What We Do
MWMFF seeks to achieve its vision, mission and objectives through grant-making, communication, convening and collaboration. Activities are guided by three operating principles:
- A foundation’s financial resource base is less important than its role as a catalyst in effecting change.
- Active and ongoing involvement in determining a shared agenda and in oversight of grants is essential to ensure a foundation’s objectives are met.
- Agreements with governments to co-fund or collaborate on initiatives increase a foundation’s policy influence.
Application: In partnership with Atlantic Canada provincial governments, MWMFF provides grants and expertise for proof of concept demonstration sites. Lessons learned can be scaled up into provincial public policy and program delivery that build on the assets of the public school system. The individual site experiences build a growing database of information about successful program, administrative and business practices that contribute to financial stability.
Successful transition from individual demonstration sites to system-level change needs provincial government funding and policy changes. MWMFF supports evaluation, professional learning opportunities and inter-provincial collaboration to encourage the transition from demonstration site to more coherent provincial early childhood systems.
Policy Research: MWMFF provides grants to amplify scientific knowledge that informs and inspires discourse and action. Evidence from early human development science, program delivery innovation and public policy research is the essential ingredient in shaping policies and practices. Monitoring and reporting on policy implementation and what works for children and families contributes to accountability of public resources.
Communication: MWMFF informs discussion and debates among funders, policy-makers, academics and communities that extend beyond the usual suspects. Reports, briefs, commentaries, interviews, articles and program information are prepared and circulated through print and electronic media. Expanding the use of social media, including an active web-site presence, offers new opportunities to harness the evidence and lessons learned. MWMFF aims to build a broader understanding of what early childhood education is and why it matters. The powerful economic rationale for increased public investment is central in early childhood education.
Foundations can leverage the capital of their reputations to realize a common point of contact for different stakeholder groups, even bring together stakeholders who may not know or trust each other. In the same way, foundations can bridge gaps between policy makers and practitioners.
Drawing on our credibility and integrity, MWMFF can be an honest broker on many difficult issues, convening different players to exchange ideas and find new ways to move forward. Utilizing its continuity and durability, MWMFF can take a longer term view and ‘hold’ issues over time.
While not an end in itself, collaboration can provide a platform or united strategy to achieve specific objectives that are of mutual interest and that would be difficult to achieve alone. It can also reduce risks and/or increase return on investments. We seek out and make use of collaboration where it offers clear promise of achieving our goals and objectives.
MWMFF is a member of the Early Child Development Funders Working Group (ECD-FWG). The ECD-FWG is many things: a cross-Canada learning network; a deeply shared commitment to children; a link among eight very diverse foundations. Its goal is simple—the availability of quality, publicly-funded, early childhood education for every preschool child.
The ECD-FWG does not solicit or accept applications for funding. Rather, it is a resource to its membership, supporting collaboration and knowledge sharing that improves the effectiveness of our philanthropy relating to young children. The ECD-FWG's major project to date has been a shared investment in the creation and promotion of Early Years Study 3, and a recently published Open Letter, with much more to come.
To access more information about the Early Child Development Funders Working Group.
Members of the Early Child Development Funders Working Group include:
- Atkinson Charitable Foundation;
- Fondation Lucie and André Chagnon;
- Lyle S. Hallman Foundation;
- The Lawson Foundation;
- Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation;
- The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation;
- Muttart Foundation and
- Jimmy Pratt Foundation.