Pritzker Children's Impact Network

The Pritzker Children’s Initiative Partnership

The Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI), a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, is a national effort to promote high-quality early learning and development for children from birth to age three with the goal of improving kindergarten readiness.  With an estimated 3 million of our nation’s youngest children at risk of reaching kindergarten not ready to learn, PCI seeks to dramatically reduce that number over the next five years.

This initiative will be led by PCI’s network of national partners who are working together to promote targeted, evidence-based programs and services.  Participating partners include the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National League of Cities (NLC), the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), and Strive Together.  Collaboratively, they will be encouraging the development of innovative approaches to tackle challenges and bring promising programs to scale including a focus on a healthy start at birth, stronger support of families with infants and toddlers and the need for high-quality care and learning environments.  This coordinated effort will advance programs and policies across the United States focused on the first years of life when rapid periods of brain development are critical for a child’s later success.

Counties Matter

NACo is committed to focusing on the critical role counties play in breaking multi-generational cycles of poverty, especially as it pertains to early childhood development for ages zero to three.  Together, PCI and NACo recognize that counties play a major role in shaping early childhood systems and investing in core services for infants and toddlers that help to support a thriving community and positively impact outcomes into adulthood.

Who Should Apply

A county-elected official must submit the formal application.  A team lead should be identified as the primary point of contact to serve as a representative to lead the project with the support from the county stakeholders.

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What You Should Expect

The goal of the Pritzker Children’s Impact Network is to establish and enhance policy, expand upon existing strategies, build capacity, bolster resources, and address programmatic gaps within this age group. Up to seven counties will be selected across the country to participate in this network to address policies and programs. Support and technical assistance from NACo will be available to facilitate this process. Project will begin February 2018 and end December 31, 2018.

Counties will be expected to:

  • convene a group of multi – sector stakeholders
  • complete or update a community assessment to identify strategies that address PN-3 needs and gaps
  • create an action plan
  • identify a common set of metrics to measure the impact of PN-3 interventions
  • collect baseline data or develop a data plan
  • participate in technical assistance calls and webinars
  • utilize learning modules developed for the Pritzker Children’s Impact Network
  • work with NACo to review and provide feedback to the Pritzker Children’s Initiative tools and resources, and
  • report progress, challenges and findings from their participation in the Network.

This project involves both the collection and reporting of a set of common metrics that track progress in supporting young children’s pathway to school readiness. The metrics are a mix of child- and family-level indicators and indicators about the state and community context for infants, toddlers and their families. We anticipate that the local communities selected for this project will report on metrics annually. Support and technical assistance will be available to facilitate this process. 

Each county will have the opportunity to engage with other counties on a national level to share best practices through virtual and on-site cross convenings; contribute to and utilize modules, tools, and resources to enhance initiatives; and collaborate with NACo and their partners to build strong local early childhood systems.

Selected counties will receive a $25,000 planning grant in coordination with the technical assistance to develop strategies to enhance or develop their early childhood development systems.

The National Association of Counties (and the organizations we fund) operate in a bi-partisan manner in furtherance of 501(c)(3) purposes.  No portion of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation’s funds can be used for lobbying or political campaign activities.


The deadline to submit applications is Thursday, January 25, 2018.  Selected counties will be notified by Friday, February 9, 2018.  An initial call to launch the project will be planned for mid-February.

Selection Criteria

In coordination with subject matter experts, NACo will select counties based upon the following:

  • Leadership – Commitment from county leadership and elected officials to support long-term programs and policies focused on PN-3.
  • Community Engagement – The ability to enhance or establish cross sector collaboration and/or coordination.
  • Capacity – Readiness to engage with NACo and strengthen and improve upon early childhood policies and/or practices.
  • Performance Metrics – Ability to establish and/or demonstrate measurable outcomes.

For questions about the Pritzker Children’s Impact Network or application, please contact Tracy Steffek, Program Manager, at (202) 661-8813 or  

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