- Assets: $106,108,324 (2014)
- Grants Received: $0 (2014)
- Grants Awarded: $3,672,804 (2014)
The Foundation for Child Development (FCD) is a national, private philanthropy that gives financial support to research, policy-development, and advocacy initiatives aimed at helping “disadvantaged” low-income families obtain “the social and material resources [necessary] to raise their children to be healthy, educated, and productive members of society.”
FCD was incorporated as a voluntary agency in New York in 1899 and became known as the Association for the Aid of Crippled Children (AACC) in 1908. Contributions from the public supported the Association until 1944, at which time the estate of the late businessman Milo M. Belding awarded it a very large sum of money. This gift enabled AACC to expand both its mission and its grant-making, and in 1972 the Association changed its name to the Foundation for Child Development.
FCD’s philanthropy today is carried out through of three principal programs:
* PreK-3rd Education: Founded on the premise that “children who fall behind early in their education” are “unlikely” to “ever catch up,” graduate from high school, or reach adulthood without having spent some time in prison, this program lobbies for the increased allocation of public funds to full-day schooling for youngsters starting at age three. This would include voluntary pre-K for three- and four-year-olds, and mandatory kindergarten for five-year-olds.
FCD proudly notes that its “PreK-3rd” proposal is consistent with the agendas of the National Education Association (NEA), which likewise favors increased taxpayer funding for early-childhood schooling. From 2005-2007, FCD funded a two-year NEA study that sought to “identify provisions in teacher contracts that are linked to positive outcomes for preK-3 children.”
* Child Well-Being Index (CWI): In 2004, FCD released its first CWI—a measure that combines national data from 28 indicators across 7 quality-of-life domains—to “capture elements of well-being not included in other, mainly economic, measures such as the Gross Domestic Product.” The 7 domains are: Family Economic Well-Being; Health; Safe/Risky Behavior; Educational Attainment; Community Engagement; Social Relationships; and Emotional/Spiritual Well-Being. The CWI is updated annually and is aimed at policymakers and the press, with an eye toward advocating more public funding for programs ostensibly geared toward aiding poor children.
* New American Children: Emphasizing that the “children of immigrants have important assets, such as strong social competence and mental health common to young children living in immigrant families from Mexico,” FCD laments that these youngsters often “must overcome many challenges” including high poverty rates and “inadequate access to health care.” “Our goal,” says the Foundation, “is to discover how best to nurture and educate these children, and then to connect this research with sound policies and practices.”
In a July 2013 report, FCD observes that “enormous disparities in child well-being” exist not only along “immigration lines” but also along “race-ethnicity lines”—with black and Hispanic children being the most vulnerable. To address this situation, the Foundation recommends “expanding access to and enhancing early education, removing barriers to health insurance so that all children are covered, and providing families with ways to improve their economic security and future prospects.”
Key to achieving these objectives, says FCD, is a set of federal, taxpayer-funded “safety net” programs that can effectively “lift millions of children out of poverty” and help low-income families take maximum advantage of any and all government benefits for which they may be eligible. To augment these safety-net programs, the Foundation contends that it is “essential” to raise the minimum wage.
FCD’s board chair is Ruth Ann Burns, who is also president of the Burns Group, a consulting company that works with nonprofits, foundations, and corporations. Previously, Burns served as vice president of marketing and external affairs for Georgian Court University in New Jersey, and as vice president and director of Thirteen/WNET’s Educational Resources Center.
Since September 1, 2012, FCD’s president has been Deborah A. Phillips, who taught psychology at the University of Illinois and the University of Virginia before becoming chair of the psychology department at Georgetown University in 2000.
Recent recipients of FCD grants include: the American Educational Research Association, the American Prospect, Inc., the Brookings Institution, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Council on Foundations, the Economic Policy Institute, the Immigrant Workers Citizenship Project, the Migration Policy Institute, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Neighborhood Funders Group, the New America Foundation, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Urban Institute.
For a list of additional FCD grantees, click here.
 NEA takes this position despite mountains of empirical evidence indicating that the famous Head Start program imparts little to no lasting benefit to its participants’ cognitive, socio-emotional, or physical well-being. Head Start benefits NEA financially by serving as a mechanism for the expansion of the public education system and the creation of more jobs for dues-paying members of the teachers unions.