United Way GroundFloor Awards $100,000 to First3Years to launch Safe Babies Dallas County in 2017



United Way GroundFloor Awards $100,000 to First3Years to launch Safe Babies Dallas County in 2017

Dallas, Texas, July 27, 2017 — The United Way GroundFloor awarded First3Years $100,000 to support the launch of Safe Babies Dallas County. First3Years’ mission is to educate, advocate, and collaborate to advance healthy development of infants and toddlers.

Safe Babies is an approach that seeks to redesign foster care and child welfare by centering on the developmental and social needs of babies from birth to 36 months. Safe Babies Dallas County aims to impact more than 1,000 babies in foster care.

“The Big Pitch” was the final segment of United Way’s GroundFloor 5-month accelerator program for entrepreneurs, where selected organizations were provided $25,000 in seed funding, high-level mentoring and capacity building support to launch innovative social enterprises. First3Years placed first among the nine teams that presented pitches June 29, for the chance to increase their grant earnings and win one of five top awards.

“As a community, we cannot continue to accept the poor treatment of children in the system. Safe Babies is a new innovation that has the potential to powerfully reshape the experiences of the more than 1,000 babies in the system on any given day. This award means we can launch our Dallas County pilot year in strength,” shares Sadie Funk, First3Years CEO.


Photo Courtesy: United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, The GroundFloor


Safe Babies aims to transform the child welfare system experience by educating parents, judges, placement agencies and case managers on simple process and protocol shifts that would have a profound impact on children during the critical first three years of life; and promotes coordination among agencies involved with cases of abuse and neglect.

In its pilot year, Tarrant County trained 300 stakeholders, impacting 12,000 infants and toddlers in the community.

Funders for Safe Babies Tarrant County include The Meadows Foundation, Rees-Jones Foundation, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, R4 Foundation; Don and Barbara Kirk Endowment Fund, the Martin H. and Helen M. Wikierkak Memorial Fund for Abused Children and WORTH Endowment Fund of the North Texas Community Foundation.

“Safe Babies Dallas County will help young children in the midst of familial crisis, keeping them from experiencing secondary trauma, and supporting their healing in foster care,” shares Mark Sinatra, First3Years Board President.

First3Years began in 1980 when early childhood professionals banded together to learn, share and connect in their goal to better serve their young clients. Recognizing that systemic change can multiply education efforts, First3Years in recent years has incubated promising approaches that are highly-collaborative and go beyond single-agency programs, like Safe Babies.

First3Years educates, advocates, and collaborates to advance the healthy development of infants and toddlers.  We have trained and mentored thousands of professionals across the state on brain development, attachment, separation, trauma, self-regulation, cross-cultural awareness, and other infant mental health related issues. We know that supporting the social emotional development of infants and toddlers is critical for helping the next generation be healthy, productive members of society.  In 2016, the organization reached 2,396 professionals and 112,000 young children across the state of Texas through its signature education and professional development programs; and community programs supporting young children in foster care, child welfare, and at-risk teen dads.

About United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas brings people together to improve lives and create lasting change here in North Texas by focusing on education, income, and health – the building blocks for strong families and thriving communities. We galvanize and connect all sectors of society – individuals, businesses, non-profits, and government – to create long-term change through investing in solutions that produce healthy, well-educated and financially stable individuals and families. We raise, invest and leverage over $50M annually in community-focused solutions serving Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties. We do more than help one person beat the odds – we are changing the odds for entire communities. Together, we UNITE FOREVER. To learn more, please visit UnitedWayDallas.org.