Fund for Early Learning (FUEL)


In New York City, there are at least 100,000 children, ages 0-to-3, living below the poverty line. This early developmental stage is the most critical to a child’s future trajectory and lifetime outcome. However, these children are vulnerable to the damaging effects of the extreme stresses of poverty – and they’re in significant danger of falling behind their more affluent peers. Gaps begin to appear as early as age eighteen months; moreover, the further behind the children fall, the more likely they are to suffer in the long-term.


Since May 2016, we’ve consulted with 80+ leaders in fields related to our effort. We also convened a group of top specialists to provide collaborative recommendations and to identify critical opportunities.

Working with Jackie Bezos, a Robin Hood board member and chair of our early childhood committee, and John Overdeck, also a Robin Hood board member and co-founder of Two Sigma Investments, as well as several other lead funders – the Touradji Family Foundation, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, and the Heising-Simons Foundation – we’ve created a three-part investment approach for FUEL.

With these building blocks in place, we now have the strategic foundation for a highly effective, outcomes-oriented initiative that meets parents’ needs and fits their realities.

The first major initiative of FUEL is a partnership with the City of New York that will dramatically expand ongoing efforts to help children build the key cognitive, social, and emotional skills they need to succeed in school and life. To learn more, read the press release.

Learn more about the challenges of early childhood education and the science behind brain development.

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Challenges of early childhood education

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Early childhood brain development

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