SmartBabies Initiative

Background:

In McLennan County, approximately 49% of women have their first child at 20 years or younger. Research informs us that children born to women under the age of 20 have a higher risk for low birth weight and infant mortality; have fewer skills and are less prepared to learn when they enter kindergarten; and are more likely to give birth as a teen.

Waco Foundation strives to improve the quality of life for all the citizens of McLennan County. In 2009, the Foundation commissioned a study to develop a central baseline for understanding the current condition of the youngest residents in McLennan County. On a 100-point scale using 12 risk factors most closely linked to a child’s health and education development, McLennan County had an average quality of life for children 0-3 of only 41.67%. While working with agencies and collaborations, Waco Foundation trustees recognized the need for a central, comprehensive early childhood initiative, thereby launching the SmartBabies Early Childhood Initiative to ensure our youngest citizens have an early childhood environment that is necessary for a happy, productive life.

Today's Work:

Since the launch of the SmartBabies Initiative, great strides have been made in early childhood quality of life that will benefit the community for years to come.  Waco Foundation is proud of the work SmartBabies has accomplished and the research, collaborations and programs that resulted will continue to propel Waco forward.  The community's engagement in the work of SmartBabies is higher than ever before which is why the Foundation made the decision to transition the SmartBabies Initiative from Waco Foundation to a more "boots on the ground" agency so the initiative can evolve to the next phase. 

After months of strategic conversations and planning, Waco Foundation's Board of Trustees authorized funding for the United Way of Waco-McLennan County to adopt the SmartBabies Initiative under the United Way umbrella.  Waco Foundation will continue to support the SmartBabies Initiative in a variety of ways and remains deeply committed to the work of improving quality of life for our children. 

SmartBabies Initiative Fast Facts

  • Waco Foundation's Board of Trustees launched the SmartBabies Initiative in 2011, after years of research indicated the need for a central, comprehensive early childhood initiative aimed at improving quality of life for children ages 0-3. 
  • Over the last six years, the SmartBabies Initiative, underwritten and supported by Waco Foundation, has conducted a variety of activities to ensure our youngest citizens have an early childhood environment that is necessary for a happy, productive life.
  • In total, Waco Foundation has funded nearly $1 million in direct services for SmartBabies work.
  • SmartBabies has been directly involved in bringing an estimated $2 million in outside funding for Waco programs related to early childhood with an additional $3 million in the pipeline for potential future grants and funding for Waco.
  • In September 2017, Waco Foundation's Board of Trustees authorized funding to transition the SmartBabies Initiative to the United Way of Waco-McLennan County.
  • Waco Foundation will continue to support the work of SmartBabies.
Contact

Phone: 254-754-3404
Fax: 254-753-2887

Location

1227 N. Valley Mills Drive
Suite 235
Waco, TX 76710
Directions

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