About Us

More than 15 million children live in poverty in the United States, according to the US Census (2015). That’s 21% of all American children. And that’s why we exist. We help children exit poverty by providing educational opportunities and other support needed for lifelong success, and we’ve been doing it since entrepreneur Stewart Bainum founded our organization in 1968.

Our decades of experience, combined with our ability to translate the latest research into effective policy and practice to support the whole child, mean we’re continuously evolving our strategy to achieve the greatest impact.

Today, the Foundation’s initiatives reflect growing research that shows the first three years of a child’s life are most critical for brain development. Reaching children during these early years with high-quality early learning and a continuum of vital wrap-around supports gives them the best chance of success in both school and life.

Our Investments

We focus our investments in three areas — Early Learning, Wrap-Around Support and Knowledge Building. Our initiatives — developed and delivered in collaboration with highly skilled and carefully selected partners — are intended to improve the quality and availability of resources for children living in poverty, closing the persistent educational achievement gap that limits their possibilities.

As part researcher, part organizer, part educator and part investor, we put children at the center of everything we do. We’re committed to changing their futures.