Rochester’s Child

Through fundraising, making grants and partnering with experts in the field, Rochester’s Child promotes the very best early care and education for Monroe County’s most vulnerable children.

Since 1990, Rochester’s Child has forged public-private partnerships and driven changes in policy and practice to improve early childhood and development for children birth to age 8. A group of dedicated business representatives, community leaders, and passionate philanthropists has raised more than $4.8 million and awarded 430 grants for quality improvements, so that children can have a healthy start in school and in life. Today, two-thirds of city 4-year-olds and more than one-third of city 3-year-olds attend high-quality pre-kindergarten, indeed some of the highest quality classroom measured across the country. As a result, 67% of 4-year-olds are developmentally ready to enter school.

Watch the video “30 years Advocating  for Early Childhood,” featuring the late Jacque Cady. 

Early Childhood Development Matters 

Rochester’s Child fundraises and advocates for high-quality early care and education because science and economics point to the importance of quality care. Neurological research shows that brain development occurs rapidly beginning at birth and continues through age 3. The learning and skills a child develops through age 8 are the foundation for their success throughout their education. High quality early childhood programs can change the trajectory of a child’s life, especially for children challenged by poverty. Research shows that investments in high quality early childhood education saves in later costs for grade retention, special education, and teen pregnancy services. Finally, one of the most important predictors of success for at-risk children entering school is having attended quality early education programs.

Leading Improvements in Early Care and Education

Rochester’s Child has a legacy of working with community partners, government officials, and early educators to develop policies and practices that result in better outcomes for Rochester’s most vulnerable children.

The highly visible “Sing, Talk, Play” ad campaign encouraged parents to actively stimulate their baby’s brain development, resulting in a significant number of parents who changed their behavior and sought additional help with their parenting. Rochester’s Child provided significant leadership in the development of the campaign and raised $200,000 for the effort. Our partners included 292-BABY at Monroe Community College, Causewave Community Partners (formerly the Ad Council), and the Early Childhood Development Initiative. 

Watch the video Our Community’s Early Childhood Development Initiative.

Abrupt funding cuts for child care subsidies in 2008 prompted a swift response by Rochester’s Child and the early childhood community. Fundraising that yielded $200,000 for the creation of a scholarship fund returned approximately 50 children to their high-quality childcare programs for one year. The heightened awareness and private support garnered by Rochester’s Child helped community advocates to restore $8.3 million in March of 2009.

Because too often parents’ opinions go unheard, Rochester’s Child serves as a staunch supporter of and fiscal home for the Parent Leadership Training Institute of Greater Rochester. Parents often lack advocacy skills, but not the motivation or will to change their children’s lives. This evidence-based program provides parents with the necessary skills to lead change for the next generation.

What We Support

In the past five years alone, Rochester’s Child has raised funds and awarded nearly $1,000,000 for improvements in child-care centers, family child-care homes, parent education, and research-based programs that enhance children’s early development. Learn more about our recent grants.

Rochester’s Child Funds:

  • Child-care centers and family child cares gain and maintain national accreditation — a hallmark of excellence in care and education
  • Quality early childhood development programs and enrichment programs
  • Parent education, skill building, and empowerment 
  • Prenatal programs that care for expectant parents and support their child-care choices
  • Advocacy for quality and access to high quality early care and education

Join Us

Rochester’s Child invites your participation in this important work by becoming a working committee member, supporter, or advocate. Email Nancy Kaplan, coordinator, or call her at 585.341.4411 for more information.

Our Working Committee
Richard A. Markus, Chair 
George M. Angle* 
Ted Boucher 
James B. Brush 
Jacqueline P. Cady* 
Marsha Dumka
Karen Elam 
Robert D. Hursh*
Richard Kaplan 
Beth H. Keigher 
Richard McGrath 
Caroline Merenda 
Nancy Kaplan, Coordinator 

*Recently deceased