The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic recession have revealed what many working families with young children and those of us in the early childhood education field have known for years: equitable access to high-quality early childhood education is not only important for the learning and development of young children, but it is also essential infrastructure for our economy.
A stable, well-compensated early childhood workforce is both an economic backbone for working families and critical to young children’s learning in the first years of life. This workforce, comprising largely women, many who are women of color, are paid poverty wages for their complex work. Early educators, along with other care professionals, form the essential infrastructure of the 21st century economy, and yet their work is undervalued as a result of structural racism and gender bias.
For this reason, the Heising-Simons Foundation is pleased to join other national funders to form the Care for All with Respect and Equity (CARE) Fund, a $50 million, multi-year investment in bold, transformational change to build comprehensive care infrastructure that works for everyone. In this once-in-a-generation moment, the CARE Fund is an opportunity to redress these inequities with an intersectional and systemic lens.
Housed at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the CARE Fund invests in the following areas:
- Broad-based movement building to amplify the voices of those who provide and consume care, including parents, family caregivers, people with disabilities and older adults, home care workers, and early educators;
- Organizing and advocacy for policy change to promote equity across gender, race, age and disability through high-quality affordable early care and education, long-term services and supports for older adults and those with disabilities, universal paid family and medical leave, and other supports for family caregivers;
- Sound implementation of new policies and investments at the community level to ensure all children and families are able to thrive, especially families with low incomes and people of color;
- Winning dignified living wages and benefits for predominantly immigrant and women of color workers who provide care; and,
- Redefining both care work and care services as a permanent public good worthy of public and private financing and long term investments by enhancing a deep narrative and culture shift in the way care is valued.
To learn more about the CARE Fund, please see here.