Getting to Know a Niche Funders Collaborative All About Child Care in New York City

Here are IP, we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting funder collaboratives, especially when they address under-funded topics that often get overlooked. Early childhood education has been getting tons of attention lately, but what about support for kids a little bit younger?

Very few funders support child care with their grantmaking, yet this is a key and common issue that holds many families back from economic stability. Although child care funders are few and far between, they do exist. Alongside the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ms. Foundation, a funder collaborative led by the New York City-based Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation has emerged onto this funding scene in a big way.

Related:

The Guttman Foundation recently supported the research and publication of a report on how to improve the quality of child care, which was released by the Center for New York City Affairs. The report is called Bringing It All Home: Problems and Possibilities Facing NYC’s Family Child Care, and it has a very specific local focus. 

Guttman has a long-standing commitment to supporting and improving child care and was an important thought partner on this report, which includes findings from other researchers, best practices in the field, and recommendations for local policy change. Although Guttman was the lead funder on the project, it has taken a collaborative approach to the issue and partnered with the Child Care and Early Education Fund (CCEEF), as well.

To learn a bit more about the Guttman Foundation and its involvement in this niche grantmaking topic and interesting funder collaboration, I connected with Guttman’s program officer, Suzanne C. Sousa.

Sousa told me that the Guttman Foundation approached the Center for New York City Affairs in 2015 with the idea of producing a report focused exclusively on the New York City child care system. This year, CCEEF kicked in some additional funding for the report as well. Guttman is a member of CCEEF, along with a handful of other foundations in New York City.

To clarify, CCEEF is a private funders' collaborative dedicated to the improvement of early childhood education in New York City. Several other area foundations with a strong interest in early care and education are also part of the group, including:

  • A.L. Mailman Family Foundation
  • Altman Foundation
  • Catherine and Joseph Aresty Foundation
  • Joseph H. Flom Family Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust
  • Viking Global Foundation
  • Edith Glick Shoolman Children's Foundation
  • Booth Ferris Foundation.

“The Fund complements the work of the Guttman Foundation by predominantly focusing on systems-building, policy and advocacy work,” Sousa explained.

The Center for New York City Affairs report proposed two course corrections to improve family child care in the city:

  1. The City should revise its practice of borrowing child care practices for older (ages 3 and up) children in larger and more structured and staffed child care centers and importing them to home-based providers working with toddlers and infants.
  2. The City should provide clearer quality guidelines for the network support staff who work with family child care providers, framing their roles as both coach and monitor with clear expectations and ample resources.

Overall, Guttman is a foundation that supports local community-based organizations that deliver evidence-based home visiting programs, strengthen infant health and mental health services, and provide professional development for center-based teachers and home-based caregivers.

When I asked Sousa if the Guttman Foundation was involved in collaborating with any other foundations on the topic of early care and education at the moment, she filled me in on the following effort:  

The Foundation is also in discussion with a leading university in New York City regarding a significant investment in a new early childhood center. This potential opportunity is especially timely given the growing attention by policymakers and practioners on the educational and social-emotional development of children from birth to three. This new early childhood center will focus on improving the quality and availability of professional development opportunities in high-poverty communities for those educating and caring for infants and toddlers.

To learn more about this issue as a funder or a grantseeker in New York, check out the full 16-page report in detail. Also take a look at IP's new local profile about the Guttman Foundation.