News & Media

White House Summit on Early Education Launches Invest In Us Campaign

Dec 15 2014

On Wednesday, December 10, David & Laura Merage along with the Merage Foundation’s Executive Director, Sue Renner, attended President Obama’s White House Summit on Early Education.


The event brought together select individuals from a variety of sectors including philanthropic, business, education, advocacy, elected leaders, and stakeholders, who share a commitment to expanding access to high-quality early education for all of our nation’s children. “It was both impressive and encouraging to see the breadth of the organizations and individuals who came together,” said David Merage. “It is wonderful to see how many different entities are both recognizing the importance of early childhood education – from many different perspectives – and supporting this essential initiative to bring quality education to all children,” David added.

The Summit included early childhood advocate speakers from organizations such as Save the Children, Disney, and the University of Chicago, as well as political advocates including the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarret, Vice President, Joe Biden, as well as President Barack Obama. (View the recording of the President’s comments here).

DL_WH“The event demonstrated the well-aligned powerbase we now have to get Congress to take the next step and increase investments in early childhood education,” said Sue Renner. “It also introduced us to potential new partners and opened up possibilities for future national work,” she said.


RalphSmith_IIUSAdditionally, the event included three panels comprised of professionals across many sectors discussing their expertise and experiences with early childhood education. During the second panel discussion, Ralph Smith, Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading and Sr. V.P. of the Annie E. Casey Foundation said “If you venture to Colorado, you will see what David & Laura Merage have generously supported and Sue Renner has brilliantly led: Early Learning Ventures builds the capacity of child care providers to do what they do best by supporting them to build their business infrastructure.”


The event also served as a launching pad for Invest In Us, a new initiative created by First Five Years Fund, that challenges all Americans to build a better nation by expanding high-quality early childhood education. The David & Laura Merage Foundation has accepted this challenge and renewed its commitment to Early Learning Ventures, an innovative shared services model for the child care industry that allows child care providers to deliver affordable, high-quality early care and education (ECE) by giving them tools and resources to streamline their business operations. The Foundation is now making a ten year commitment to bring this model to providers across the nation.



“The overall energy at the Summit was empowering,” said Laura Merage. “The power of so many people coming together who were genuinely interested in collaborating to benefit children showed the true spirit of how we are all stronger when we give hand-in-hand,” Laura explained.

You can read more about the event on the White House blog.