Child Care & Youth Services


NFF has over a decade of experience studying, funding, and advising the early care and education (ECE) sector. High quality ECE programs are proven to create lifelong positive outcomes among children, especially those living in poverty. Yet many low-income children have difficulty accessing quality child care, putting them at a disadvantage for long-term success. NFF works on analyzing this gap, promoting the financial health of ECE providers, and helping to strengthen access to sustainable child care for all.

Early Care and Education Report Commissioned by the William Penn Foundation

Building on NFF’s substantial work in the ECE field, the William Penn Foundation commissioned NFF to undertake a research and analysis project on the state and needs of the ECE sector in Philadelphia. The project culminated in a comprehensive report, “Overcoming Financial Barriers to Expanding High-Quality Early Care & Education in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” which NFF released in 2015. The report highlights the key financial, business, and systemic barriers to delivering high-quality ECE programs for vulnerable children, and concludes with a set of actions for policymakers, funders, and providers. The report focuses on nonprofit ECE providers serving the Philadelphia region, but its analysis of funding challenges is relevant to many ECE providers across the country.

Findings from this report have been featured in a TV interview on NBC, on Philadelphia’s local NPR Station WHYY, in a blog on Education Week and in Philadelphia City Paper

Philadelphia Child Care Initiative (2003-2013)

NFF’s Child Care Initiative provided capital, capacity-building services, and technical assistance to nonprofit child care centers and out-of-school time service providers seeking to improve the quality of their programs and facilities. This initiative was a vital resource in building a sustainable child care system designed to provide all of southeastern Pennsylvania’s children with access to high-quality early learning environments. With support from the William Penn Foundation, City of Philadelphia, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Wachovia Regional Community Development Corporation, Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Samuel S. Fels Fund, over $11.7 million in grants and loans were invested to improve child care in the region. To read the findings from this initiative, please click here.

Youth Services

Building Reserves for Boys and Girls Clubs
NFF developed a $4.5 million Initiative to help Boys and Girls Clubs in Boston, New York and New Jersey develop reserve funds for facility maintenance. Developed in partnership with the Charles Hayden Foundation, the Citigroup Foundation, and the United States Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, the program's centerpiece is NFF's asset-building financial service called Building for the FutureSM (BFF).

BFF was developed in response to our experience (and that of our funders and youth-servers) that sound facilities management practices were difficult for youth-servers to sustain without the support and incentive of their funders. The BFF model offers matching grants as a financial incentive to encourage nonprofits, their funders, and financial advisors, to commit to a structured long-term program of building maintenance.

Learn more:
Building for the Futuresm: NFF's services
How BFF for Boys and Girls Clubs works

Capitalizing Youth Services:
Research and analysis that informed our development of BFFsm

Management Initiative for Youth-Servers
NFF's extensive track record assisting youth-servers dates back to 1991, when we partnered with the Fund for the City of New York and the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund to create the "Management Initiative for New York City Organizations that Serve Youth." This collaborative sought to bolster the managerial capacity and infrastructure of 20 community-based youth serving organizations in New York City.