February 06, 2002 2 min read

Early Childhood: The Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based foundation, has started a new grantmaking program aimed at early-childhood education.

“After a year of studying this issue, we strongly believe there is no ‘system’ of early care and education for 3- and 4-year-olds in the country,” said Sue Urahn, the director of the group’s education program.

In the first grant made under the new program, the philanthropy approved $5.3 million to establish the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, which will be led by W. Steven Barnett, a Rutgers professor of education economics and public policy.

The program also will finance an advocacy center to help federal and state efforts to build public support for early-childhood education, and will form a network of nonprofit organizations in several states to press for improvements in local early-childhood policies.

In addition, Pew plans to make grants to other organizations, such as faith-based groups and health-care providers, that hope to play a larger role in early-childhood education.

Education Week‘s Jan. 10 report Quality Counts 2002: Building Blocks for Success, which examined state efforts in early-childhood education, was financed by a Pew grant.

Helping Families: The Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds announced last week a new initiative to increase after-school activities and parents’ involvement in their children’s learning.

Called Parents and Communities for Kids, or PACK, the effort will provide grants of $1.5 million over four years to four groups: The United Way of Massachusetts, located in Boston; the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, in Detroit; the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, in New Haven, Conn.; and the Hubert Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs’ Center for Democracy and Citizenship, in St. Paul, Minn.

The grants will underwrite programs aimed at expanding the supply of high-quality learning experiences outside school for children ages 6 to 10 and their families, and programs that seek to increase the demand for such opportunities.

M. Christine DeVita, the president of the New York City- based philanthropy, said, “PACK is designed to provide new lessons and knowledge to help communities everywhere meet a difficult challenge: How to create a climate of learning so that families have the support they need to help children be successful.”

—Michelle Galley

A version of this article appeared in the February 06, 2002 edition of Education Week