Galvanizing United Way Business Champions
CED, Pew Charitable Trusts, and United Ways in Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, and South Carolina Galvanize Local Business Leaders
Over the past several months CED and the Pew Charitable Trusts have partnered with the United Way of Kentucky and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence to host 12 regional events promoting the importance of early education. The events co-hosted by the local United Ways were focused on increasing business awareness of the return on investment in high quality pre-k education. The program also promoted Strong Start Kentucky which is seeking expansion of quality early care and education programs to all Kentucky children. The over 400 individuals who attended the meetings included business leaders, early childhood professionals, Prichard Committee members and public school leaders.
In New Mexico
CED, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and local United Ways in New Mexico co-hosted several events around the state to involve business leaders in a discussion about the economic benefits of investing in early care and education. Century Bank and New Mexico PreK provided additional funding for a business leader forum in Santa Fe that was attended by over one hundred Northern New Mexico business, non profit, and legislative leaders. A second event was held in conjunction with the United Way of Southwest New Mexico. The forums focused on the critical issue of education and early childhood development as it affects New Mexico communities and business investments.
In New York
This fall the United Way of New York State, Pew Charitable Trusts, and CED collaborated on outreach activities geared toward informing and engaging the business community in supporting pre-k for 3 and 4 year olds. A pre-k advisory council was established to help the United Way identify strategic regions in which to hold community forums on pre-k. As a result, business leaders in Jamestown, Plattsburgh, Syracuse, and Troy participated in forums, discussions, and tours of pre-k classrooms. A highlight of these events was a presentation to the Troy audience by Rob Grunewald, Associate Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Numerous local business champions for pre-k were recruited at these events.
In South Carolina
The United Way Association of South Carolina, Pew Charitable Trusts, and CED recently teamed up to produce a series of events that were part educational forum, and part call to action, on the importance of early childhood education. The goal was to galvanize business communities across the state into taking an active advocacy role in early education, focusing especially on 4K funding.
Over the course of four months, forums were held in Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach. The events attracted key business leaders, as well as policy stake holders. Partnering organizations believe that the existing early education programs are not sufficient to cope with demand, and lag behind neighboring states. By urging business leaders to use their legislative and community wide influence, United Way hopes to see the passage of a bill that would pay for full-day four year old kindergarten programs for at risk children.