Help Us Improve Systems, Policies, and Programs for Young Children

Reach out to our team to learn more about how partnering with ICS can help young children and families to thrive.

The Importance of Early Childhood

The first few years of a child’s life are a crucial period that help set the stage for health and well-being throughout life. From age 0-8, children are rapidly growing, building connections with those around them, and developing cognitive, social, and emotional skills. During this period, nearly one million neural connections are created every second. Such a rapid pace of development offers a critical opportunity to improve outcomes for children and their families.

Many factors help build a healthy child, including love, resources, safety, and community. However, in the United States, systemic issues such as racism, poverty, and lack of community supports have led to widespread inequalities in outcomes for young children, negatively impacting millions of families. This has only been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, exacerbating many existing issues such as the childcare workforce crisis, housing instability, and more. Systems-level solutions are needed to help us become a nation where all children are given the opportunity to thrive.

Our Vision of Success for Every Child

It is ICS’s mission to support young children and their families by advancing practices and policies that impact the systems which affect children and communities. We work to reduce inequalities in child outcomes by supporting the workforce and systems which support children. We center equity in our work, and take a multi-pronged approach to advance our mission:

  • Generating research insights on the best policies and practices to support young children and families.
  • Offering program development and evaluation support to help early childhood programs maximize their impact.
  • Providing smart financial solutions to organizations, governments, and communities.
  • Creating systems-level change through resources and outreach to increase equitable and effective measurement practices among the early childhood workforce.

By addressing multiple areas across the early childhood ecosystem, ICS aims to effect lasting systems-level change in how we support young children and families in our programs and communities. Supporting our work means supporting all young children and families to thrive—will you join us?

Words from Our Partners

“I think of ICS as being at the forefront of the innovation in social services; there is so much going on in the early childhood world, lots of evidence-based practices that service providers are thinking hard about how to implement in their community. I think of ICS as a thought leader and as a supporter of those initiatives.”

– Deirdre Flynn, Nonprofit Finance Fund

“ICS’s systems-level, policy-level work is some of the most inspiring pieces of work that we have seen … the research briefs that they create really do inform us about what is going on, to better understand the data behind some of the outcomes that we’re seeing, and it guides our investments.”

– Keisha Gray, Mary Black Foundation

“We don’t have to start from zero and make up an answer; we can trust that ICS knows someone in Denver or in England or in Australia who’s been working on that problem for 15 years and has evidence around a success they’ve had.”

– Derek Lewis, Greenville County First Steps

Our Impact

  • Catalyzed over $866 million in new investments for families and children, ranging from preschool funding in Tempe, Arizona, to the state-match of the Earned Income Tax Credit in South Carolina, to federal investments in evidence-based interventions leveraging outcomes-based financing, among many others.
  • Partnering with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems (ECDHS): Evidence to Impact initiative to improve how our health systems support young families across the country.
  • Provided technical assistance and other advising to 50+ early childhood organizations to increase the impact of their programs.
  • Provided research and innovation support to dozens of jurisdictions across the country, from the state of Washington to the City of Tallahassee, from Sonoma County to Connecticut.
  • Created an innovative IMPACT repository to improve the early childhood assessment landscape, reaching over 25,000 people and counting.
  • Regularly host professional development & continuing education conferences and webinars, including the Nurturing Developing Minds Conference.

To learn more about partnering with ICS, connect with our team.

To make a one-time or recurring gift to ICS, visit our Donations page.

Our Supporters

Founded By

Fueled By

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina 

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation 

The Duke Endowment 

Heising-Simons Foundation 

Hollingsworth Funds 

J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation 

Mary Black Foundation 

Overdeck Family Foundation 

Pritzker Children’s Initiative 

Robin Hood Foundation 

Valhalla Foundation 

Bradshaw Institute for Community  

Brady Education Foundation 

Child Health & Advocacy  

Merl Code  

Community Foundation of Greenville  

Colonial Life and Unum  

Corporation for National and Community  

Service Social Innovation Fund  

Cliff & Carolyn Ellis Foundation  

Frances & Dave Ellison  

Peggy & Edwin Good  

Graham Foundation  

Joy & Neil Grayson  

Greenville County First Steps  

Inasmuch Foundation  

Jolley Foundation  

Margaret Linder Southern Endowment Fund  

Tami McKnew  

Daniel-Mickel Foundation  

National Endowment for the Arts  

New America Foundation  

Nonprofit Finance Fund  

Priester Foundation  

Prisma Health Hospital System  

Jean & Bill Schmidt  

SC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics  

SC Department of Social Services  

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina  

John I. Smith Charities  

City of Spartanburg  

Sorenson Impact Center  

Susan Thomson Shi  

Urban Institute  

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts 


EdVenture Children’s Museum  

Ferebee Lane + Co.

Lexington County First Steps

North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation  

PNC Bank  

Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital  

Park Sterling Bank  

Mary Peace Sterling Foundation  

Richland County First Steps  

SC Education Oversight Committee

Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP

Spartanburg County First Steps  

Spartanburg County School District No. 7  

State of South Carolina Department of Education

Tri-County Cradle to Career  

Total Comfort Solutions  

University of South Carolina  

Winer Family Foundation  

Carol & Roy Abercrombie  

Karen & Jim Akerhielm  

Loranne Ausley  

Angela C. Baum-Smith  

Claire & Joe Blake  

Franklin Boineau  

Adair & Bryan Boroughs  

Dennis Braasch  

Linda & Gene Brees  

Marion Broome  

Hassan Brown  

Vicki & Craig Brown  

William H. Brown  

Ann Bryan  

Carolina Bryan  

Kristy Buchanon  

Bryan Bullock  

Angela Caldwell  

Didi Caldwell  

Calvin Calhoun, III  

Crystal Campbell  

Megan Carolan & Ragbe Ahmed  

Maggie Cash  

Ginger Chilton  

John Young Shik Concklin  

Andersen Cook  

Sam Cook  

Jeanette & John Cothran  

Melissa Crow  

Leigh & Mark D’Amico  

Annemarie Forte DeFronzo  

Sylvia Echols  

Betty Farr  

Carolyn & Cliff Ellis  

Kathy Ellis  

Natalina & Jerry Ferlauto  

Robert & Patricia Fulbright  

Nancy Gangemi & Joseph David  

Barbara & Michael Gauderer  

Mary C. Garvey  

Gary Glickman  

Diane & Larry Gluck  

Megan Golden & Peter Neiman  

Donald Gordon  

Cecile Hudson Grant  

Matthew Grisham  

Janice Gruendel  

Jo Hackl  

Susan Hamlett  

Jane H. & Edward Harvey  

Donna & Ted Hendry  

Sarah & Gordon Herring  

Alexis Herschkowitsch  

Anna Kate & Hayne Hipp  

Anne & Frank Holleman  

Megan & Howard Houston  

Mary Anne & Robert Inglis  

Beverly James  

Cathy Jones & Eric Jaegers  

Jill & Desmond Kelly  

Janice Key  

Alissa Lange  

Enda Murphy Linnane  

Mark Lorimer 

Nancy & Erwin Maddrey  

Anne Marie Maertens  

Suzanne Manning  

Lisa & Jamie Maronie  

Josephus & Laura Mavretic  

Amanda McDougald Scott & Brandon Scott  

Liliana & Rod McGee  

Darnell McPherson  

Danielle & Kirby Mitchell  

Sommer & Jamie Moon  

Eric Nash  

Lauren Park  

Lillian & Henry Parr    

Russell Pomeranz  

Amber Posey  

Austin Raunikar  

Jim Reynolds  

Annette Ricchiazzi  

Leighan Rinker  

Richard Riley  

Ann & Andy Robinson  

Laurie Rovin  

Burke Royster  

Keller Anne Ruble  

Francis Rushton  

Peg Sabo Carolan  

Genevieve Sakas Manly  

Robert Saul  

JoKeitha Seabrook  

Minor & Hal Shaw  

Susan & Frank Shaw  

David Shi  

Katy & Bartley Sides  

Susan Smith  

Diane Smock & Brad Wyche  

Elizabeth Stall  

Delores (Dee) Stegelin  

Cathy Stevens & Erik Ching  

Jessalyn & Chris Story  

Nur Tanyel   

John Tripoli  

Jill Vales  

Christina Vazquez  

Nancy & Benny Walker  

Harold Waters  

Joe Waters  

Tracy Waters  

Kate Grant Wells  

Jeannette Wilcox & Craig Stine  

Richard Wilkerson  

Matt Wilson  

Paula & Baxter Wynn