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Explore our impact areas and learn about our grantees.

Early Childhood Development

Valhalla’s goal is to dramatically improve kindergarten readiness in the U.S., so that all children—and particularly low-income children and children of color—get off to a strong start in learning and life.

Too many of our nation’s children, and particularly low-income children and children of color, start kindergarten behind where they need to be to learn and thrive. A study by the Brookings Institute concluded than only half (48%) of low-income children are ready for school at age five, compared to 75% of children from families with moderate and high income, a 27-percentage-point gap.

48%

of low-income children are ready for school at age five

75%

compared to 75% of children from families with moderate and high income

Valhalla Foundation funds proven solutions, research, and field-building efforts that aim to close these gaps and help all children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Solutions

We fund solutions that meaningfully improve outcomes that matter for kindergarten readiness, proven in rigorous studies with a control group, and that are scalable such that they can grow to impact hundreds of thousands of children in need with credible sources of sustainable revenue. See our grantee spotlights on Waterford Upstart, Centering Healthcare Institute, and Family Connects for examples.

Research

We fund research efforts that increase knowledge of what works to improve kindergarten readiness – so that practitioners and policy-makers can adopt those solutions. Examples include the CAPER Study at the University of Chicago’s Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab and Baby’s First Years.

Field-building efforts

We fund field-building efforts that develop tools and resources needed to remove barriers and to build the field’s capacity to improve kindergarten readiness. Examples include Promise Venture Studio, the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center, and the IMPACT Measures Tool by EC PRISM.

"The early childhood investments we make today in disadvantaged young children promote social mobility, create opportunity, and foster a vibrant, healthy, and inclusive society and economy."

James J. Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Grantee Spotlights

Waterford Upstart

Helping all children develop the foundational literacy and math skills they need to be ready for kindergarten.

Centering Healthcare Institute

Improving parenting behaviors and child outcomes through its group-based approach to prenatal and pediatric care.

Family Connects

Strengthening health outcomes and community connections for newborns and their families through postpartum nurse home visits.

Our Early Childhood Development Portfolio

All Our Kin
Training, supporting, and sustaining family child care providers
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Baby’s First Years
Exploring the connections between poverty reduction and brain development among young children
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CAPER Study at the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab, University of Chicago
Understanding behavioral tools to increase the amount of time parents spend reading to their pre-school-aged children, with the aim of improving children’s literacy skills.
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Centering Healthcare Institute
Improving health, transforming care, and disrupting inequitable systems through the Centering group model
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Code for America
Using technology and human-centered design to improve public services that reduce poverty and advance equity
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DonorsChoose
Making it easy for anyone to help a teacher in need
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Family Connects
Connecting parents of newborns to the community resources they need through postpartum nurse home visits
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Global Scales of Early Development Project at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
Advancing population-level measures of early childhood development
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HealthySteps
Transforming the promise of pediatric primary care
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IMPACT Measures Tool by EC PRISM
Providing a database of early childhood and parenting measures and educational tools that improve the quantity and quality of measurement in the field
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LENA
Transforming children's futures through early talk technology and data-driven programs
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Math Shelf
Providing a tablet-based early math program that prepares young children for lifelong success
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Nurse-Family Partnership
Empowering first-time moms to transform their lives and create better futures for themselves and their babies
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ParentPowered
Providing a text-based family engagement solution that increases literacy skills in young children
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Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center
Translating the science of the developing child into the most effective policy actions and public investments for states
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Promise Venture Studio
Helping entrepreneurs in the early childhood sector reach greater scale and impact
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TalkingPoints
Driving student success by using accessible technology to unlock the potential of family engagement - especially in under-resourced communities
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Too Small To Fail
Surrounding families with early learning opportunities and partnering to prepare young children for success in kindergarten and beyond
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Waterford Upstart
Partnering with families, educators, and communities to help every child build the skills they need to succeed in school and in life
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Wildflower Schools
An ecosystem of decentralized Montessori micro-schools that give all children and families the opportunity to choose high quality, beautiful learning environments
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