Our grants aim to raise our city’s youngest children out of poverty. They face fierce odds, from poor birth outcomes to an achievement gap that starts very early in life and widens over time. We make use of the best research available to identify and support interventions to improve these negative outcomes. Through the Early Childhood Research Initiative, we take it one step further. We work to generate new evidence of the power of promising interventions, using gold–standard research methods.

Deb McCoy
Robin Hood managing director,
Early Childhood & Youth



Thirty percent of children in New York City live in poverty. The stresses of poverty often leave parents overwhelmed and unable to invest the same resources in their child’s development that higher-income parents can provide. Tragically, this lack of involvement occurs at the time when a child’s brain is most receptive to parental input and nurturing, forging up to 700 new connections every second.


We know that programs for young children in poor families can have a greater impact than interventions later in life. That’s why Robin Hood provides support early and often, partnering with the highest-quality providers in New York’s poorest neighborhoods to give children the best start possible.

Our most powerful
tools include

High-quality pre-K for an intensive, enriching experience, which can increase high school graduation rates and improve lifetime health for children while enabling parents to return to work.

Home-visiting programs that can place families on a path to success before a child is even born. These programs reduce infant mortality and pre-term birth, improve parenting skills and can reduce the likelihood of future incarceration for both mother and child.

Intensive and life-changing therapeutic programs for the most at-need children and their parents, which provide treatment for developmental delays and mental health conditions.


Brooklyn Kindergarten Society
(2014 Robin Hood Hero)

Two-thirds of children entering any of the five Brooklyn Kindergarten Society centers (B.K.S.) show significant signs of developmental and language delays. Despite this, more than 90 percent of these children complete the B.K.S. program on par with or higher than their peers from families with higher incomes. Since 1891, B.K.S. has provided high-quality, innovative, free early childhood education, transforming the lives of tens of thousands of low-income, at-risk Brooklyn children and providing them with the tools to succeed in school and in life.

Children's Trauma Institute
(New York University School of Medicine)

Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.) are much higher in poor communities than in the general population; As many as 1 in 5 poor New Yorkers in these communities suffers from some form of P.T.S.D. Parents with P.T.S.D. are statistically more likely to abuse or neglect their children than parents without it. The Institute provides an evidence-based therapy called Parenting S.T.A.I.R. to mothers and children who have been victims of trauma. Participants learn to confront trauma, manage symptoms and function in good health again, and it shows in their care for their children. The Parenting STAIR therapy program reduces the rate of parents who abuse or neglect their child within N.Y.C.’s child welfare system by 92 percent.

Early Childhood Research Initiative

Rigorous longitudinal studies have proven that early interventions can deliver dramatic improvements in future living standards. These levers for success include increased probability of high school graduation, reduction in criminal activity, and greater college entry and success–all leading to higher earnings in the future. However, follow-up studies don’t show which early childhood programs should be funded, how to improve existing programs or how to collect data on children beyond kindergarten. To fill the gaps, Robin Hood has partnered with M.D.R.C., a nationally respected social policy organization, on the Early Childhood Research Initiative.

Community Partners

Ackerman Institute for the Family
Albert Einstein College of Medicine – Early Childhood Center
Association to Benefit Children
Bloomingdale Family Program
Brookdale Hospital: Healthy Families New York
Brooklyn Kindergarten Society (BKS)
Children’s Aid Society
Coalition for Hispanic Family Services
Episcopal Social Services
Fund for Public Health in New York –
Nurse Family Partnership
Grand Street Settlement
Harlem Children’s Zone
Jane Barker Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center
Kids in Need of Defense
Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service
New Yorkers For Children – ACS/Acelero
Northside Center for Child Development
NYU School of Medicine – Children’s Trauma Institute
SCO Family of Services
Staten Island Mental Health Society
University Settlement Society
Visiting Nurse Service of New York


Alan Schwartz, Chair
Atiim Barber
Jacklyn Bezos
John DiRocco
Marian Wright Edelman
Nancy Jarecki
Jack Oliver
David Puth
Jes Staley

(includes grants made in Teaches, Nurtures and Heals)