Research shows that healthy early childhood development (birth through age 5) sets the stage for a healthy, productive adulthood.

Factors influencing success in early childhood development include high-quality learning experiences, secure interpersonal attachments, healthy environments,and safe and affordable housing.

Current Funding Opportunity

There is currently an open call for proposals for funding aimed at increasing participation by licensed family child care programs in the Parent Aware Ratings program and encouraging parents to use the ratings when choosing early care and education programs for their young children. Up to $300,000 will be awarded, with individual grants of up to $100,000 each. View video to learn about Parent Aware.

Online applications are due by April 28, 2014 at 4 p.m. An informational was held on April 2, 2014 at 2 p.m. Central Time. View webinar.

The other grantmaking initiative supporting work in the area of early childhood development is called Growing Up Healthy. The goal of this initiative is to build strong and connected communities where children can thrive and grow up healthy, especially in low-income communities.

Growing Up Healthy is designed to help communities throughout Minnesota work across sectors in new ways to create an environment that nurtures the healthy growth and development of children under the age of 5.


To view all resources click here

Time to Act: Investing in the Health of our Children and Communities

Recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America.


Executive Summary: Time to Act: Investing in the Health of our Children and Communities

Executive summary of the recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America.


Foundation Overview

Learn about the Foundation's focus areas, 2013 grantmaking and other key information.


Kids Count Data Book 2013

State trends in child well-being.


Growing Up Healthy: Kids and Communities

In this video we travel the state, showing neighborhood groups, nonprofits and others working together to create healthier communities.

Order the DVD


Start Early Funders Coalition for Children and Minnesota's Future

The Start Early Funders Coalition provides critical leadership and funding for research, program development, public policy and grant making to improve early childhood efforts in Minnesota and ensure children and families thrive.


America's Health Starts with Healthy Children: How Do States Compare?

This chartbook provides state and national data on two important and widely used measures of children’s health: infant mortality and children’s general health status as reported by their parents.


University of Minnesota Center for Early Education and Development

Website for the Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota, which has spent more than 30 years helping children from infancy through age 8 to learn and develop to the best of their abilities.


Growing Up Healthy in Cedar-Riverside

A young Somali woman living in Minneapolis recalled her first pregnancy as a new arrival in Minnesota. “I didn’t have my mother or any sisters or aunts nearby who could answer my questions, and I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. Another Somali woman who had worked as a doula in Somalia remembers looking out her apartment window in Minneapolis one cold, snowy December day and seeing a young, pregnant mom crossing the street holding onto a toddler’s hand. She wore no coat, and the child was wearing flip flops. The young mother recently had arrived in Minnesota, was staying at a women’s shelter and had not yet been connected to basic resources.

The two women are a part of Growing Up Healthy in the Cedar-Riverside community of Minneapolis, assuming a leadership role in working with other mothers in the community to ensure that their children are getting their healthiest start. The Cedar-Riverside community includes an estimated 5,000 people of whom more than 1,200 are under the age of 18.

A core group of women from the community received leadership training through a grant made to Fairview Foundation. The training covers prenatal care, fitness and nutrition and aims to help connect expectant mothers and those with young children to resources and to each other for support in a culturally appropriate way. The training also emphasizes the importance of high quality early childhood care. The women serve as change agents, so that the work can continue beyond the life of the grant.

To view video and meet some of the mothers and children, click here.

​The Greater St. Cloud Area Access Project

Imagine you’re a new parent. It can be overwhelming at times, trying to keep up with all the things you need to do to ensure that your child grows up healthy and happy. Now imagine that you’re new to the country and speak limited English. It’s intimidating to ask for help, and you don’t know who you can trust.

St. Cloud State University, in partnership with other area organizations, is working to create a warm and welcoming environment for immigrant and refugee parents to help ensure equal access to high-quality early childhood learning opportunities for their children. The project also includes the creation of an educational pathway with scholarships for immigrant college students to become parent and youth educators.

The Access Project’s goals are to continue to build relationships between and across cultures; increase the number of immigrants and refugees who are licensed in early childhood special education, parent education and speech language pathology; and to increase the quality of services by interpreters to families and early childhood professionals.

Project lead Jane Ellison says, “We want all children to have the opportunity to connect to anything that will help them have a healthy development so they’re ready for kindergarten.” 

View video