Pritzker, Goldman Sachs Announce $20 Million First Phase of Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator Initiative

Novel Social Impact Investments to Debut at CGI America Conference in Chicago

CHICAGO--()--At President Clinton's CGI America Conference in Chicago today, investor J.B. Pritzker announced commitments for $20 million as the first phase of an Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator (the “Accelerator”) to increase the availability and quality of early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children.

Pritzker also announced the Accelerator's first three investments. The first is a co-investment with Goldman Sachs through a partnership with the United Way of Salt Lake that will, in its initial phase starting September 2013, provide preschool for 450 disadvantaged children who would otherwise be wait listed because of limited government resources. Services will be provided at no upfront costs to taxpayers, with investor returns determined by student achievement. This program is expected to be scaled to serve more disadvantaged children in the future.

“Access to early education gives children a foundation they will build upon throughout their education and beyond,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. “Through this innovative financing, we are pleased to partner with J.B. Pritzker and the United Way of Salt Lake to provide the opportunity to thousands of children who otherwise may not have been able to attend preschool.”

The Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator seeks to improve the lives of children from birth to age five by breaking down barriers to increased state and federal support for high-quality early learning programs. In addition, the Accelerator seeks to stimulate innovation and unlock greater private investment for efforts aimed at disadvantaged infants, toddlers and their families.

The Accelerator, seeded by The Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, to date has raised $20 million from investors including other private foundations and co investors including Goldman Sachs. Its purpose is to rapidly increase the availability of high-quality early childhood learning opportunities, while building measurable successes backed by evidence, accountability and results.

“Investing early and intelligently in the development of infants, toddlers and preschoolers significantly improves educational outcomes. Early learning reduces social and economic inequality and builds a better workforce and a stronger nation,” said J.B. Pritzker, president of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.

Deborah Bayle, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake, added, “We are committed to solving our community’s most complex social problems. Without high quality, early education opportunities, it will not be possible to achieve our State’s goals of 90 percent proficiency in core subjects, 90 percent high school graduation, and 66 percent of Utahns with a post-secondary education. That is why United Way of Salt Lake is proud to be part of this groundbreaking financing model.”

Under this novel public-private partnership, philanthropists and investors finance innovations which can then be scaled up to provide more children with higher-quality early childhood programs. Research consistently shows such programs result in superior long-term education, health, social and economic outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged children and their families. In cases like the Utah social impact bond, special education costs are reduced through high-quality early learning programs.

Initially the ECIA will make three investments:

  • Alongside Goldman Sachs’ $4.6 million commitment, and in partnership with the United Way of Salt Lake, the Accelerator will commit $2.4 million towards the Early Childhood Education Social Impact loan. In the first year, 450 children will come off the wait list and be placed into high-quality Pre-K in Salt Lake’s Granite School District. Without private capital from the Accelerator and other investors, these disadvantaged three-and four-year old children would not receive early learning services.

    This loan and the program services will be administered by the United Way of Salt Lake. The investment was chosen because Utah studies conducted since 2006 by Utah Voices for Children found similar interventions resulted in substantial direct cost-savings.
  • Venture investment in Acelero Learning, a nationally recognized operator of outperforming Head Start and Early Head Start programs, which will use the Accelerator’s investment to scale its data-driven methodology for driving improved outcomes for low-income children.
  • Direct grant for the City of Chicago’s comprehensive early childhood education web portal ( This interactive bilingual tool serves as a one-stop-shop for parents to find local high-quality pre-K programs and get information on their quality.

The concept of creating an Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator was initially announced at last year’s CGI America. Imprint Capital Advisors was then engaged by Pritzker to develop and build-out the Accelerator prototype for these social investments.

Working in tandem with an investment committee, the Accelerator will also be guided by an advisory panel headed by national and international early childhood expert Dr. Joan Lombardi, who will lead a team of professionals evaluating the extent to which prospective investments will favorably impact the early learning field.

About J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation

The J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation has as one of its primary focus areas the enhancement of early learning capabilities of infants and toddlers, with a special focus on at-risk children and their families. The Foundation is a private family foundation deeply committed to the pursuit of social justice and to shaping innovative and effective strategies for solving society’s most challenging problems. Among the initiatives supported by the foundation are the Pritzker Consortium on Early Childhood Development, a research collaborative led by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman of the University of Chicago; the First Five Years Fund, a national early childhood advocacy project; and the Ounce of Prevention Fund, one of the nation’s leading providers of programs, research and policy focused on helping at-risk infants and toddlers and their families.

About the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group

Established in 2001, the Urban Investment Group deploys the firm's capital by making investments and loans that benefit urban communities. Through its comprehensive community development platform, UIG is a catalyst in the revitalization of underserved neighborhoods and the creation of economic opportunities for disadvantaged families. UIG has committed more than $2.8 billion, facilitating the development of 13,200 units of housing, dozens of community facilities, vital retail and commercial space as well as generating thousands of jobs.”

About the United Way of Salt Lake

United Way of Salt Lake is working to advance the education, income, and health of our neighborhoods and communities to ensure that every child succeeds, every step of the way, from cradle to career. We invite everyone to be a part of the change. You can give, you can advocate, and you can volunteer. That's what it means to LIVE UNITED. Join the conversation by visiting our blog at, or find out more at


Aileron Communications
Sheridan Chaney, 312-629-9400
Dave Lundy, 312-953-1122

Release Summary

J.B. Pritzker announced a $20 million Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator. It will invest with Goldman Sachs to provide preschool for 450 Utah children who would otherwise be wait listed.


Aileron Communications
Sheridan Chaney, 312-629-9400
Dave Lundy, 312-953-1122