We’re writing this, in our new normal, reflecting on the year that was 2019—a world that now seems light years away. The packed meeting rooms, the coffee chats, the volunteer opportunities (with books and kids—our favorite). Greeting friends and colleagues with hugs or handshakes, facilitating all-day meetings with sticky notes on the walls, laughing (and sometimes crying) together.
Now that our community is strictly virtual, we are all using different tools, connecting in new ways, and adjusting our focus to meet the most urgent needs of our communities. This new virtual community has helped us understand how very relational our work is. We are all components of a much larger whole, and each component, each partner, is critical to the work. NC Early Childhood Foundation is proud to be one patch in the tapestry of early childhood advocates, service providers, families, funders, and researchers that, knit together, makes a beautifully designed, cohesive quilt. We need one another to achieve our goals for a more equitable, whole child approach to early childhood system-building. And we need data to guide the direction and durability of the stitching.
This Impact Report outlines the work of the NC Early Childhood Foundation in 2019, when we took a deep dive into data — quantitative data, but also data that go beyond numbers, to lived experience and the wisdom of families and communities. This is a moment of rapid change and crisis triage, which is teaching us how to apply data-led solutions to adaptive challenges. This is also a time of reckoning and of hope for racial justice. We are working, all of us together, to move our early childhood system towards equity, using data as our guide.