United for Kids

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Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. However, many factors affect a child's ability to perform in the classroom. This is why United Way partners with many different agencies and organizations to work towards preparing children for kindergarten, reading at grade level, graduating high school, and pursing their educational and vocational goals. 

Often times the "risk factors" that affect a child's ability to perform at grade level are present from an early age. The sooner we reach this child, their parents, and others in their support system the better chance we have in promoting a positive outcome. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education and care starting at birth.


Early childhood education and care has been identified as a priority area for local collaboration.

High-quality early childhood education and care lays the foundations for later success in terms of education, well-being, employability and social integration. This care includes daycares, as well as private- and public preschool and pre-primary schools. Ensuring the provision of high-quality early childhood education and care is an efficient and effective investment in education and training.

It is especially important for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We believe every child has the right to affordable and high-quality early childhood education and care.  Educational attainment should be decoupled from social, economic and cultural status.


The United Way has identified several key components for an effective system:

  • access to early childhood education and care
  • training and needs of staff in charge of early childhood education and care
  • definition of appropriate curriculum
  • governance and funding
  • monitoring and evaluation of systems


We are so fortunate to have a wonderful network of early childhood education and care partners:


Family YMCA of Northwest Illinois Early Learning Center

NICAA Headstart

Aquin Preschool

Open Bible Learning Center

Little Sprouts

Family Enrichment Program

Family Connects Illinois


ROE 8 Early Learning Academy

Birth to Five Illinois