By Krystle Chipman, Collaborative Philanthropy Associate, Northern California Grantmakers
The importance of investing in children is something that resounds deeply in each of us. Health funders are gathering this month for a special film that’s inviting people to think in new ways about health equity.
California Newsreel’s film, The Raising of America, digs deep on the state of child welfare in the country. The United States ranks 26th out of 29 rich nations, in children's well-being and one in four American children is born into poverty. Equity has become a hot topic in health philanthropy, and this film prods us to take a holistic approach in investing in early childhood development, by building systems and policies that support families.
As I watched the film, I was reminded of the importance of investing in families through policies that support the well-being of parents. Some systems in our country increase the difficulty for caregivers to fully be there for their children. For example, the United States is the only major economy on the planet that does not guarantee paid parental leave. Forty percent of new moms return to work by the time their infant is three months old, some because they want to and many because they have to. Feeling financially insecure and looking for quality childcare can cause parents stress and this in return can affect a child’s stress levels and development.
The film invites us to think about investments that would lift some of the major stress points for parents: living wages, affordable and quality childcare, and paid parental time off. When parents have access to adequate resources for their children, they are better equipped to create a low stress environment for the child to live, learn, and play in, setting the stage for kids to grow into healthy, compassionate, and responsible adults.
Co-Producers Larry Adelman and Rachel Poulain will be leading a discussion after the film, in which there will be space to share what funders already have underway in the Bay Area and what more can be done. We will also talk about what the data says on the barriers to developing effective policies, as well as national opportunities to mobilize and influence policy.
I hope you will join us as we explore how grantmakers can leverage their collective knowledge, experience, and resource for impact!
Join us on September 16th to watch The Raising of America and hear in-person discussion about what can be done.