Leading national organizations, including the Center for the Study of Social Policy, have selected Multnomah County as one of 29 communities across the country to work together to improve child development systems from birth to age 3. The Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI) is investing more than $6.5 million initially during the one-year pilot partnership—with additional funding to follow.
Multnomah County is the only community to be selected in the Pacific Northwest into the Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities, or EC-LINC. Early Learning Multnomah (ELM) is excited to be leading this work locally as it addresses the biases and barriers children of color face before kindergarten, and as part of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s broader mission to eliminate racial disparities and reduce childhood poverty.
“Every day, families with young children are impacted by policies decided at levels beyond their reach. These decisions affect their lives in real ways—determining the kind of child care and healthcare they can get, and even how safe their neighborhoods are,” said Molly Day, Director of ELM. “The parent leaders on our Parent Accountability Council understand what’s at stake. Being part of EC-LINC will elevate parents’ voices beyond Multnomah County so we can learn and share what works with communities across the country.”
Across the country, an estimated three million children are at risk of reaching kindergarten not ready to learn. This new partnership is a dramatic investment to improve kindergarten readiness nationwide. Participating organizations will equip communities with tools to strengthen early childhood systems and share best practices with other cities, counties and states. In turn, communities will share resources to drive policies and make the case for public and private investment in core services for young children.
“This work can be isolating because of the sheer volume of work to be done,” said Molly Day. “Being a part of a larger national network focused on building strong early childhood systems means we can tap others for advice and support and share our insights along the way. When we all work smarter, more children will have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.”
See United Way of the Columbia Willamette’s press release announcing the selection.