Think Babies NC Seeks to Support Developing a BIPOC Leadership Pipeline

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When we Think Babies™ NC, we create stronger families, vibrant communities and a prosperous future for North Carolina, but we cannot do that without putting equity at the heart of all that we do. That includes equity in our hiring processes, staffing, compensation, and actual recruitment and development of diverse leaders. 

Purpose of Think Babies Racial Equity Work and Survey

The Think Babies NC Alliance hopes to build a network to elevate system leaders at the local or state level who will change the face of the early childhood prenatal to three sector. The Think Babies NC Alliance intends to create a network community of emerging professionals of color who are already working within the prenatal to three system in early childhood. It is necessary to shift the power, address systemic racialized issues in the sector, and add diverse voices to the field that lead to better policies and outcomes for babies and young children.

In the prenatal to three early childhood spaces in North Carolina, a disproportionate amount of people who serve in executive-level leadership positions are white women, which is not representative of the families and children in the state. Although more people of color aspire to become nonprofit leaders, they face greater barriers to attaining executive roles even where there are no differences in qualifications. When a person of color does ascend to an executive position, struggles of racism can increase, which is highlighted in the report, Trading Glass Ceilings for Glass Cliffs: A Race to Lead Report on Nonprofit Executives of Color.

Process to Change the Faces of Early Childhood Leadership 

Besides utilizing the leadership of our Racial Equity Committee, we have identified that the first step to tackling this issue is to conduct a needs assessment to gather data to see if creating a network of emerging professionals of color is of interest to people working in NC’s organization’s serving (direct services and indirect services) babies and young children. Evidence will be gathered through multiple sources (survey, focus groups, listening sessions, etc.). We’re starting with the survey! 

If you identify as a Black, Indigenous or Person of Color working in an early childhood space, we ask that you please consider taking five to ten minutes to complete the Leaders from Within – Needs Assessment on Building a Network of Emerging BIPOC Leaders.

Examples of questions you may find on the survey include: 

  • Would the creation of a BIPOC Emerging Leaders be useful to you? Why or why not?
  • How would you define a leader?
  • Are you planning to stay and grow your experience in the early childhood sector?
  • What are some challenges that you have encountered working as a person of color in the early childhood sector?
  • What are some opportunities that would be beneficial for you (e.g. networking opportunities, mentorship, cross-sector collaboration, etc)?

Once the qualitative and quantitative information is gathered, the data will be analyzed and reviewed to determine the next steps.

But we cannot move forward with this work without your input. Please share feedback with us on the Needs Assessment on Building a Network of Emerging BIPOC Leaders

Values Ingrained in Policies, Programs, and Funding to Think Babies in NC

When families have what they need to thrive, our economy works. When policies embody equity, all children have opportunities to reach their full potential, and our society is strengthened. 

Every child, regardless of their race, family income, or zip code, deserves an equal opportunity to thrive and succeed in life.

Think Babies™ NC seeks to ensure that North Carolina’s youngest children, prenatal to age 3, benefit from effective and equitable public policies, programs, and funding so that all children have what they need to thrive: healthy beginnings, supported families, and quality early care and learning experiences. This statewide initiative to support the healthy development of infants and toddlers is led by the Think Babies™ NC Alliance, comprised of a dynamic, cross-sector Leadership Team of public and private early childhood organizations at the local and state level.

The NC Early Childhood Foundation is proud to have two of its staff members – Executive Director, Muffy Grant, and Marketing and Communications Leader, Lindsay Saunders, sit on the Leadership Team, providing regular input and contributions to the Think Babies NC Alliance. Our involvement in the Think Babies NC Initiative remains a key component of our organization’s work to lift up infants, toddlers, their families and caregivers, and those who serve and support them. 

Again, we are eager to lift up more diverse leaders in early childhood, but we cannot do that until we’ve sought the expertise, perspectives, and preferences of our diverse early education caregivers and educators, through this needs assessment.

Keep in Touch with NCECF and Support Our Work

Please be sure to subscribe to our biweekly newsletter and consider making a donation today by helping us transform the lives of North Carolina families, from their earliest days, while also supporting a small growing, family-friendly team. 

The NC Early Childhood Foundation is driven by a bold – and achievable – vision: Each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for life-long health, education, and well-being supported by a comprehensive, equitable birth-to-eight ecosystem. We build understanding, lead collaboration, and advance policies to ensure each North Carolina child is on track for lifelong success by the end of third grade.