Two Statewide Early Learning Organizations Announce Merger

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Merger of Thrive by Five Washington and Foundation for Early Learning to strengthen Washington state’s national lead in early learning, better benefit young children and families

Given the national momentum in early learning and the state’s continued leadership in the field, the time is right for maximizing each organization’s unique strengths.

Thrive by Five Washington and the Foundation for Early Learning, two of the state’s key early learning organizations, announce today that they will merge, forming a stronger public-private partnership that will better serve Washington’s youngest children and their families.

Thrive by Five Washington has been a leader in creating Washington’s high-quality early learning system and combining public and private dollars to make it happen; the Foundation has been at the forefront of developing geographic, demographic, and content-based alliances to develop and implement innovative projects that serve families and their children.

“We complement each other well,” said Jackie Bezos, chair of the Thrive by Five Washington board of directors. “Given the national momentum in early learning and the state’s continued leadership in the field, the time is right for maximizing each organization’s unique strengths. Together, we will better reach and support families with young children, especially those living in some of our state’s most vulnerable communities.”

The merger takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Until then, both organizations will operate separately but will work together on a transition plan. The new board of directors for the merged organization, which includes representatives from both the Thrive and Foundation boards, will also search for a new CEO.

"Today's decision reflects our belief that bringing our two organizations together will increase our current reach and forge new opportunities for the children of Washington state," said Don Stark, Foundation for Early Learning's Board Chair. "We look forward to an innovative and vibrant new organization that will better serve our supporters, partners and funders, especially our youngest children."

The merged organization will be located at 1111 Third Ave – #210 in Seattle.

About the Foundation for Early Learning
Founded in 2000, the Foundation for Early Learning grew out of Gov. Locke’s Commission on Early Learning and started with a generous grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since then, it has played a key role in developing community-based initiatives and coalitions. In support of its mission of “finding and fostering opportunities for kindergarten readiness,” the Foundation also invested heavily in early learning services and networks. Earlier this year, the Foundation launched a new strategic vision, focusing its funding and outreach efforts on specific thematic content areas by investing in services and initiatives, originated in and by the early learning field, that improve young children’s lives. In May, the Foundation announced Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) as its first theme and began a competitive process to award grants to community-based organizations. http://www.earlylearning.org

About Thrive by Five Washington
Founded in 2006 by Washington state business and foundations, Thrive by Five Washington is the state’s leading public-private partnership for early learning and works most closely with the Department of Early Learning and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to implement the state’s 10‐year Early Learning Plan. With racial equity as a driving force, Thrive focuses on three strategic initiatives that are creating a long‐term statewide commitment to early learning and helping more families have the information and support they need to help their children thrive in school and life. Those initiatives include deepening parent and caregiver knowledge of child development through the “Love. Talk. Play.” campaign for families of infants and toddlers; developing a high-quality home visiting system to serve at‐risk families; and building and mobilizing state and local partnerships. http://www.thrivebyfivewa.org

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