Mar 8, 2022
Robin Hood Foundation Awards Literacy Inc. 'FUEL for 50' to Support Early Childhood Development
Cohort of 50 Wide-Ranging Nonprofits Selected for First Phase of $10M Initiative to Support Early Childhood Official Press Release and List of 50 Awardee Organizations NEW YORK, NY, March 8, 2022 – Robin Hood , New York’s largest poverty-fighting philanthropy, today announced the initial winners of FUEL for 50, its new initiative to support young children’s learning and development through programs focused on their caregivers. These 50 awards—the first phase of a 3-year initiative—are Robin Hood’s latest investments in a six-year commitment to make New York City a model for cultivating and scaling new approaches to supporting the development of children ages 0-3. Representing all five boroughs of New York City and missions ranging from mental health and job training to immigration and legal services, the 50 awardee nonprofits were selected from a pool of 355 programs supporting parents and caregivers of young children. Each will receive $25,000 in unrestricted funding, access to expert workshops and support, and opportunities for up to $1 million in funding over the next two years. “By uplifting organizations that support parents and caregivers of children 0-3, we are shifting the narrative around what it means to support early childhood development, while getting one step closer to making New York City an early learning metropolis where every aspect of our society recognizes and promotes the development of our youngest members,” said Dr. Kelvin Chan, Managing Director of Early Childhood at Robin Hood. “In designing FUEL for 50, it was critical that we structured the initiative toward a holistic, family-centered approach to early childhood and engage programs beyond what we think of as ‘traditional’ child development work.” Robin Hood launched FUEL for 50 with an open call for applications in August 2021, working with the public library systems and direct outreach to help spread the word in neighborhoods throughout New York City. By November, they received more than 350 applications, most of them from organizations not explicitly focused on early childhood. Robin Hood structured all aspects of the initiative to elevate community-informed approaches, and the 50 awardees were selected with support from a committee of local parents, nonprofit leaders, and early childhood researchers and educators. Alongside today’s announcement, Robin Hood released a comprehensive report on the goals and implementation of FUEL for 50, including data and insights gleaned from the pool of 355 applicant organizations. Despite the non-traditional aspects of the initiative, Robin Hood found community organizations of all sizes and mission areas working on creative ways to support parents and caregivers of young children. Caregiver stress was a predominant theme, with more than 80% of programs focused on reducing sources of stress and 40% of applications citing mental health support. FUEL for 50 applicants also overwhelmingly cited community knowledge, experience, and trust as tentpoles in their program design and approaches, uplifting the value for lived experience. “With FUEL for 50, Robin Hood was extremely deliberate in designing and implementing an initiative that would truly celebrate all facets of early childhood work. Rather than continuing to fund programs that were already on their radar, the FUEL for 50 team took the time to go beyond surface consultation with community-based organizations and New York City parents by directly involving organization and community representatives in the grantee selection process itself, reconfiguring how funding flows into historically marginalized communities,” said Kassa Belay, Co-Director, United for Brownsville and a member of the FUEL for 50 selection committee. “Through United for Brownsville, I’ve seen the power of Robin Hood’s investment to catalyze critical change in my community, so it was an honor to partner with FUEL for 50’s selection committee to identify and award other organizations creating impact across the five boroughs.” Along with unrestricted funding, the 50 awardee organizations are invited to participate in a series of optional workshops with experts in child development and nonprofit management. In November 2022, FUEL will award up to 10 of the selected organizations $250,000 in additional funding to test the efficacy of their programs, and – in 2023 – up to three awardees will receive an additional $1 million to scale their efforts. FUEL for 50 was born out of Robin Hood’s Fund for Early Learning (FUEL), which launched in 2016 with a mandate to help transform New York City into an “early learning metropolis” by focusing on children three-and-under living below the poverty line. To date, FUEL has partnered with New York City agencies that support young children, advanced new research, and committed $50 million in investments to partner organizations. To learn more about FUEL for 50, visit FUELfor50.org. Learn more and register for LINC’s latest virtual reading programs. We can’t wait to read with you.