Our Racial Equity Journey & Commitment

At Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce), we are committed to cultivating an environment built on the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

At all levels of the organization, we endeavor to foster a workplace that honors diversity, examines and addresses privilege, actively works to dismantle structural and institutional racism, and embeds racial equity in our decision making and internal and external processes. We commit to co-creating an organizational culture of inclusion where the presence, voices and ideas of staff and the communities we serve are represented, heard, valued and acted upon.

Decades of institutional racism and long-tolerated inequities – among them a lack of economic opportunity, over-policing and police brutality, inaccessible healthcare, housing instability, and environmental inequities – are a direct threat to the children and families we are in service with.

Our work focused on providing a bright and just future for all children would not be possible without recognizing that each child and family has been uniquely impacted and traumatized by generations of long-tolerated inequities. Many families, especially those living in communities left under-resourced by decades of historical and institutional racism, lack access to the quality early learning and care that helps level the playing field and closes the opportunity gap.

For nearly 40 years we have been dedicated to creating a future where all children and families can thrive and prosper. Start Early is uncompromising in our pursuit of excellence and remain steadfast in our commitment to dismantling the unjust practices and policies that are harmful to children and families of color.

Start Early commits to strengthening and deepening its journey towards becoming an anti-racist organization that works in true partnership with communities to ensure equitable access to high-quality early childhood experiences.

corner square square circle corner pie circle square

Mother and father kissing child on cheekWe aim to approach this critical work listening with humility and in authentic partnership with families. As an organization, our deep expertise in program, policy and research well-position us to lead change in multiple aspects of our field and identify and dismantle racist practices and ideas – with a focus on rebuilding better, more equitable systems that level the playing field so all children, families and educators can thrive.

What is Start Early Doing to Advance Racial Equity?

Advancing Racial Equity Taskforce

Formalized work to advance racial equity at Start Early began in the summer of 2017. To ensure the advancement of racial equity at Start Early, a group of passionate staff came together to form the Advancing Racial Equity (ARE). Task Force. The task force is dedicated to identifying opportunities to advance racial equity, both internally and externally. Led by the A.R.E. Taskforce, Start Early works to enhance its understanding and promote the advancement of racial equity throughout the organization – focusing on three levels of change: personal, interpersonal, and institutional—addressing the technical and relational aspects of our work.

StriveTogether Equitable Recovery Pledge

Start Early is a proud participant of StriveTogether’s Equitable Recovery Pledge. Alongside organizations from across the country, we are committed to supporting the development of more just and equitable systems and structures as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we have dedicated ourselves to PolicyLink’s Principles for Common-Sense, Street-Smart Recovery and pledge to:

  • LISTEN to and work with the youth, families and community residents – those most affected by inequities in our recovery response – to support the development of equitable, healthy and resilient communities.
  • NAME the systemic factors that produce racial inequities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19, and use data — disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender and geography — and storytelling to influence system leaders to address inequities and act.
  • CATALYZE and mobilize cross-sector partners to shift resources, policies, relationships and power structures; implement targeted strategies to align resources to youth, families and people of color; and advance equitable outcomes at scale.
  • SHIFT POWER to increase the participation and leadership of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and people of color in the long-term work of recovery and resiliency.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive news, helpful tools and learn about how you can help our youngest learners.





corner square pie shape-grid