Early Childhood Education As an Agent for Social Change

Giving from The Bay & Paul Foundations stems from a desire to support a social movement that supports a just and ecologically sound society. Or, as the foundation states: “Our vision is of vibrant communities whose skillful collaborations assure just and ecologically robust outcomes for present and future generations.”

Education—including early childhood education—is a stated element of that vision. The Bay & Paul Foundations support of early childhood education flows through its PreK-12 Transformative Learning Practices focus area. It's notable that this foundation uses ths term rather than the more standard (and basic) "Education." It's also notable that the foundation doesn't stop there, describing its education giving this way:

In this broad and inclusive domain The Bay & Paul Foundations support initiatives that prepare students and educators working together to build transformative learning environments that contribute to strengthening civil society. These grants increasingly feature the visible elevation and authorization of youth voice and agency. We see Education for Sustainability and Social Justice as an integrative driver of school transformation, most often rooted in place-, project-, and problem-based practice and research, and utilizing systems thinking, critical friendship, and critical pedagogy.

There's a lot to unpack there, all in the vein of education programs as drivers of a social movement. This focus area description also refers back to the foundation's mission, which is “to foster and accelerate initiatives that prepare agents of change working to strengthen our social compact and develop authentic solutions to the challenges of this pivotal century.”

Other key words reinforcing this foundation’s view of its granting as social movement are found in its values statement: Courage, patience, humility, listening, understanding, collaboration, opportunities.

In reality, early childhood education has recently taken a backseat to K-12 education for The Bay & Paul Foundations, with most early childhood education support granted to schools that sustain a population that runs pre-K through elementary school (or beyond). The foundation also gives heartily to progressive think tanks/research groups, so if that is the focus of your early childhood education program there is also healthy opportunity there.

It's also worth noting that the foundation also places great emphasis on arts education through its Arts & Humanities Education focus area, as well as a funding stream for Support for Indigenous Communities. Grants in those areas also show more intersection with K-12 education, but pre-K overlap is not precluded.

The Bay & Paul Foundations do not stipulate any geographic limits for its education giving, but the New York City area and Vermont definitely get special attention. That said, the foundation has an open, online LOI process. Biannual deadlines vary; check the website for upcoming dates.

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The Bay & Paul Foundations: Grants for K-12 Education