History of Collaboration
Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond has been in existence in some way, shape or form for nearly two decades. From the inception of Youth Matters at ChamberRVA to the launch of Success By 6™ at United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, the work has always been defined by the significant level of collaboration demonstrated by the organizations involved.
Today, Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond continues to leverage the strengths of its anchor organizations. ChamberRVA has helped to establish early childhood as a crucial component of the workforce pipeline and raise awareness of the issue among its membership. United Way’s reputation as a longstanding nonprofit helped to bring community partners together with Smart Beginnings, to analyze data and emerging trends, and develop collaborative solution.
Learn more about our history and milestones in the evolution of Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond in the timeline below.
Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond Timeline of Organizational Milestones
Formation of Youth Matters
Formation of Youth Matters, a business engagement and community strategy initiative, housed at ChamberRVA. The initiative was supported in part by a 10-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Urban Health Initiative.
Formation of Success by 6
Formation of Success by 6™ at United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. United Way also established the Children, Youth and Families Action Council recognizing the importance of funding early care and education programs.
ChamberRVA and United Way Align Early Childhood Efforts
ChamberRVA and United Way align their early childhood efforts to form the Early Childhood Development Coalition. Work funded by Early Learning Opportunities Act grants totaling $2.7M helped to pilot one of the first iterations of Virginia Quality, implement Raising a Reader and the Include Me Project.
Virginia’s Child Day Care Council Established
Virginia’s Child Day Care Council was established and authorized by the Code of Virginia to adopt regulatory standards for licensure and operations of child care centers. Governor Mark Warner selected Gail Johnson, former chair for Youth Matters, to chair the council.
Virginia Early Childhood Foundation Created
Virginia Early Childhood Foundation was created.
ChamberRVA and United Way Merge Early Childhood Efforts
ChamberRVA and United Way merged their early childhood efforts to form the Success by 6™ Partnership and a regional Early Childhood Leadership Council. Governor Tim Kaine established the Start Strong Council to expand access to quality preschool for 4 year-olds. Leadership Council member, Katherine Busser, was tapped to serve on this council.
Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond Launches
Building on nearly a decade of regional collaboration, business engagement, and program improvement, Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond is launched with a $500,000 grant from the newly formed Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.
Regional Forum for School Readiness
Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond facilitates a Regional Forum for School Readiness to unite local government, school, business and nonprofit leaders to create a comprehensive plan for school readiness across the region.
Regional Plan for Children’s School Readiness is Published
The Regional Plan for Children’s School Readiness is published and local work groups are formed and begin meeting consistently to achieve goals outlined in the regional plan.
First Regional Kindergarten Registration Campaign
The first Regional Kindergarten Registration Campaign was launched in Spring 2011, bringing together 10 school divisions across the region to coordinate registration activities and ensure that more parents know about the importance of school readiness.
2012 Commonwealth Award of Excellence
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) honored the Regional Kindergarten Registration Campaign with a 2012 Commonwealth Award of Excellence indicating that the campaign met rigorous national standards. The first annual Results Report was published, highlighting progress made towards goals in the regional plan.
Richmond History Maker Award for Encouraging Regional Collaboration
Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond received a Richmond History Maker award for Encouraging Regional Collaboration through its Regional Kindergarten Registration Campaign. Kings Dominion worked in partnership with Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond to develop and install signage in the new Planet Snoopy and publish a Family FUNtastic Guide for park visitors.
Virginia Chamber of Commerce Blueprint Virginia Plan
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognized early childhood education as a key determinant of academic success and long-range economic vitality in their Blueprint Virginia plan.
Grant Funding from the Virginia Department of Health
Family Lifeline, the City of Richmond and United Way receive a second year of grant funding from the Virginia Department of Health, eventually bringing almost $1M to the region to expand home visitation services.
Fiscal Sponsorship Transitioned to ChamberRVA
Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond transitions fiscal sponsorship to ChamberRVA (Greater Richmond Chamber Foundation).
Regional Plan for School Readiness 2017-2020
The Regional Plan for School Readiness 2017-2020 is launched.