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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.


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


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

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


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.


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.


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, and the IMPACT Measures Tool by EC PRISM.


We fund early childhood policy organizations that drive public funds toward evidence-based policies and practices and improve outcomes for young children. Examples include the Alliance for Early Success, First Five Years Fund, The Hunt Institute, and the Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center.

"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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Alliance for Early Success
Working to achieve equitable state early childhood policies that support young children and their families
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Building better and brighter futures for underserved families through education programs that meet families where they are
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Baby’s First Years
Exploring the connections between poverty reduction and brain development among young children
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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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Making it easy for anyone to help a teacher in need
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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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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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Family Connects
Connecting parents of newborns to the community resources they need through postpartum nurse home visits
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First Five Years Fund
Advocating for and advancing federal investment in early childhood education for children in under-resourced communities from birth to age five
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Transforming the promise of pediatric primary care
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The Hunt Institute
Bringing together people and resources to inspire and inform elected officials and policymakers about issues in education
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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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ParentCorps transforms the pre-K experience in historically disinvested neighborhoods by helping schools partner with families to build a future where all children thrive
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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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Providing a text-based family engagement solution that increases literacy skills in young children
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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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