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Early Childhood in the Era of Climate Change

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This event was held on April 6, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Event Resources:

Climate change threatens many of our early childhood goals, including children’s physical and mental health, family well-being, and school readiness. At the same time, young children are incredibly valuable in the climate fight because of how their healthy development is entwined with a healthy, climate-resilient society.  ECFC, Health and Environmental Funders Network, Children, Youth and Family Funders Roundtable and Capita, co-convener of the Early Years Climate Action Taskforce, co-hosted this discussion to learn more about the crossroads of climate change and early childhood development, ways early childhood-focused philanthropies can engage with the climate to further their missions, and how a climate frame can open up early childhood to a powerful new set of investments.

Event Takeaways


  • Moderator: Elliot Haspel - Author; Director, Climate & Young Children, Capita
  • Jacqueline Patterson, Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership
  • Diana Rauner - President, Start Early; Co-Chair, Early Years Climate Task Force; Former First Lady of Illinois
  • Tonja Rucker - Director, Early Childhood Success, Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, National League of Cities
  • Sara Slaughter - Executive Director, W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation

From our speakers and webinar co-sponsors:


Early Years Climate Action Task Force - Capita and This is Planet Ed (the Aspen Institute) have co-convened the Early Years Climate Action Task Force to draft the U.S. Early Years Climate Action Plan. The plan will recommend ways the country can help young children, zero to 8, flourish in the face of climate change. It will be published in late 2023.  The task force’s work is supported, in part, by the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation.

The Early Years Climate Action Task Force held a series of listening sessions highlighting the particular vulnerabilities of young children to climate change and opportunities for the early years sector to take action. Find listening sessions recordings, podcasts, and register for upcoming events here: https://www.capita.org/early-years-climate-action-task-force

Recent reports:

For more information on the Task Force, contact Elliot Haspel.


The Chisholm Legacy Project, A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership.  Resources include a hub for examples of policies that provide holistic support to those resisting extractivism and creating regenerative and democratic systems in their communities.


National League of Cities, Education and Early Childhood Success compilation, and Addressing the Impacts of Environmental Challenges on Early Childhood Development, includes examples of cities promoting resiliency and innovation.


Health and Environmental Funder Network (HEFN) helps funders find their place and connect with others who care about environmental health and justice.   Resources include good "first-reads” to dive deeper, and see what other funders are doing. The Resource Library and Funder Stories offer more ways to learn and explore.


Children, Youth and Family Funders Roundtable Environmental Justice & Climate Change – Funder Series, in partnership with: Environmental Grantmakers Association, Grantmakers in Health and Health and Environmental Funders Network.  Find primers on environmental justice and children, climate change and children’s health, and the impact of climate on children’s mental health; Funder Q&A’s; and webinar archives.


Investing at the  Frontlines of Climate4 Change, A Funder Toolkit on Climate, Health and Equity, Climate and Energy Funders Group

This toolkit, developed as a partnership between eight philanthropic support organizations, including Health and Environmental Funders Network, is intended to accelerate investments by helping funders gain a sense of a large, complex, and interconnected landscape of climate and health funding. The suggestions are designed to build a more equitable response to climate change and to explore a number of ways funders can get involved. The resource list is expansive and a great place to start learning more about philanthropy’s role in investing in climate change and health.  Resources include profiles and lists of foundations and nonprofits, as well as pointers to hubs of collaboration within philanthropy, civil society, and government. The toolkit also includes: suggested starter resources for exploring funders; and resources by impacted populations and communities, specific issue areas and geographic focus.

Related Resources:


Early Childhood Intersections with Climate and Environment
Food Intersections
Cities and Facilities

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