About this time last year, myself and twenty other United Way women leader donors gathered in the multi-purpose room of Great Bay Kids’ Company in Portsmouth. It was the kick-off event for our Women’s Initiative and holding it at one of our valued partner agencies, which is doing the early childhood education work that we value so highly, made perfect sense.  Why not expose the donors we rely upon to the fruits of their generosity?

So we spoke (eloquently I might add!) about the myriad of reasons why investing in the young child is critical to long-term, societal health, unleashing a flurry of bullet points and takeaways:

  • The capacity of the brain to absorb new information peaks at age 3. (Source)
  • Most children can learn to read if problems are detected by first grade and the proper early interventions are implemented. (Source)
  • If a reading problem is identified early, and the proper intervention is applied, 90-95% of children “at risk” for reading failure will become fluent readers. (Source)
  • 1 out of every 5 of our nation’s school-age children suffer from reading failures. (Source)
  • Every dollar invested in early childhood education now returns $4 to $11 in taxpayer savings in the future. (Source)

That all makes sense on a cerebral level.  Of course, promoting a thirst for learning at an early age can give kids a boost into their academic careers. And we all know how toddlers and pre-K children are sponges (I have many memories of my own kids and grand-kids piping up with turns of phrase that I sheepishly recall uttering at some point!).

But there’s something about seeing the faces of the children you’re investing in to bring it all home.  At the conclusion of our Women’s Initiative, a classroom of four year-olds filed in to regale us with a selection of their favorite songs.  It was as cute and heart-warming as the sight of smiling, singing children can only be–but it was also illuminating.

Here is the purpose of organizations like the United Way’s and Leadership Seacoast’s work.  Here is the reason why our supporters give so much.

Here is the future.


Cindy BoydCindy Boyd is Managing Director of the United Way of the Greater Seacoast, member of the Leadership Seacoast Board of Directors and serves on Leadership Seacoast the Program committee.