Why Join ECFC?

ECFC is a collaborative of committed early childhood funders who have been learning together and improving our collective positive impact for children birth to 8 years old since 1992. ECFC’s strength is our engaged membership which is uniquely comprised of diverse foundations, including a range of sizes and local, regional, and national scope.

What We Do

Learning & Networking

Member engagement opportunities including workgroups, committees, meetings and briefings, and connections with top researchers and practitioners. 

Aligning & Leveraging

ECFC programming and member engagement focuses on key early childhood topics and issues to explore and elevate aligned funding and leveraging philanthropic resources.

Promoting Effective Policy

ECFC sponsors policy briefings, develops recommendations, and engages with members and partners to promote effective early childhood policy and local, state and national levels. 

Membership Criteria

ECFC members demonstrate:

A clearly articulated strategic approach to grantmaking in early childhood (EC), with a focus on EC development and education, supporting young children (prenatal to eight), as well as their families. Such a strategy may be demonstrated by a comprehensive systemic and policy approach to EC grantmaking.

Evidence of a significant and ongoing portfolio of early childhood investment within the foundation. This is demonstrated by an early childhood budget that is at least 25% of the foundation’s grantmaking budget, on average, or a minimum of $1 million each year. New members will have completed a minimum of one year of grantmaking in early childhood.

A dedicated staff person who is knowledgeable about early childhood issues and ready to actively participate in ECFC through attendance at meetings and serving on committees.

A policy and/or systems focus for at least some of the foundation’s early childhood investments. This may include grants that promote positive systems change through demonstration projects, research, or work to increase the field’s understanding of an issue or best practice; the formulation, adoption, and/or implementation of policy; and/or public education or advocacy.

ECFC members are expected to:

Attend two in-person member meetings per year (in a typical year), and engage in other member-only virtual events.

Be actively involved in committees and workgroups that plan and direct our work, such as serving on our Steering Committee.

Engage in other opportunities to shape our work, such as hosting a member meeting in your city, and contributing content to website and program development.

Funder Membership Levels

Annual Contributions

ECFC annual member contributions are based on a foundation’s total annual grantmaking budget (see right).

Sustaining Membership

Members who commit to an annual contribution greater than the minimum amount.

Foundation’s Total Annual
Grantmaking Budget
Minimum Annual
Up to $2M$5,000
$2M– $10M$7,500
$10M – $20M$10,000
$20M – $30M$12,500
$30M – $40M$15,000
$40M +$20,000

For current and new foundation/grantmaker members whose institutional policies prohibit giving at the levels specified above, the Steering Committee will consider offering an exception. The recommended exception would consider an annual membership contribution based on total grantmaking in the program area that includes the early childhood portfolio (e.g. the Education or Health and Human Services program.)

State & Local Funder Collaboratives Associate Membership

Download Collaboratives Membership Flyer

Local and state early childhood funder Collaboratives are invited to join ECFC as Associate Members. The annual membership contribution for Local & State EC Funder Collaborative Associate Members is $5,000.

As Associate Members, Collaboratives staff/leaders have access to all ECFC member benefits including:

  • Participation in ECFC member-only meetings and events
  • Access to the full ECFC member directory
  • Expanded access to our state and local Collaboratives Directory
  • Participation in ECFC workgroups and committees
  • Access to dedicated Member-only website content
  • Logo/organization listing in ECFC website, annual report and other
    member acknowledgements

Collaboratives staff and local/state members also access to other opportunities, including:

  • Networking with other funder peers, share resources and learn from each other
  • Participating in dedicated Collaboratives programming
  • Authoring guest blogs/articles for ECFC’s website
  • Accessing ECFC forums dedicated to Collaboratives (dedicated programming, Collaborative listserv, and resource library)

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