New Report: KIDS COUNT Shows Value of Long-Term Philanthropic Investment

Posted March 18, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog from project to platform 2016

For more than 25 years, KIDS COUNT has been the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s flag­ship invest­ment for pro­vid­ing pub­lic offi­cials and child advo­cates with data, tools and pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions to improve out­comes for vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren. This invest­ment has been sub­stan­tial — more than $128 mil­lion to date — but so, too, have been the returns. In 2014 alone, the net­work of KIDS COUNT grantees achieved pol­i­cy wins in 33 states, result­ing in $8.3 bil­lion in new or defend­ed pol­i­cy invest­ments that will ben­e­fit an esti­mat­ed 20.6 mil­lion chil­dren and more than 11 mil­lion families.

A new report, From Project to Plat­form: The Evo­lu­tion of KIDS COUNT, tells the sto­ry of the trans­for­ma­tion of a sin­gle data book doc­u­ment­ing mea­sures of child well-being into a mis­sion-crit­i­cal vehi­cle for build­ing bipar­ti­san sup­port for proven solu­tions and pol­i­cy change. Today, KIDS COUNT includes:

  • a net­work of inde­pen­dent advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions in every state, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, Puer­to Rico and the U.S. Vir­gin Islands;
  • a con­tin­u­ous stream of data and research prod­ucts on the well-being of chil­dren; and
  • a coor­di­nat­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions and capac­i­ty-build­ing strat­e­gy ensur­ing that this infor­ma­tion is heard.

From Project to Plat­form also includes insights that the Foun­da­tion has gained from its long-term invest­ment in a vehi­cle for shap­ing and ampli­fy­ing pol­i­cy on a broad scale. Among these lessons learned:

  • Stay the course: Patient invest­ing for the long-term can pay off
  • Build a broad pres­ence: A foot­print that cov­ers every state can cre­ate potent lever­age for pol­i­cy and prac­tice change
  • Con­tin­u­ous­ly strength­en the capac­i­ty of your network’s lead­ers while learn­ing from them
  • Don’t be afraid to expand the brand and diver­si­fy your offer­ings, even as you pro­tect your gains

KIDS COUNT is a crit­i­cal mech­a­nism that not only advances all of the work of our Foun­da­tion, but also serves as a resource for oth­er advo­cates, orga­ni­za­tions and pol­i­cy­mak­ers work­ing on behalf of chil­dren,” says Lisa Hamil­ton, who man­ages the ini­tia­tive in her role as vice pres­i­dent of exter­nal affairs at Casey. The net­work informs, ampli­fies and mea­sures the pow­er of our pro­gram­mat­ic ideas. And if you can’t get the ideas out there, you can’t do as much good in the world.”

Read From Project to Platform

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