RD499 - Virginia Early Childhood Foundation 2022 Annual Report to Stakeholders

Executive Summary:

At the close of FY22, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation finds itself once again in a “hinge" position of both recognizing progress made over the past year as well as forecasting what’s to come.

Regaining Footing: As the world has passed the low point of the COVID-19 era and begun to see more normal times, VECF has been both humbled and proud to continue to advance the reimagination of Virginia’s early childhood education system. Recognizing the challenges from limited access to early childhood education services and opportunities for parents to rejoin the workforce and provide for their families, VECF has continued to incubate innovation and grow the Mixed Delivery preschool program. Mixed Delivery is the exemplar of Virginia’s public-private parent choice system, serving nearly 1300 children in FY22, having grown from serving 250 children in FY21, and planning to serve 2000 children (including 200 children under the age of three) in FY23.

VECF has taken the lead in ensuring on-the-ground quality supports for all publicly funded early childhood education classrooms in the Commonwealth by launching Ready Regions as the newest iteration of our Smart Beginnings network. Nine high-capacity lead agencies advance and coordinate public-private partnerships across their regional footprints with an emphatic focus on ensuring that children’s experiences in publicly funded classrooms can be game-changing. Especially with the learning setbacks faced during the pandemic, these environments and experiences are all the more important for a generation of Virginia’s youngest learners.

All of our work is grounded in a commitment to more precisely understand the needs and preferences of parents through family engagement, data collection, analysis, and research so that we can design and deliver an early childhood system that works for Virginia’s children and families.

Forecasting the Future: VECF takes seriously its role as honest broker and innovator for Virginia’s public-private early childhood system. Working with our coalition of 30+ organizational members of the Virginia Promise Partnership, we have developed Virginia’s roadmap to affordable, accessible quality child care for all Virginia families by 2030. We have championed development of a cost estimate over three phases of effort to achieve the goal. As part of this role, we are committed to prudent forecasting and advocating for investments and policy priorities that Virginia must address.

Comprehensive fiscal analysis and due diligence has clarified the fiscal cliff that Virginia’s early education system will face by FY25 due to the end of the federal COVID relief funds. Navigating the cliff is the next big hurdle and opportunity as Virginia progresses in building a strong, durable early childhood system that ensures Virginia reaps a triple-bottom line from investment:

• School-ready children;
• Work-ready parents;
• Thriving communities.

Taking Care of Business: VECF and partners earn and leverage resources to yield significant return on investment. In FY22, we secured additional resources to our base appropriation by a ratio of 46:1. With overhead at only 1.5% of our annual budget, we have intentionally directed resources into communities and innovative strategies that have supported access, quality, and accountability in Virginia’s early childhood system. Please visit www.vecf.org to learn more about our efforts in FY22.

While VECF’s vantage point of learning from the past and preparing for the future brings awesome responsibilities, we are grateful that investors and regional partners continue to place their confidence in our ability to serve well. It is only in collaboration with public and private partners, investors, the Administration and General Assembly, early childhood providers and families that we will continue to make progress and succeed with our profoundly important mission and vision.

With gratitude,

/s/ Robert Hurt

/s/ Kathy Glazer