NHSA Receives Ford Foundation Grant

Washington, D.C. – The National Head Start Association has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation as part of their shared mission to challenge inequality. The funding will support a study that will inform the national understanding of parent engagement and create a tool to help Head Start programs measure and quantify the contribution Head Start makes to family stability and success.

The study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, aims to create a web-based tool to help Head Start programs across the country measure parent, family, and community engagement based on direct parent feedback. This new tool will provide programs with information critical to both enhancing family engagement and supporting ongoing program activities.

As the national leader in the delivery of comprehensive early childhood education, Head Start focuses on two-generation approaches to early learning that engage parents and set entire families on a path toward self-sufficiency. The study will determine how to measure outcomes for the families served. The tool is scheduled to be available in the fall of 2016 and will give local Head Start programs the ability to holistically measure impact and better meet the unique needs of the families they serve.

“Head Start has been a leader around two-generation approaches for fifty years, and the Head Start model emphasizes that parents truly are their child’s first teacher,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “The Ford Foundation’s generous grant represents a significant contribution to Head Start’s continuous improvement and commitment to excellence. This tool will provide tangible proof of the value of our work with parents and could be game changing in our efforts to challenge inequality and disrupt poverty.”

The Ford Foundation has a long history of supporting Head Start, with early-childhood initiatives and funding that go back as far as the creation of the program 50 years ago. The Ford Foundation’s own president, Darren Walker, was a member of Head Start’s inaugural class in 1965.

“As a graduate and beneficiary of the first class of Head Start, I know that we are equipping children not solely for early childhood education, but for a lifetime of success,” said Darren Walker. “Having more data on the community-wide impact of this integral program will ensure every single child in America continues to have meaningful opportunities to reach their full potential, something which is equally essential to a strong future for our nation.”

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients in the United States. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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