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Thank you, Allegheny County

In May 2021, the inaugural director of the newly formed Department of Children Initiatives was announced! We couldn’t be more thrilled about the creation of the new department and the county’s commitment to our children. It’s more work ahead. But we believe our kids are worth it.

In October 2019, the Children’s Fund Working Group formally presented a report to the County Executive for his review and consideration. It proposed a mission and vision for a children’s fund, but also set forth core principles for the endeavor including equity, access, quality and accountability.

In March 2019, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald convened a 26-member working group to look at the creation of a potential children’s fund to provide resource to early childhood learning and out-of-school time programs across Allegheny County. It was co-chaired by Trish Gadson, Ph.D. of Macedonia FACE, and Michelle Figlar of the Heinz Endowments.

In the summer and fall of 2018, we asked the community to have a conversation about what’s important to us, specifically about investing in three proven areas — early learning, after school and nutritious meals — to ensure a strong future for our region.

On August 7, we turned in 63,499 signatures petitioning the Allegheny County Board of Elections to add the Allegheny County Children’s Fund to the November 6, 2018, General Election ballot. Our goal was to collect 40,000 signatures, but more than 63,000 neighbors, in all 130 municipalities and all 1,322 voting precincts in our county said yes, we want to have a community-wide conversation about how we fund the programs proven to benefit our kids and our region.

Though our effort fell short in the November 6 General Election, we are not defeated. Nearly 250,000 Allegheny County voters agreed that our children are our future. We are beyond grateful to all the supporters.

We are beyond excited to start working with the Department of Children Initiatives to improve access to quality early childcare and out of school time programing for ALL children in Allegheny County.