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Early Learning
Every Child Can Succeed
in school and in life

Early Learning

Supporting child development, school readiness, K-3 literacy, tutoring and parent/caregiver programs for families with children, from infancy through age 8.

Why Invest in Early Learning

When children thrive, families thrive. Along with whole communities. 

Healthy child development lays a strong foundation for future success, but historic, systemic inequality and poverty weaken this foundation. 

A student who struggles with reading by the start of 4th grade is four times more likely to drop out of high school. If that student’s family also struggles with poverty, they are six times more likely to drop out. 

Right now, too few of our children are reading proficiently by 4th grade. 

Joined by our partners, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey prioritizes early learning as a core strategy to end poverty in our region. We’re committed to addressing the early learning crisis with evidence-based investments and scalable solutions. 

Now, more than ever, your support means promising futures for our children.

The Impact of a united force

$4.65 Million Impact Fund Investments in Early Learning

$4.65M

Impact Fund Investment

in Early Learning

5000+

Children (Ages 0-5)
Provided with Early-Development & School-Readiness Literacy Support

47,000+

K-3 Students
Boosted with Early-Literacy Help

20K

Parents & Caregivers
Received Skills and Tools for At-Home Learning, Early Literacy & School-Readiness

FY 2019-2020
Collective Poverty-Fighting Network of 40 Community Partners Across Nine Counties

We cannot improve education systems without
addressing poverty, inequality and racism.
- Dr. Mariama Grimes, Managing Director, Early Learning
Dr. Grimes started her career as a grassroots organizer and has become a respected child wellness expert with a reputation for speaking truth to power in advancing educational equity.

Early Learning Approach

  • Investing in proven, evidence-based community partners that drive measurable change
  • Identifying gaps in the region’s early learning ecosystem
  • Advocating for critical issues across community and legislative partners
  • Promoting next-generation best practices on brain development and authentic family engagement.

SCHOOL READINESS

Research shows quality early childhood education is critical to getting children school-ready.

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey plays a major role in expanding affordable quality options to more families.

K-3 LITERACY

When children are strong readers by the start of 4th grade—before schools shift from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn—they have a better chance at doing well in school, college, career and life.

We are united with our partners to increase the number of out-of-school initiatives that help children make literacy leaps and prevent summer learning loss.

Preventing Summer Learning Loss

Vello Summer Reading Program keeps students on track during the pandemic

Launched in response to challenges to early learning resulting from the pandemic, Vello pairs children with virtual reading mentors and connects families with 50,000 e-books and early literacy resources.

Learn more about Vello and volunteer opportunities.