Dollar Per Child Logo

Dollar per Child is NHSA's annual fundraising campaign to support our advocacy efforts on behalf of Head Start’s one million children and families, 275,000 staff, and their communities. NHSA’s advocacy efforts raise awareness of the essential role Head Start plays in every community across the country and secure funds to ensure the program can reach more eligible children and families with its high-quality, comprehensive services.

Voluntary contributions through the Dollar per Child campaign are the primary, critical source of funding for NHSA's advocacy efforts—and these efforts pay off. Through effective, strategic advocacy, Head Start has seen an increase in funding every year for a decade. For example, Dollar per Child funds have helped NHSA to secure dedicated quality improvement funds to address the effects of adverse childhood experiences in addition to two billion dollars in COVID-19 relief funds.

How are Dollar per Child funds used?

NHSA serves as the untiring voice that will not be quiet until every vulnerable child is served with the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the whole family, and the community. We use funds in three areas:

  • Advocacy: The NHSA advocacy team engages locally, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and with the administration. A part of our strategy is to empower parents, families, alumni, and supporters to tell their stories about the impact that Head Start and Early Head Start have in their lives and communities. We provide the facts about Head Start to policymakers, lawmakers, and thought leaders—unbiased, nonpartisan, and clear. Time and time again, we have demonstrated that, when given the opportunity to understand the facts, meet the dedicated staff, and hear from children, families, and alumni, the fiercest skeptics of Head Start have become committed supporters.
  • Media: NHSA’s media team strives to maximize exposure of Head Start and Early Head Start locally and nationally. We work with local supporters, community leaders, and Head Start program directors to develop a local media presence through letters to editors and op-eds. We work with local programs to publicize local advocacy and Dollar per Child events, and we assist with publishing articles on Head Start alumni and their trajectory of success. Nationally, our strategy is to shape the conversations about early childhood education and ensure that Head Start and Early Head Start’s standard-setting model are at the forefront. As with most of our advocacy efforts, our media team grows national exposure around those conversations.
  • Government Relations: NHSA’s government relations team maintains a constant presence on Capitol Hill, making sure members of Congress have the facts about Head Start and Early Head Start and are connected to the programs in their districts and states. Our team works with Republicans and Democrats, alike, building relationships with Head Start champions on both sides of the aisle. NHSA’s Policy Agenda, collaboratively developed every two years with members of the Head Start community, guides the work of the government relations team. We work with Congress and the administration, including a close relationship with the Office of Head Start, to develop and modify early childhood education legislation and policy, as well as policy directly governing Head Start and Early Head Start. We strive to make sure the voices of the Head Start community are heard.

NHSA is proud to partner with Kaplan Early Learning Company on the Dollar per Child campaign.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Fundraiser’s Guide helps Head Start Policy Councils, parents, staff, and friends to use to support advocacy for Head Start and Early Head Start. Download the resource now.