February 27, 2017


The Pritzker Early Childhood Foundation (PECF) was founded more than 10 years ago on the belief of the importance of the early years of life. Nowadays, research confirms that the period between birth and age five is a critical period of growth and development which sets the basis for future health, wellness and success.

As we began grantmaking, we noted that there were many excellent programs that could greatly increase the chances for a happy, healthy future for children whose families lacked resources. Unfortunately, too many existed as unique models affecting a limited number of children. Lessons learned were not widely incorporated into other programs, locally or nationally. 

PECF adopted a grantmaking strategy to assist effective programs not only to share what they had learned but to help other agencies adopt effective programmatic strategies. Our goal was to ensure that best practices for serving young children and their families were widely used. We did not limit our grantmaking to a particular early childhood area, such as education or health, but were interested in supporting what we then called “replication” of effective programs.

Times have changed and today there is a lot more interest in best practices and bringing evidence–based programs to a scale that would affect many children and families. There is, of course, more work to be done, but we feel that other funding sources have taken on our mission and that this is the right time to spend down the remaining corpus of our Foundation. We realize this unusual step may be met with a bittersweet understanding, but we feel confident that the Foundation has done good work.  
The decision to spend out led us to develop a two-year process of closure to end in December, 2016. We intend that our final grants will support our grantee partners to continue the work that has engaged us so deeply. Most current grantees have received multi-year final grants. We have also made two special, legacy grants to new grantees, Bright Promises Foundation and Social Impact Exchange. You can read more about these grants in the Grantee Section. 
During our final year, we will keep abreast of our grantees and continue to support our remaining initiative around increasing fathers’ engagement with their children. We will be using this website and other means to share some of the lessons we have learned and the results of our grantmaking.  
Finally, we have many people to thank. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with our grantee partners. We are grateful to our foundation colleagues for sharing information and warmly including us in their circle. We want to thank Iris Krieg & Associates, our source of staff support, for their many years of trusted guidance and hard work.


The Pritzker Early Childhood Foundation (PECF) was established in 2003 to support initiatives in the field of early childhood development. The Foundation focuses ...

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In the two year period of closing, 2015-2016, Pritzker Early Childhood Foundation (PECF) has awarded or will shortly award final grants to organizations. Some of these are multi-year grants, intended to provide resources for agencies years beyond our closing.


PECF is no longer accepting unsolicited proposals. Final grants will be made in 2016.