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National Foundation Invests to Expand FTF’s Parent Education Efforts

Father and son laughing

PHOENIX (July 28, 2015) – A national foundation is investing $300,000 to help enhance and expand the parenting education resources available to all Arizona families through First Things First.

The year-long project is funded in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) of Battle Creek, Michigan. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

“We are honored by this award, first and foremost, because it will allow us to provide an even more robust array of parenting resources to families,” First Things First Chief Executive Officer Sam Leyvas said. “The grant is also an acknowledgment of FTF’s position as a recognized and trusted source of quality early childhood information and programs in Arizona.”

With the Kellogg Foundation’s support, First Things First will work to more fully integrate existing early childhood parenting programs and to research and develop innovative approaches for providing more parenting information to families. This includes taking advantage of new parents’ changing communications preferences by offering an array of web-based parenting resources through a variety of digital platforms. Once completed, this project will give Arizona parents of young kids ready access to credible early childhood information that is engaging, user-friendly and adaptable to their needs.

Information and support are crucial for parents of young children, Leyvas said, since research shows that the quality of a child’s interactions with adult caregivers from birth to 5 years old impacts how a child’s brain develops; positive interactions help the brain develop in ways that promote health and learning.

“Supporting all children’s optimal development is the Kellogg Foundation’s priority, a shared responsibility among families, schools and communities. We are happy to support FTF’s efforts to develop enhanced web-based tools to increase engagement with families of young children. We are eager to continue learning how digital technologies can be used more effectively in increasing access to meaningful resources capable of connecting and empowering families and in supporting young children’s learning, growth and development,” said Joelle-Jude Fontaine, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Leyvas said FTF is grateful to the Kellogg Foundation for their recognition of the organization’s past successes, and their support for expanding those efforts to serve more Arizona families.
“Strategic partnerships like this are crucial as we work to develop fresh and creative approaches for giving parents options when it comes to the information and support they need to get their kids ready for school and set for life,” he said.


About First Things First – First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, please visit firstthingsfirst.org.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

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