Public-private partnerships like Educare are the only way we’re going to get there… Educare is a better way to do [early education], and it’s starting to become a real national model.
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
A partnership of philanthropists, Head Start and Early Head Start providers, and school officials is committed to securing the financing, program expertise and public support essential to maintaining Educare’s high quality standards.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund, along with the Irving Harris Foundation, opened the first Educare School in Chicago in 2000. In 2003, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Omaha Public Schools opened the second Educare School on Omaha’s north side. Soon after, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and Ounce of Prevention Fund joined forces to support other local public-private partnerships in communities across the country to establish Educare Schools.
Today, this joint initiative, known as the Educare Learning Network, supports the development of these schools, and provides ongoing training and assistance and a forum for learning to Educare staff.
The Educare movement has been embraced by other major philanthropic organizations including the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These organizations, along with Buffett and Harris, provide challenge grants through an Educare replication pool to support steady growth in the Network.
In each city where an Educare School has taken root, new public-private partnerships are created to share governance of each school. Local philanthropists provide private dollars to build the schools and facilitate the flow of public dollars that support day-to-day activities. Federal funds from Early Head Start and Head Start provide critical funding for program operations at each school, and those revenue streams often are augmented by state funds for child care and preschool programs that flow to local school districts, programs and local municipalities.