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Ready Nation May Newsletter

ReadyNation Newsletter | May 23, 2018

Dear ReadyNation Members, 

As someone with a long history of supporting early childhood education in Tennessee, I’m proud that our state has made great progress this year in raising the visibility of this important issue.  In February, I was delighted to speak at the Rotary Club of Memphis with ReadyNation’s Global Director Sara Watson to discuss the brain science behind early childhood development and ways to strengthen the workforce pipeline.

This spring, I was pleased that ReadyNation Tennessee sent a business leader letter to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), urging him to fully fund the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, which is a critically important program for many families across Tennessee and the country. Several legislators also attended a reception at my home to discuss the importance of early education. 

Last month, Council for a Strong America organized a terrific press event at the State Capitol. I had the good fortune of speaking alongside Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis), Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes, and General (Ret.) Thomas Swain about the importance that increased investments in high-quality pre-k have in achieving positive gains in the future workforce, public safety, and national security. Rep. White and I were pleased that the Memphis Commercial Appeal published our op-ed, which you can read here.  

All of this hard work has already begun to make a difference. One major recent development was the city of Memphis announcing that it will commit $6 million of recurring funds to the expansion of pre-k in Shelby County, pending approval from City Council. It’s victories like this one that really move the needle when it comes to building the future workforce and ensuring that our kids are prepared to not only succeed in work, but in education and life as well. 

As you’ll read in the newsletter below, ReadyNation members have played a pivotal role in contributing to victories like the one above and will continue to do so throughout the year.

Sincerely,

Larry Jensen

President & CEO, Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors
Early Bird Deadline Extended and New Speakers Added!

The Early Bird registration deadline for the 2018 Global Business Summit on Early Childhood has been extended to July 15th!

We've also excited to announce that we've recently added several new speakers to our agenda as well.

Visit our event webpage to view the updated Summit agenda and speakers list!
In Memoriam
Jennifer Riordan, a Wells Fargo community relations executive, was a prominent member of the Albuquerque business community and active member of ReadyNation, particularly around the importance of high-quality home visiting programs that help children get the right start in life. Her work with ReadyNation was part of her long history of community service and early childhood advocacy. The Riordan family has established a trust in Jennifer’s memory that will honor causes she held dear. (To learn more or to make a gift, visit their website). Jennifer leaves behind a husband and two children. She will be deeply missed. 
Member Spotlight

George Halvorson

We would like to recognize ReadyNation memberGeorge Halvorson. For over 30 years, he has led major healthcare delivery and financing organizations including a twelve year tenure as Chairman & CEO with Kaiser Permanente until 2014 when he retired. He is now Chair & CEO of the Institute for InterGroup Understanding and continues to be a passionate advocate for early childhood, a prolific writer and presenter on the topic, and recognized authority in the field. Read more about George, his work, and his most recent book -- Three Key Years -- which identifies the importance of early brain development in children here or click on “Member Spotlight” anytime on the ReadyNation website.
Federal Policy Updates
The 2020 Census

We are delighted to announce that ReadyNation has been tapped to organize and run two business networks in support of an accurate 2020 Census. With funding from the Ford Foundation and others, we will be recruiting senior executives to join the National Business Leader Task Force for an Accurate Census, as well as expanding our network of all business people willing to speak out in support of a well-designed and administered census. We will also look for businesses interested in publicizing the need to return census forms (“Get Out the Count”) in spring 2020.

Our new brief, “Data for a Strong Economy,” explains that the census is essential to providing appropriate public funding for programs that help children grow to be productive adults, for business data-based decisions, and for accurate political representation. If you have questions or nominations for new business contacts, please contact Jeff Connor-Naylor, jnaylor@readynation.org.
Major Victory for Early Childhood, After-School

With your support and the work of advocates and allies around the country, we helped achieve an unprecedented increase in funding for the nation’s federal child care program. In March, Congress passed and President Trump signed legislation funding the federal government through September 30, which included an additional $2.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) -- nearly doubling its funding to a total of$5.2 billion. Members of ReadyNation across the country helped speak out about the importance of this program, which supports access to high-quality child care for families with caregivers who are working, in job training, or in school. This victory will allow states to increase access to child care and improve quality, helping parents be more productive at work knowing their children are in a safe, educational environment.
In addition to the unprecedented increase in child care funding, Congress also increased funding for Head Start by $610 million and youth after-school programs by $20 million,
while maintaining Preschool Development Grants.

Your voices in these important federal budget debates have a significant impact, and as a result, thousands of children across the country will get a good start in life, leading to success in education, work, and life.

Illinois Updates