - so families have the support they need, and children receive quality care and education in those important early years. While we know this is a long-term goal, the next two years will help us chart the course and begin to advance new solutions together.
We are proud to support important work that serves as a foundation to economic well-being.
United Way of Greater Cincinnati