CGI Gets it Right on Early Childhood

Dear Friends,

I am excited to share that Room to Grow participated in the recent 2014 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in NYC. Founding Board member Uma Thurman and I were invited to participate in the panel discussion, "Starting from Zero: The Unrivaled Importance of Early Childhood," moderated by New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof. It was an incredibly stimulating conversation and a pleasure to engage with like-minded advocates about early childhood development and breaking the cycle of poverty.

We all agree that investing in children from the very beginning (specifically age zero to three) is critical to the success of the next generation. Organizations like Too Small to Fail have been designed particularly to promote awareness of the early word gap and early childhood development. There's no question about the value and impact of the work, but getting it right in terms of quality support is key. Room to Grow works at the root of the problem, addressing a broad spectrum of needs in real time, starting before birth. Left unattended, we expose children, their families, and our community to a host of issues that can be prevented from the start.

Poverty in general is expensive. Prevention - at the right time and in the right format - is relatively affordable compared to the costs of sitting on the sidelines in wait. According to Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman (the "go to" expert in our field), investments in early childhood programming for economically disadvantaged families have a 7 to 10 percent annual rate of return. The CDC recently released a study showing that one year of maltreatment in early childhood racks up 124 billion dollars in lifetime costs. This is a "no brainer" investment in the truest sense of the phrase.

The future success of one in five American children is threatened by the nation's highest rate of childhood poverty since 1959. The time to invest in children is in the beginning, from before the day they are born. Nicholas Kristof passionately argues this in his recent op-ed, The Way to Beat Poverty; it's worth a read. Let's take this opportunity to recommit to working together to transform lives, and in turn, transform our country's future.

Please feel don't hesitate to be in touch if you are interested in learning more or would like to deepen your involvement.


Allyson Crawford
Executive Director, New York


Photo Credit: Barbara Kinney / Clinton Global Initiative





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