Early Childhood Education

Quality Education for our Youngest Children

Education is the gateway to successful life outcomes, and the first five years of life are uniquely important if we want children to thrive and grow in school.  Merage Foundations believes all children deserve access to high quality early care and education.

By investing in early care and education we are preparing our children for the future. And the future of our children is in the hands of all of us. Education is always your way up.”

-David Merage

Why Early Care and Education (ECE)?

Developing young brainsThe seeds of academic success are planted well before a child enters kindergarten: a child’s brain reaches 80% of adult size by age three and 90% by age five. A child’s earliest experiences are responsible for wiring the brain for future use, thereby building its basic architecture. Long-term educational achievement is uniformly linked to participation in high quality early care and education (ECE).

Each day, more than 25 million U.S. children ranging in age from birth to 5-years-old are placed in some form of child care arrangement while parents work. Yet public funding for early care and education is very low compared to K-12 and higher education. A majority of children are placed in paid child care arrangements that range from for-profit and nonprofit center-based arrangements to care that is offered out of a provider’s home. The quality of such “market-based” child care varies widely, but has been found to be, on average, of mediocre quality. It is for this reason that, even while a majority of children in the United States are cared for in paid child care arrangements, market-based care is still considered the “weak link” of the country’s early care and education system.

Investing in Futures

To combat the “market-based” challenges facing the child care industry, Merage Foundations is significantly investing its human, financial and technological resources in ECE and is developing innovative solutions and partnerships that deliver more access to high quality child care. Grantee partners include organizations such as Bright by Three, Colorado Children’s Campaign, and Qualistar. We also partner with organizations that provide opportunity for ECE discussions to elevate the early childhood education topic on a national scale, such as The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

Early Learning Ventures (ELV)

Early Learning VenturesEarly Learning Ventures (ELV) is a Colorado-based, not-for-profit organization, founded by the David and Laura Merage Foundation, dedicated to expanding access to quality, affordable child care. ELV’s shared services approach offers a streamlined, one-stop hub for business and technology support to strength the operations of a child care business to ultimately, allow child care providers the time to focus on caring for and educating children.  ELV provides online, cost-effective business resources such as accounting, billing, licensing requirements, training, human resources, marketing materials and program administration into a central portal. Providers are able to manage their business more efficiently, leaving them with more time and money to do what they do best: provide quality care for kids.

Paid Parent Leave (PPL) Programs

In a two-parent home, it is no longer common-place for one parent to stay home full-time to care for a new child; however, the U.S. is one of the only developed nations worldwide that does not currently mandate paid parent leave, even though 71% of children born in the U.S. have parents in the workforce. As of now, new parents typically don’t have the financial flexibility to take time off work to care for their newborn. As such, our nation’s political leaders are investigating the potential benefits for paid parent leave (PPL) programs. The David & Laura Merage Foundation and AEI Brookings have compiled research on existing PPL programs and those that are pending implementation:

Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC)


David Merage was a founding member of EPIC, a coalition of business leaders, nonprofits, and foundations who are committed to making early childhood care, education, health, and parenting among the highest priorities of Colorado’s public and private investments. Focusing on children between the ages of zero to eight, EPIC is investing in the well-being of our youngest citizens to ensure well-adjusted, confident and capable workers in the future.