Centering Stakeholder Voice, Vision and Expertise in Leading Policy Change

“I can’t tell you how many times we were told ‘No.’ How many times we were told ‘There is no money’ or ‘Even with federal funding, there is no money for this.’ We were told ‘We should wait, This is not the time…’ All of this, I believe, gave us more fuel to make our case. This was the exact right time. There is no better time.”

Kimberly Perry

Executive Director, DC Action
LOCAL LEADERS MAKE POLICY DECISIONS that directly affect communities. Over the past year, state and local policymakers have been afforded significant discretion in how millions of dollars in federal funding for COVID-19 relief and recovery could be used to meet community needs. This flexibility allows state and local policymakers and agency leaders to address issues considered most important to communities. However, the funding and implementation decisions about who receives and benefits from these additional resources are often at the mercy of traditional power structures that determine access. Our partners have worked to influence and change these power dynamics — centering and prioritizing the voice, vision and expertise of stakeholders who have lived experience to drive the decision-making process and position these stakeholders as the leaders of policy change at the local, state and federal levels. And the results so far are promising.

Under 3 DC: Leading the Charge on Early Childhood Education Workforce Compensation

Under 3 DC has a big dream: to create and sustain a high-quality, equitable early childhood system. The Coalition, made up of nearly 50 organizations, harnesses the voices and power of parents, educators and other caregivers to increase public investments to support families with infants and toddlers. In 2016, the foundation created an alliance of partner organizations that evolved into the Coalition, and today, we directly support a third of the Coalition partners to actively participate in advocacy efforts for early care and education. In the fall of 2019, the Coalition launched the Under 3 DC campaign, which in just two years achieved one of the nation’s biggest policy wins for early childhood educators at the local level.

Dreaming Out Loud: Centering Community Voice to Promote an Equitable Food System

Our partner Dreaming Out Loud (DOL) works to reframe the way people think about food. DOL reconnects people to their food sources and examines how historic discriminatory policies — chattel slavery, sharecropping and the Jim Crow era — continue to impact our communities.

Thrive Coalition: A Coalition of Coalitions Supporting Child Well-Being Globally

When the renowned international journal The Lancet published the 2016 series Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale, a small group of internationally focused organizations came together to begin educating U.S. policymakers on the need to support children’s development around the world. The journal series found that globally, 250 million children younger than age 5 were not reaching their development potential. This finding gave the small group the spark and the evidence necessary to drive change. The group grew into the Thrive Coalition, now 42 organizations focused on building champions and raising awareness for the United States’ involvement in global child development.