In 2020, The Heinz Endowments began an evaluation partnership with Child Trends. Their goal was to strengthen the prenatal-to-three (PN-3) system in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania through improved collaboration and help it become more equitable by focusing efforts on children and families who encounter barriers in the current system. The work began with the creation of a PN-3 framework and scan of The Heinz Endowments’ PN-3 grantmaking. Child Trends also shared guidelines for equitable grantmaking, such as requiring grantees to draw upon diverse community perspectives, making applications and reporting less labor-intensive, and being flexible with how funding is spent amid shifting community needs.
To apply some of the equitable grantmaking strategies, The Heinz Endowments and their PN-3 Fellow piloted a community-driven grantmaking process through Investment Advisory Councils (IACs). The IACs included nearly 40 members from local government, nonprofits, the private sector, and community members (see membership list at the end of this document). The members were in three groups: maternal and infant health, economic security, and child care—key domains of the PN-3 Framework. As the IACs progressed, the Heinz PN-3 Fellow engaged the Allegheny County funder community to form the Early Childhood Funders Alliance and transitioned the pilot to Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania. The IACs were evaluated by Child Trends and Propulsion Squared.
Child Trends. (2023). Investment Advisory Councils: A community-driven grantmaking pilot: summary of pilot and lessons learned (factsheet). Child Trends.