Nancy Latimer Convening Honors Karen Kelley-Ariwoola

June 14, 2012
"Nancy" award recipient Karen Kelley-Ariwoola

“Nancy” award recipient Karen Kelley-Ariwoola

Have you registered to attend the 6th Annual Nancy Latimer Convening for Children and Youth on June 20?

One hundred early childhood advocates will gather to hear about new research on early childhood development, and to honor Karen Kelley-Ariwoola for her leadership in this area. Kelley-Ariwoola is former MCF board chair and former vice president of community philanthropy at The Minneapolis Foundation.

Dr. Dale Walker, associate research professor and scientist at the University of Kansas, will present and lead a discussion on early brain development and language acquisition. Dr. Walker is a leading expert on this topic and the architect of the Science Museum’s nationally acclaimed exhibit, “The Wonder Years,” which attendees can visit for free after the event.

Kelley-Ariwoola will then be presented with the “Nancy” award in honor of her leadership in the field of education and early childhood development, as well as her commitment to the Twin Cities community. Kelley-Ariwoola was integral to the passage of the Omnibus Early Education Bill which established the Office of Early Learning, and she played a leadership role in the creation of the Start Early Funders Collaborative.

Created in 2007 and now hosted by the Start Early Funders Coalition, the Nancy Latimer Convening for Children & Youth shines the spotlight on outstanding contributions by individuals or groups to enhance life for young children. The event and award honors the spirit and legacy of Nancy Latimer, whose leadership, passion and commitment to children are exemplified by Award recipients. You can register for next week’s free event on MCF’s website.

A Complex Picture of Wealth and Early Childhood Development

March 30, 2012

It is a commonly held belief that higher education in mothers leads to better early childhood learning outcomes for their children, but a recent study from Insight Center for Community Economic Development called “Diverging Pathways: How Wealth Shapes Opportunity for Children”  challenges this assumption and dives into the complex relationship between race, wealth, and education.

Assets vs. Income
What makes this report particularly interesting is that wealth, the accumulation of assets (houses, cars, savings and checking accounts, etc.) minus the sum of debt (mortgages, auto loans, credit cards debt, etc.), was a larger correlating factor of early childhood development than income.  Wealth is different from income in that it allows a household to make investments that will produce long-term income, enjoy tax advantages, and build inheritance for future generations.

One theory put forth by Insight is that asset-poor households are less able to weather an economic downturn like the recent Great Recession and suffer from greater instability. Diversification of wealth assets was also important indicator of stability. Minority households were disproportionally affected by the downturn in the housing market, with the majority of their wealth wrapped in housing equity, versus white households who tend to have more diversified asset holdings. These assets are often leveraged by a family to pay for higher-quality education opportunities that are systematically denied asset-poor households.

Growing with Age
Discrepancies between white and Asian children and other minorities groups were not clearly defined at birth, but emerged before the start of formal education. The majority of children at nine months of age have similar scores on standard child development tests. By two years of age racial disparities appear, even with mothers of similar education levels, and by entry into kindergarten white and Asian children score on average significantly higher than others, regardless of the mother’s education. In asset-rich, wealthy households, children scored higher regardless of race.

Wider Disparities
Disparities in education are linked to a multitude of other factors as well, such as health. According to the Insight study, white children are more likely to be rated in excellent or very good health than any other group and consistently maintain that rating throughout their lives.

These health disparities were in turn associated with neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty which do not provide, as described by Insight: good schools, violence-free streets, mainstream financial institutions, sound housing stock, environmental safety, good jobs, transportation access, or stores with healthy foods. White households, even those who were rated lower in wealth and income, were less likely to reside in areas with high concentrations of poverty and more likely to have relatives and friends who rated high in wealth.

A Look to the Future
Over the next forty years, the United States population will continue to move away from being a white-majority society. People of color will represent the majority of working-age individuals. Currently, children of color are less likely to be successful in school or develop the math skills necessary for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers that are expected to be prominent in the U.S. economy. We face growing disparities and a loss of human capital and potential necessary for a strong, healthy society.

Twenty Minnesota grantmakers, many of them MCF members, have formed the Start Early Funders Coalition to improve early childhood efforts in Minnesota. The coalition focuses on advancing public policy and facilitating research into how to enhance the well-being of Minnesota children. As the research from Insight demonstrates, these early childhood development issues are both incredibly complex and vital to the future well-being of Minnesota and the country.

-Kaitlin Ostlie, MCF administrative assistant

Photo cc United Nations Photo

Honoring the Spirit and Legacy of Nancy Latimer

March 19, 2012
Nancy Latimer

Nancy Latimer

The Start Early Funders Coalition is honored to call for nominations for the Sixth Annual “Nancy” Award. Created in 2007, the Award shines the spotlight on outstanding contributions by individuals or groups to enhance life for young children and honors the spirit and legacy of Nancy Latimer, whose leadership, passion, and commitment to children are exemplified by Award recipients.

Nominees should exemplify unwavering dedication and outstanding contributions to the well-being of young children through program innovation, policy, advocacy, and/or mentorship.

In the spirit of Nancy Latimer, nominees should demonstrate persistence, humility, vision, courage, tenacity, servant leadership, humanity, and compassion.

Nominations should include the following information in up to two pages:

  • For individuals: A brief biographical and professional overview, noting the nominee’s significant activities and accomplishments on behalf of children in Minnesota.
  • For groups: A brief overview of the significant activities and accomplishments of the group on behalf of children in Minnesota.
  • Overviews may be bulleted lists or narratives.
  • The name and contact information of the nominator, as well as a brief statement of the connection between the nominator and nominee.
  • The names, email addresses, and phone numbers of two individuals who can provide additional information about the nominee, if needed.
  • Contact information, including title, email address, and phone number, for the nominee.

Nominations will be reviewed, and the “Nancy” Award recipient will be selected by the Start Early Funder’s Coalition Learning and Research Committee. The award will be presented at the Annual Nancy Latimer Convening for Children and Youth on June 20.

If you know a worthy individual or group, email your nomination to Kristen Rosenberger, Start Early Funders Coalition coordinator, by April 15.


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