Currently 52% of New York City families with children under the age of four cannot afford child care. And one in every four parents has had to turn down a job, change employment, or take leave due to child care demands since the pandemic began. In New York City, there is now just one open child care space for every five babies.
According to research, the most effective poverty-fighting investment starts at birth and provides far beyond the expenses to society.
Investing in New York City's child care system would help alleviate poverty, increase family financial stability, promote healthy child development, and boost the amount of parents and caregivers, particularly women, to work and earn more.
At Robin Hood's annual benefit to assist poverty-fighting initiatives 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.
Robin Hood is contributing $50 million, which includes a $25 million investment from Alexis Ohanian's 776 Foundation. New York City pledged $50 million. Additionally, Robin Hood raised $76 million at the annual event. All the money raised at the event will go toward poverty-fighting projects around New York City.
"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. "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."
The Bezos Family Foundation contributed $10 million in support of the Child Care Quality & Innovation Initiative.
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."
Blue Origin also provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one lucky auction winner to journey to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket. This "buy one, give one" item allows a public school teacher in New York City to fly to space.
Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin's winning bid collected $8 million for Robin Hood during the live auction. At Ken's request, Robin Hood will award both seats to New York City public school teachers in acknowledgment of their dedication to the advancement of public education.
The Child Care Quality & Innovation Initiative aims to increase access to high-quality, affordable child care while enhancing the quality of care provided to New York children. This new funding will improve access in child care deserts (neighborhoods with a scarcity of licensed child care providers) and provide choices outside of standard working hours to accommodate parents with irregular schedules.
The initiative will also establish an online platform to expedite the voucher application process and link them with existing benefits. Finally, the initiative will support workforce development programs that provide fair compensation, minimizing turnover and creating opportunity growth within the industry.