A Community Backbone Organization

Since 1993, the Fox Valley community has upheld a steadfast commitment to early childhood efforts. Over the years, this commitment has grown and evolved, driven by a deep understanding of the evolving needs of our community.

As First 5 Fox Valley transitioned into an independent non-profit, the Board of Directors carefully reexamined our mission, vision, and purpose. We recognized the need to strategically support early childhood initiatives in the Fox Valley region, adopting the collective impact model. This approach allows us to function as a backbone organization, aligning our efforts with the six core components of successful backbone organizations.

  • Guide Vision and Strategy Convene and coordinate across sectors in defining and pursuing community Early Childhood vision and strategy
  • Support Aligned Activities Facilitate centralized access to early childhood services for parents and families
  • Establish Shared Measurement Practices Coordinate collection of data and establish metrics for evaluation & improvement
  • Cultivate Community Engagement and Ownership Increase awareness and support of Early Childhood sector throughout the Fox Valley community
  • Advance Policy Inform and influence state and local policy makers to support Early Childhood services for families
  • Mobilize Resources Develop resources for initiative sustainability including funding and volunteers for First 5 Fox Valley

Our Story

The Fox Valley community has a long-standing commitment to early childhood efforts dating back to 1993. The journey was initiated with the establishment of the Healthy Infant Child Alliance and the opening of a Family Resource Center in 2006. This dedication led to the formation of the Home Visiting Consortium in 2010, where various agencies joined forces to address the issue of children falling through the gaps in the system. By 2012, this consortium evolved into the Fox Valley Early Childhood Coalition (FVECC).

Under the umbrella of FVECC, several initiatives were launched to support parents and children. A Parent Outlet website was created with frequently asked questions, a home visiting matrix to assist with resource navigation, and distributed physician toolkits containing developmental screening tools. However, in 2011, the Family Resource Center closed due to changes in lease options and funding. This setback prompted stakeholders to seek a permanent location early childhood organizations to collaborate.

In 2014, a significant step was taken as First 5 Fox Valley (F5FV, formerly the FVECC) and community members launched the Community Early Learning Center (CELC), which now hosts four different programs. This marked the beginning of a period of strategic thinking among early childhood partner agencies. In 2018, faced with the challenge of achieving broader community impact, the coalition recognized the need for structural changes to create a more aligned early childhood support system with cross-sector community engagement and accountability. This realization led to the launch of Help Me Grow, which proved to be successful. F5FV subsequently expanded its reach to provide technical consultation to Help Me Grow affiliates in Kenosha and Brown counties, collaborating with the Medical College of Wisconsin and ThedaCare to extend Help Me Grow to surrounding rural counties.

Furthermore, First 5 Fox Valley (F5FV) has integrated itself into the newly established Greater Fox Valley Child Care Alliance, a group of community leaders focused on comprehending the complexities surrounding child care for local parents. Simultaneously, they are actively involved in co-creating a new initiative with New Mental Health Connections, examining solutions for maternal mental health and its impact on young children. Throughout their endeavors, F5FV consistently prioritizes the question of how each initiative will contribute to better outcomes for children.

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at a glance

Early Years

  • Healthy Infant Child Alliance
  • Home Visiting Consortium
  • Family Reource Center

Growing Years

  • Fox Valley Early Childhood Coalition
  • Launch of Community Early Learning Center (CELC)
  • Race to the Top Grant
  • Chat Plunge

Strategic Years

  • EC Visioning Summit
  • State of the Child Report
  • Community Funding of Projects
  • Launch of First 5 Fox Valley

Collective Impact Years

  • Help Me Grow Fox Valley
  • Welcome Baby
  • Developmental Screening Project
  • ASQ Enterprise System
  • Launch of First 5 Fox Valley Website
  • Hiring of Executive Director
  • Awarded 5010c3 Non-Profit Status

Expansion Years

2024 & Forward
  • Help Me Grow – Wisconsin
  • Imagine Fox Cities
  • Regional Child Care Alliance
  • Membership Growth
  • Community Navigators Expansion
  • Impact Data on Strong and Healthy Children
  • Community Leadersip on Equitable Access to Resources by ALL Families