The Greater Richmond Early Child Development Coalition (ECDC) brings together 165 members from organizations as diverse as family day care providers, health providers, our local PBS television station, child care centers, resource and referral agencies, county health departments, state social services, funders, members of the faith community, university personnel, and more to provide an avenue for developing and sustaining partnerships that will enhance the quality of early child development. Since it began in January of 2001, ECDC has attracted $2.7 million in funding from federal Early Learning Opportunities Act (ELOA) funds, national foundations, state funds, and local foundations like the Robins Foundation. These dollars have supported successful early learning projects leading to an increase in the number of nationally accredited programs, professionally trained child care staff, and a coordinated body sharing resources and expertise to develop a comprehensive system for early learning that is focused on systems change.
Our most recent award, the ELOA grant from the Child Care Bureau, has allowed the opportunity to work closely with five targeted neighborhoods through facilitating community groups as they examine and improve early learning opportunities in addition to a number of other projects including home visitor expansion, child care staff training, accreditation assistance, and a substitute teacher service.
ECDC was formed through the leadership of Voices for Virginia’s Children, United Way Success By 6® (SB6), and Youth Matters at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce. These three agencies continue to sponsor ECDC providing collaborative leadership. Through ECDC’s work last year with the Families and Work Institute (FWI) under a project named the Early Learning Systems Initiative, or ELSI, ECDC developed its 2004-2006 Action Plan and organized itself into appropriate committees: Business Engagement, Public Awareness, Children’s Health, Grants Advisory, and Public Policy. Each committee has two co-chairs and it is these co-chairs and representatives from the three sponsors that make up the ECDC Steering Committee.
ECDC is recognized by the City of Richmond and the Counties of Henrico and Chesterfield as the Local Early Childhood Planning Council. Our membership represents a broad array of organizations interested in early childhood issues at a local and state level. ECDC is described as the “movers and shakers” in the early child development community and makes it its goal to maintain open communication with other groups such as the Richmond Early Childhood Association (RECA) and the Virginia Child Care Resource and Referral Network (VACCRN). Many members of targeted groups such as these are also members of ECDC. ECDC stands out as the coalition of organizations working together to support one another and addressing pressing early child development issues.
ECDC Core Values … In all we do, we believe in the importance of
• Honoring diversity in planning and delivery of services;
• The strength in shared communication to build strong systems;
• Taking responsibility for the integrity of our service to others;
• The ability to grow, develop and transform how we work together to reflect best practices;
• Business engagement and public policy awareness.
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