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Funder Highlight: The Meadows Foundation

TheMeadowsFoundation_Logo_RGBWith a mission to assist the people and institutions of Texas improve the quality and circumstances of life for themselves and future generations, The Meadows Foundation has been working with nonprofits for more than 65 years.

Funding from the Meadows Foundation to First3Years began in 2005 with a $25,000 grant to help the organization expand staffing. Over the years, they have provided three grants totaling $145,000—the most recent one to support Safe Babies Tarrant County.

In an interview with Senior Program Officer Cindy M. Patrick, we discussed how support from The Meadows Foundation helps to protect the state’s youngest and most vulnerable population.

What are you most proud of that we’ve achieved together?

First3Years’ work fits into one of our three core strategic areas: mental health, which we see as mental wellness. Babies are babies, and it’s important to support developmental stages, helping babies be the best they can be. We’ve got to get it “right,” starting from the early years.

When First3Years first came to us, the idea of focusing on the infant toddler years—helping parents be better parents, and caretakers become better caregivers—was a big interest of ours too, because we believe in providing a good, healthy life start. This idea of the organization was appealing then, and it has been wonderful being able to watch First3Years grow to where it is today.

How has investing in First3Years’ work helped to further The Meadow Foundation’s mission?

Because our mission is to improve the lives of people in Texas in all the program areas, we see value in early care, whether it is a grant related to education, environmental issues, and more. We see the early years as critical years, and thus we’ve invested in the first 3 and 5 years of life as part of supporting the whole continuum on a life span. It starts with the little ones. We value exposing children to the support they need, and helping them grow into the best person they can be.

How can people support our shared goals to provide our most vulnerable with the best start in life?

The more people are open to the idea of learning about 0-3 and how adult actions can influence that time period—that is the best way for one to help our youngest get the best start in life. First3Years does a wonderful job through its Food for Thought luncheon series for early care professionals, newsletters, and sharing tips in a usable format. All parents want to be the best for their children, so be open to new research and information, and also sharing that information—it’s important to spread the word, too.

Is there anything else you would like to share about The Meadows Foundation, your giving, and your work?

Since 1948, The Meadows Foundation has been a private, family foundation. We fund statewide. We’re always looking to fund good projects that are influencing and creating a better life for people in Texas. Our giving is broad and we have many interest areas, from our strategic giving areas of mental health, the environment, and public education, to arts and culture, animal welfare, and criminal justice/re-entry.

We’re hoping that through many different entities, systemic change can happen; that the different work being done eventually works together to become a better whole.

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