Igniting the Power of Collaborative Action to Achieve a Bold Vision for NC’s Children

The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) has spent the past several months talking to leaders – business, nonprofit, advocacy, government and philanthropic – across the state asking this question: What value can NCECF add to the state’s goal to improve outcomes for young children? What does NC need?

ncecf-iconsThe answers to these questions formed the creation of our new strategic plan – one that we believe is urgent, achievable and strategic by coming together around a common agenda and a shared course of action.

Our Vision

Each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for lifelong success and reading proficiency, supported by the nation’s best birth-to-eight system.

It’s Urgent

  • North Carolina is facing a growing skills gap. By 2020, 67% of jobs in North Carolina will require some post-secondary education.
  • The majority of NC fourth graders are not proficient in a key predictor of future academic success— reading proficiency. In 2013, only 35% of North Carolina fourth graders and 22% of students from economically disadvantaged families scored at or above reading proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • Reading in the early grades predicts high school and later success. Those who read well go on to graduate, but those who aren’t reading well by the end of third grade are FOUR TIMES more likely to drop out of high school.

It’s Achievable

  • Grade-level reading is achievable with policies and practices that reflect reading is a cumulative process that develops from birth and is rooted in early brain development.
  • To build a strong foundation for learning, children need good health, supportive and supported families, and high quality early learning environments that build social-emotional and cognitive development.

It’s Strategic

  • Together, we can realize greater outcomes for young children than any one of us can produce on our own.
  • We need state and local policies and practices aligned around and actively advancing a common vision, shared measures of success and coordinated strategies that support children’s optimal development beginning at birth.


NCECF’s Role

  • We convene, leverage, and connect the talent and resources of our partners to realize an impact that is greater than any one organization can produce on its own.
  • We build public will by advancing understanding of birth-through-eight child development and its connection to societal outcomes.
  • We promote practice and policy solutions that drive aligned action to support each North Carolina child being on a pathway to grade-level reading success.
  • We are committed to bringing diverse stakeholders together to collaborate toward a common agenda and support a shared course of action.

Download our new Strategic Plan Booklet to learn more.

Thank you to those who were interviewed.

  • Johanna Anderson, Belk Foundation
  • Brenda Berg, BEST NC
  • Natalie Blake, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
  • Kevin Cain, Rex Endowment
  • Damon Circosta, A. J. Fletcher Foundation
  • Pam Dowdy, Wake County SmartStart
  • Jennie Eblen, Short Stop Stores
  • Michelle Hughes, NC Child
  • Hal Kaplan and Evan Goldman, Kaplan Early Learning
  • Tom Lambeth, Z Smith Reynolds Foundation
  • Rhett Mabry, Duke Endowment
  • Jennifer MacDougall, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC Foundation
  • Katie Morris, Belk Foundation
  • Sherry Franklin, Director of Early Intervention services, NC Division of Public Health
  • Carol Tant, Director of Children and Youth Services, NC Division of Public Health
  • Rich Neimand, Neimand Collaborative
  • Chris Payne, NC Center on Children, Youth and Families, NC Infant Mental Health Association
  • Rachel Perry, United Way Worldwide
  • Keith Poston, Public School Forum of NC
  • John Pruette, NC DPI Office of Early Instruction
  • Mebane Rash, Education NC
  • Michelle Rivest, NC Child Care Coalition
  • Joe Waters, Institute for Child Success
  • Cindy Watkins, NC Partnership for Children