The Boston Basics Campaign is inspired by the fact that 80% of brain development happens in the first three years of life. During this period, skill gaps between socio-economic, racial, and ethnic groups become clearly apparent. This does not need to be! Everyday interactions between children, their parents, and other caregivers provide abundant opportunities to give children from every background a more equal start in life.
The Boston Basics are five evidence-based parenting and caregiving principles that encompass much of what experts find is important for children from birth to age three. Every child from every background can benefit from routinely experiencing Boston Basics learning experiences. Therefore, the Boston Basics Initiative is working through a broad range of institutions to ensure that every parent and caregiver is fully supported by family and friends to use the Boston Basics practices in everyday life.
The Boston Basics Initiative has five founding organizations, each with a distinctive role, but which collaborate as a team on the Campaign’s goals and objectives, program design, delivery strategies, and operational issues. Trustees of the Black Philanthropy Fund (BPF)—a leadership and philanthropic organization of senior African Americans—have invested personal time and financial resources to organize, launch, and lead the Campaign. The Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University developed the content and remains deeply engaged with the BPF in implementation, documentation, and evaluation. The Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center is developing additional media material with a special focus on critical moments in parent-child interaction and linked specifically to the original AGI content. The Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, and the City’s Education Chief oversee participation by City departments, making this a genuine public- private partnership. WGBH Public Broadcasting has led video production, with funding from the BPF and content from the AGI. See below for additional detail on each founding organization.
The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University
The Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University is a university-wide effort based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Malcom Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. The AGI is focused on scholarship, public education, and outreach activities to support governmental, civic, and private sector mechanisms aimed at raising achievement levels for all children while closing gaps between racial, ethnic, and income groups.
Black Philanthropy Fund
The mission of the Black Philanthropy Fund (BPF) is to carry on and enhance a tradition of African- American philanthropy in Boston. The focus to increase the magnitude and effectiveness of giving from and to the black community. The BPF strives to link black people of means, influence and skills with community organizations in ways that enhance the collective impact on the lives of children. This is done by:
• Investing African American financial assets, social capital, and influence in effective organizations, direct community action, emerging leadership, and strategies to reduce income inequality;
• Leveraging BPF leadership status as involved, contributing African-Americans to influence the broader philanthropic community toward more effective support of educational, social, economic and political initiatives that show promise of positive impact; and
• Promoting effective approaches to measure impact, identify best practices, and offer deserved recognition of all who accept the responsibility to generate positive change.
The BPF works in partnership, collaboratively and respectfully, with individuals and organizations whose similar missions and integrity are helping them achieve positive impact. The driving impulse is service to the people and communities with whom the BPF most strongly identifies. The Black Philanthropy Fund is a not-for-profit corporation organized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its Board of Trustees is elected annually and each member commits to both financial investment and active engagement in the strategic and fiduciary responsibilities of the Board.
Boston Mayor’s Education Cabinet
The Mayor's Education Cabinet is a networking and innovation center. The Cabinet connects leaders and stakeholders across Boston's education ecosystem to support life-long learning in schools and beyond. The Cabinet plays a central role in helping to align the work of City agencies with the Boston Basics Initiative.
Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center
Boston Medical Center (BMC) is the hospital affiliate of the Boston University School of Medicine. For over 150 years, the Department of Pediatrics has served Boston's children regardless of race or ability to pay. Having removed barriers to basic health care, the Department has developed innovative programs beyond traditional healthcare to promote child health and development. These include Reach Out and Read, Medical Legal Partnership, Health Leads, Healthy Steps, Witness to Violence, the therapeutic food pantry, and many others. These special programs have been adopted by many pediatric programs across the U.S.
WGBH Public Broacasting
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. Productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio through Public Radio International and The World, a leader in educational multimedia including PBS LearningMedia™, and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars.