Child Welfare Foundation: Grants for Early Childhood Education

OVERVIEW: The Child Welfare Foundation distributes funds raised by the American Legion and it supporters, roughly $650,000-$750,000 in recent years. As grants are required to benefit children in more than one state, this is an important funder for nonprofits working on a national or regional level in educating the public about issues affecting children, inclding childhood education. While the foundation does not have a specific ECE focus, past grants have supported nonprofits that produced learning materials for children, from instructional videos to anti-bullying information packets.


IP TAKE: The Child Welfare Foundation is not the right funder for every nonprofit — especially direct service providers — but for organizations with a broad geographical focus that produce learning or awareness-raising materials for children, families, and other stakeholders, this organization should be a go-to funding source. Its openness to both new and established organizations working on a diverse array of projects is also a big plus for initial grantseekers.


PROFILE: Public awareness-raising is the top priority of The Child Welfare Foundation, whose stated purpose is "to provide other nonprofit organizations with a means to educate the public about the needs of children" nationwide. Within that goal, the foundation has to two general funding priorities, which it describes as contributing "to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children through the dissemination of knowledge about new and innovative organizations and/or their programs designed to benefit youth" and "the dissemination of knowledge already possessed by well-established organizations."  ECE is not a specific focus of this organization, but its broad scope of recipient organizations have worked on projects including childhood autism, reducing drug use, and bereavement guides.


In recent years, the foundation awarded roughly $650,000-$750,000 annually in grants to about 20 organizations each year, raising its total giving history to more than $13 million since its founding. Grants, which the foundations states are normally single-year, generally ranged in a recent year from $10,000 to $50,000, although there were a few outliers for smaller and larger amounts. In this context, foundation grants often support the production and dissemination of learning materials such as:

  • $25,000 to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation for its “Healthy Choices, Healthy Children Booklets,” designed "to assist adult mentors and law enforcement personnel in teaching teamwork, leadership, communication and personal responsibility to the kids they serve." 
  • $12,180 to the The American Academy of Pediatrics' "Connected Kids" program, with a focus on "new forms of violence (e. g. cyber bullying) and new research on issues related to exposure to violence and toxic stress." 
  • $25,000 to support the Songs of Love Foundation for a website update and the production of informational brochures 

 It is important to note this funder's particular requirements for grantseekers to keep in mind. In addition to falling under mission's foundation, grants "must have the potential of helping American children in a large geographic area (more than one state)" and must be project-specific, with no funds going to personnel salaries or general operating expenses (a more complete list of requirements is available here). The foundation features an open application process that runs from May 1 through July 15 each year, though only 10 percent of grants are accepted. The foundation requests that initial inquiries be sent to Executive Secretary Jason R. Kees, who reviews all proposals before passing them along to the Board of Directors for further review.


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