Expanding International Impact: Global Education Fund Now Supports Children in India

Photo courtesy of UNICEF

While the majority of our work is based in the United States, one of our areas of work has been providing support to children and families across Africa for the past five years. The Global Education Fund is part of our Family Philanthropy Initiative, which supports the ongoing philanthropic efforts of four generations of the Bainum family. Bruce Bainum, a long-time Bainum Family Foundation Board member and son of founders Stewart and Jane Bainum, established the Global Education Fund in 2014 to address education issues, including early childhood development, early primary education, and education for women and girls.

Through the Global Education Fund, we partner with respected global organizations that make vulnerable and marginalized children in developing countries a top priority. The Global Education Fund has historically served children in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia. This year, we are expanding to India — backing this expansion with double the amount of funding as last year.

One of the programs supported by the Global Education Fund. We partner with UNICEF to provide high-quality, play-based early learning programs in Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of UNICEF)

“The Foundation went through a thoughtful process for selecting grantees, including a landscape analysis of need and opportunities,” says Joan Lombardi, an internationally recognized expert on child and family policy and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We saw both need and opportunity in northern India, so now, our plan includes a focus on early childhood in communities there and in Ethiopia, as well as on capacity building both in those regions and globally.”

Our initial group of partners included Firelight Foundation, Global Fund for Children, the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children. Through them, we supported projects that enhanced access to high-quality early childhood development centers in low-income communities and refugee camps. Our next phase of work retains these partnerships but adds eight new ones to further support early childhood development centers in Ethiopia and Tanzania, to expand the work into India, and to also support “systems strengthening” organizations that focus on regional coordination and advocacy work and help complement the programmatic work of our direct-service partners.

Following is an overview of our partners and the impact we hope to achieve through the Global Education Fund.

Direct Service Partners


  • UNICEF (new partnership) — UNICEF is helping the Government of Ethiopia establish approximately 50 child care centers over the next three years for children affected by poverty, political conflict and displacement. These centers will provide high-quality, play-based early learning programs. The Foundation is supporting the procurement of early childhood development materials at the centers as well as hands-on trainings for parents and caregivers.
  • PATH (new partnership) — PATH is supporting the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health’s goal of expanding routine health services for children ages 0 to 3 to include child development counseling for their caregivers. Throughout the first year, this project will focus on 10 health facilities in a sub-area of Addis Ababa.
  • Save the Children — Save the Children has an existing program for early childhood care and education in the Tigray region. Our support will help build on that program by training caregivers on the importance of interaction and play that promotes children’s cognitive, physical/motor and social-emotional development.
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC) — We are helping IRC provide play-based early learning using the Pre-School Healing Classrooms curriculum, while also providing training for parents and teachers in four Eritrean refugee camps in the Tigray region. This program will employ developmental assessments that measure social-emotional and cognitive skills to evaluate program effectiveness.


  • Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) (new partnership) — IPA is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. The organization is leading a project to establish a comprehensive early childhood development strategy for the Tanzania Research and Innovation Hub’s work in humanitarian settings in western Tanzania. Our support will help enable the Hub to evaluate what works in crisis-affected contexts and use this knowledge to inform future early childhood development programs and policies.


  • UNICEF (new partnership) — Through combined efforts with the state government and other partners, UNICEF’s work will improve the quality of pre-primary education within government-run early childhood education centers in four target districts in Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India. Through this program, we will help educate government employees to train the frontline workers in the centers.
  • Ummeed Child Development Fund (UCDF) (new partnership) — We are supporting UCDF’s general operations for its programs run by Ummeed Child Development Center in Mumbai, India. Through its training programs and direct clinical services, the Center provides resources to children with developmental disabilities and their families.
  • CAF America (Mobile Creches) (new partnership) — Mobile Creches provides child care programs at construction sites and urban slums in New Delhi. Services include age-appropriate educational activities, health care and nutrition.

Systems-Strengthening Partners

  • Global Campaign for Education (GCE-US) — We are providing support for the Global Campaign for Education’s “Early Education for All” project, which advocates universal access to quality inclusive education — especially for vulnerable children, girls and youth with disabilities. GCE-US achieves its objectives through policy advocacy, youth leader network training and hosting activities designed to engage coalition partners, U.S. government officials, USAID and the World Bank.
  • RESULTS Education Fund (new partnership) — We are providing support to the RESULTS Education Fund, which will collaborate with the Thrive Coalition to educate policy and decision makers in the U.S. Congress and Administration, especially USAID, on the importance of global early childhood education policies and programs.
  • ChildFund International (new partnership) — ChildFund International is serving as the fiscal agent for two separate projects: 1) “Stronger Voices for Children” led by Asia Regional Network on Early Childhood (ARNEC) and Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN), and 2) Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN) Knowledge Fellows program. The “Stronger Voices for Children” project will strengthen national early childhood networks in Africa and Asia. Efforts will include capacity building of organizational management, advocacy and resource mobilization with network leaders in select countries.

“We’re excited to expand our funding in the global early education arena with these great partners,” says Bruce Bainum. “They have the experience and expertise that will continue to leverage our impact in providing quality early education for many of the world’s poorest.”