Professional Curator

Mike Kirwan

Early Childhood Portfolio

United States, Nationwide

Early childhood encompasses a patchwork of supports for children and their families beginning as early as pregnancy and extending through a child's entry into the K-12 educational system. Subcategories include high-quality pre-K and daycare, home visiting programs, and early intervention services.

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Within the area of giving that I am most passionate about, I approach philanthropy from a quantitative standpoint to make sure that my dollars are maximally impactful. Though performance metrics aren't everything, they're often all that we have to differentiate programs that may seem similar at face value, and they often raise important questions that help philanthropists to understand the organizations they're seeking to fund.

While my geographic expertise is primarily in New York City as a function of my work with the Robin Hood Foundation, I also have experience engaging with nonprofits in Washington, California, Oregon, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.

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About the curator

I spent four years as the Senior Program Officer for Early Childhood at the Robin Hood Foundation. In addition to managing a $10M annual portfolio of 20 grantee organizations, I also oversaw Robin Hood's investments in longitudinal early childhood research and developed an innovation prize framework modeled after the X-Prize that would reward researchers and educators for producing significant gains in early language.

Prior to Robin Hood, I was a Project Manager at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University working with their Frontiers of Innovation (F.O.I.) Initiative. As part of that work, I made small-scale grants and provided implementation support to novel early childhood programs and partnerships in Seattle, WA.

6 Years in grantmaking
Experience at Robin Hood Foundation
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Opportunities in this portfolio

All Our Kin (AOK)

AOK General Operating

AOK employs an innovative model to train and support low-income women to operate high-quality daycare out of their homes. This addresses two problems endemic to impoverished communities by creating both employment opportunities and providing affordable, safe, enriching childcare options where there often are none.

Children's Aid Society (CAS)

CAS Early Childhood Programs

CAS operates 13 high-quality pre-K programs in low-income neighborhoods of New York City. They serve over 900 children per year across these centers and use an innovative curriculum called Tools of the Mind to develop children's executive function skills.

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)

NFP General Operating

NFP is the gold standard of home visiting models, having been subjected to numerous randomized control trials since its founding. It has made a conscious effort in the past several years to update its model and leverage technology to amplify its impacts which I think will help it to stay relevant and powerful for years to come.

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