How the Kellogg Foundation Approaches Early Childhood Education

Sure, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has made some huge grants to national early childhood education advocates. Its $9 million gift to the Birth to Five Policy Alliance in Kansas comes to mind. But that tells only part of the story. One of the nation's largest funders of early childhood education initiatives doesn't limit itself to the big national players, which is good news for organizations at the state and local level.

Program officer Jon-Paul Bianchi has an approach to early childhood grantmaking that engages organizations at all levels — national, state, and local. And the foundation has backed that up with millions in grants awarded through its Educated Kids program. What's important is not the size of an organization, but its commitment to Kellogg Foundation goals of safe, healthy, educated children.

Some of those state and local organizations have received large grants, in amounts you would normally associate with national advocacy groups. Just ask the Early Learning Neighborhood Cooperative in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which received $5 million from Kellogg to support its efforts to ensure that all kindergarteners enter first grade elmentary school-ready — physically, socially, and cognitively.

OK, so $5 million to a local organization may be the exception rather than the rule. Many early childhood education grants from the Kellogg Foundation range in size from $100,000 to $1 million. Recipients have included schools and nonprofits such as the Michigan Challenge Academy and the Hopa Mountain Foundation in Montana, as well as government entities such as the State of New Mexico. The foundation does have a preference for collaborative projects that bring the private, public, and nonprofit sectors together to accomplish positive outcomes for children. 

The foundation considers proposals on a year-round basis and does not impose application deadlines.