VECF logoThe Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) was founded in 2005 as a public-private partnership for the state’s early childhood efforts. VECF provides substantive leadership and drives innovative initiatives to ensure that Virginia’s children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn. VECF supports a statewide network of Smart Beginnings collaborative partnerships that convene leaders from K-12 education, the child care community, health, local government, family support agencies, social services, higher education, faith leaders, and the business community to build the capacity of local communities to create optimal environments for children’s growth and development. VECF works with Smart Beginnings partners across the state to promote opportunities for increasing access to high quality early childhood development services and implementation of better early childhood policy. In addition, VECF co-administers Virginia Quality to publish quality ratings of early childhood programs for parents and families and provides support so that programs can voluntarily improve the quality of the services they provide. VECF also convened a state partnership to secure funding for and collaboratively implement the model obesity prevention program, Taking Steps to Healthy Success, Early Care and Education Learning Collaboratives. In addition to providing ECE programs with training, technical assistance and resources to create healthier early learning environments, partners are collaborating to promote systems-level obesity prevention in early care. Other VECF initiatives analyze data, guide research and evaluation, and discern policy implications for the state’s system of school readiness services for young children.