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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

$100 Million Initiative For Childcare Quality & Innovation Announced At Robin Hood Benefit

At Robin Hood's annual benefit to support poverty-fighting efforts in New York City, Robin Hood, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian announced the formation of a $100 million Child Care Quality & Innovation Initiative for New York City, PR Newswire reported.

Photo Insert: The $100 million initiative for Child Care Quality & Innovation was announced at Robin Hood's Annual Benefit.

The initiative includes $50 million from Robin Hood – including a $25 million donation from Alexis Ohanian's 776 Foundation – and a $50 million commitment from New York City. In total, Robin Hood raised $76 million at the event – 100% of which will go to impactful poverty-fighting programs citywide.

"As we recover from the pandemic, poverty remains persistent and pervasive in New York City, but we know investing in high-quality, affordable child care will uplift families in all five boroughs. Access to high-quality and affordable child care sets a child up for success to excel developmentally and academically and gets parents back to work — it's good for the economy and good for fighting poverty," said Robin Hood CEO Richard R. Buery, Jr.

"That's why we brought together our generous supporters and Mayor Adams at Robin Hood's 2022 Annual Benefit and committed to investing $100 million into reimagining New York City's child care sector and giving every family the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty."

The Child Care Quality & Innovation Initiative will seek to make high-quality, affordable childcare more accessible while improving the quality of care provided to New York children. This new funding is dedicated to expanding access in childcare deserts – neighborhoods without enough licensed childcare providers – and providing options beyond traditional working hours to accommodate parents with atypical schedules.

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Additionally, it will oversee the creation of a single online portal to streamline the application process for vouchers and integrate them with existing benefits. Finally, the initiative will support workforce development programs that help drive quality across New York City, including encouraging models that compensate providers more fairly, reducing turnover, and creating opportunities for growth within the sector.

"We need to get New Yorkers back to work while uplifting families, lowering the cost of child care while increasing options to remove obstacles that are holding too many parents back. Investing in child care is a down payment on progress and the future of our kids," said New York Mayor Eric Adams.

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"We're excited to partner with Robin Hood on the Child Care Quality & Innovation Initiative to not only position New York as a leader in the sector but to take a step towards a new, more equitable city for all."

"As a father, I've experienced firsthand the benefits of having access to family support like child care, maternal health care, and paid family leave. Every child deserves the opportunity for a strong start in life, and quality child care creates the fundamental building blocks for that foundation," said Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Seven Seven Six and the co-founder and former executive chairman of Reddit.

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"I'm incredibly proud to partner with Robin Hood and New York City – the city of my birth – on this important initiative and to be able to provide that opportunity to so many fellow New Yorkers."

As part of the effort to raise funds for the Child Care Quality & Innovation Initiative, the Bezos Family Foundation committed $10 million in support. Mike Bezos, Vice President of the Bezos Family Foundation, shared, "Increasing access to high-quality, science-based early learning opportunities is a real passion for our family, and why my wife Jackie and I have supported Robin Hood for many years, including through our investments in Robin Hood's Fund for Early Learning."

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Additionally, Blue Origin donated a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one lucky auction winner to travel to space on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket. This "buy one give one" item enables a New York City public school teacher to also travel to space. The live auction raised $8 million for Robin Hood, thanks to a winning bid from Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin.

At Ken's request, Robin Hood will provide both seats to New York City public school teachers, in recognition of their commitment to advancing public education: "I am honored to support the Robin Hood Foundation and thrilled that two exceptional New York City public school teachers will experience the inspirational journey of spaceflight," said Ken Griffin.

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"I hope this moment will ignite the imagination of our students and inspire the next generation to push the boundaries of what humanity can achieve while underscoring the extraordinary role our teachers play in the lives of our children."

"In addition to being a co-chair with my wife, Lisa, for Robin Hood's 2022 annual benefit, I had the pleasure of working at Robin Hood for ten years and am now on the Leadership Council. Over the years with Robin Hood, I've had the good fortune of witnessing the power of philanthropy day in and day out. Last night, I was honored to present Blue Origin's once-in-a-lifetime auction item," said Mark Bezos, Robin Hood Leadership Council member and Founding Partner of HighPost Capital, LLC.

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Research has shown that the most impactful poverty-fighting investment we can make starts in infancy, providing returns to society that far outweigh the costs. Currently, though, more than half (52%) of New York City families with children under age four cannot afford child care, and since the start of the pandemic, one in four parents have had to turn down a job, change jobs, or take leave due to child care needs.

Currently, there is only one available child care slot for every five infants in New York City. Investing in New York City's child care system will help reduce poverty, improve family economic stability, ensure healthy child development, and increase the ability of parents and caregivers — especially women — to work and earn more.

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Robin Hood's 2021 benefit, the organization's first in-person event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, raised $77.5 million to get families back on their feet, kids back on track, and New Yorkers back to work.

The announcement of the Child Care Quality & Innovation Initiative builds upon Robin Hood's legacy of funding innovations in early learning, and the partnership with New York City marks an unprecedented opportunity to collaborate on catalyzing improvements in child care that will have lasting impacts for generations.

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