Why Join?

Why Join the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative?

ECFC is a collaborative of committed early childhood funders who have been learning together and improving our collective positive impact for children birth to 8 years old for over 20 years.


What We Do

Learning & Networking – ECFC provides substantive member briefings and meetings, including connections with top researchers and practitioners.

Aligning and Leveraging Resources – ECFC’s work includes launching the BUILD initiative and funding the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative to build capacity among states applying for federal early childhood system grants.

Promoting Effective Local, State, and Federal policy – ECFC has sponsored policy briefings, shared our learning with policymakers at all levels, and promoted public-private partnerships.

Member Involvement

ECFC’s strength is our engaged membership which is uniquely comprised of diverse foundations, including a range of sizes and local, regional, and national scope.  Members are expected to attend two meetings a year and be actively involved in the committees that plan and direct our work.  Opportunities range from sitting on our governing steering committee, to hosting a meeting in your city, to participating in a topical workgroup.  

Membership Criteria

ECFC members demonstrate:

A clearly articulated strategic approach to grantmaking in early childhood, with a focus on early childhood development and education, supporting young children (prenatal to eight), as well as their families. Such a strategy may be demonstrated by a comprehensive systemic and policy approach to early childhood grantmaking.

Evidence of a significant and ongoing portfolio of early childhood investment within the foundation. This is demonstrated by an early childhood budget that is at least 25% of the foundation’s grantmaking budget, on average, or a minimum of $1 million each year. New members will have completed a minimum of one year of grantmaking in early childhood.

A dedicated staff person who is knowledgeable about early childhood issues and ready to actively participate in ECFC through attendance at meetings and serving on committees.

A policy and/or systems focus for at least some of the foundation’s early childhood investments. This may include grants that promote positive systems change through demonstration projects, research, or work to increase the field’s understanding of an issue or best practice; the formulation, adoption, and/or implementation of policy; and/or public education or advocacy (additional examples are provided in Appendix C of the Strategic Plan).

Membership Levels


Supporting Membership

Dues greater than the recommended amount

Sustaining Membership

$25,000 – $50,000

For current and new members whose institutional policies prohibit giving at the levels specified above, the Steering Committee will consider offering an exception. The recommended exception would consider dues based on total grantmaking in the program area that includes the early childhood portfolio (e.g.  the Education or Health and Human Services program.)

For more information, please contact:

Shannon L. Rudisill, Executive Director
Ph: (703) 752-5809

Foundation’s Total Annual Grantmaking Budget Member Dues
Up to $2M
$2M– $10M
$10M – $20M
$20M – $30M
$30M – $40M
$40M +