Joyce Foundation: Grants for Early Childhood Education

OVERVIEW: The Joyce Foundation supports early childhood education organizations that ensure children's access to quality public education beginning at a young age.  

IP TAKE: This funder’s early childhood education grantmaking focuses on helping children from low-income communities.

PROFILE: Beatrice Joyce Kean, the heir to her family's lumber and industrial fortune, founded the Joyce Foundation in 1948 and bequeathed nearly $100 million to the foundation upon her death in 1972. Based in Chicago, the foundation "invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region." The foundation operates five funding initiatives: education and economic mobility, environmentgun violence prevention and justice reform, culture and democracy.

Support for early childhood education stems from Joyce’s education and economic mobility program, which seeks to "increase economic mobility through equitable access to high-quality education and jobs." The foundation does this by supporting organizations and projects that support teacher quality, pathways to college and careers, and innovation in teaching, emphasizing students of color and low-income backgrounds. One past grantee, the New America Foundation, received a grant for its work to improve the early childhood workforce in the Great Lakes Region.

Joyce Foundation grants range from $75,000 to to $1 million, with an average grants size of about $200,000. The Joyce Foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry (LOI) from organizations operating in the Great Lakes Region throughout the year and recommends that applicants submit LOIs at least six to eight weeks before proposal deadlines. A searchable grants database is provided on the foundation’s website.


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