Early Learning

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Making the Case

When our children’s earliest years consist of high quality care, enriching experiences, and academic preparation, we all benefit.

The first eight years of a child’s life are critical because, in this short time span, the building blocks for optimal development are established. Early relationships (both familial and external) lay the groundwork for academic preparation and social/emotional development. Brain and vocabulary development directly influence academic success; social adjustment and self-regulation impact behavior. How we think, learn, communicate, concentrate, problem solve and relate to others when we get to school and later in our lives depends in large part on the experiences we have and the skills we develop during the earliest days, months, and years. Without these vital skills, windows will close and will not reopen again without costly remediation, if ever. Because of the complex nature of early childhood development, multiple audiences - including parents, caregivers, teachers and communities - must work together to ensure that children enter school ready to learn and that they remain on that path.

Our Investment

Early Learning progress in the Tri-State will be measured by these community changes:

  • More children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn
  • More 3rd graders will meet or exceed grade level benchmarks for school success

The Foundation has identified four specific strategies that engage key audiences:

  • Family Engagement – Helping families understand the importance of early learning  and equipping them with best practice parenting tools
  • Provider Effectiveness – Equipping early learning providers with the tools to create high quality learning settings
  • Affordable High Quality Enrollment – Providing scholarship resources towards efforts to make high quality learning environments more accessible to families
  • Academic Supports – Funding programs by schools, church and community organizations focused on narrowing the learning gap among elementary school students


Inquiries are accepted throughout the year except during active Grant Review Periods. See the Grant Calendars section for more information.

NOTE: The Foundation’s grant process is conducted exclusively via Internet access. SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED VIA POSTAL MAIL, E-MAIL OR ANY OTHER METHOD.

If the mission of your organization aligns with this Community Impact area, and the program/project for which you are seeking funding will clearly drive progress toward the specified outcomes/community change, we invite you to submit an Inquiry for the applicable funding cycle.  The application is a two-stage process:

Stage 1 - Inquiry

Stage 2 - Proposal

Grant seeker’s statement of interest in funding for a program or project in Early Learning.  Inquiries can be initiated below. Foundation’s invitation to submit further information based on submitted Inquiry. For those invited, a link will be provided by the Foundation via email.

Inquiries are open to all secular, church and other faith-based nonprofit organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.

The Foundation conducts a 24 month Early Learning grant cycle: 18 month continuous consideration of Inquiries, followed by a 6 month full Proposal Review Period. Once an Inquiry is submitted, you will receive an automated confirmation email. Inquiries will receive a formal response no later than 90 days from submission.

The following steps will help you submit a successful Inquiry:

Any nonprofit organization that wishes to submit an Inquiry may do so until 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 26, 2018. If you don’t see an answer to your question on our website, or you would like to speak with someone directly, please contact the Early Learning Program Officer by email or by phone 812-437-8260.

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