Credit: Let’s Grow Kids – King Street Youth Center, Burlington, VT

Credit: Let’s Grow Kids – Robins Nest Children’s Center


Evolving from over a decade of strategic early childhood grantmaking, Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) launched in 2014, forging partnerships among community leaders, elected officials, philanthropists, early childhood educators, and volunteers.  It aims to create a high-quality, affordable 0-5 child care system that meets the needs of all Vermont families by 2025.  At that time, Let’s Grow Kids will “go out of business,” having built a high-quality early care system alongside its partners and ushering in the public funding needed to sustain it.


LGK leverages philanthropy to strengthen Vermont’s early care and learning system by increasing quality and capacity to create impact for infants, toddlers, and families.

It also mobilizes Vermonters from all walks of life to call for policy change and public investment in a high-quality early care and learning system. 

LGK has expertise in

  • Communications
  • Data-collection
  • Preparing child care systems for public investment
  • Coordinating stakeholders across sectors, including business and healthcare

Its approach involves

  1. Identifying a lever for change
  2. Building relationships with stakeholders related to that lever
  3. Deploying philanthropic dollars to catalyze change.


Based on a study commissioned by the Vermont Business Roundtable, the return on investment for increased funding to the state’s early care and education system justifies upfront costs.  Findings show that Vermont should expect to see an additional $3.08 saved for every new public dollar invested in high-quality early care and education programming, thanks to cost savings in areas such as:

  • Reduced special education costs and grade retention in the K-12 public system
  • Reduced criminal justice system costs
  • Additional tax revenue
  • Additional net lifetime earnings
  • Reduced healthcare costs for children and families

Additional Strategies

Forging a strong peer network among providers so they are empowered to advocate for themselves.

Building off past wins, such as a $7.4 million state investment in Vermont child care.  This investment was made possible due to the advocacy of LGK and numerous early childhood partners.

Helping family child care programs engage Vermont’s quality rating and improvement system STARS (Step Ahead Recognition System.)  By 2015, 75% of family child care homes were participating.

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