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Stories of Nonprofit Impact: Early Investments Yield Long-Term Gains

by Molly O'Connell

100% of maine people benefit from the work of nonprofitsMANP recently release the 3rd edition of Partners in Prosperity: The Maine Nonprofit Sector Impact, which showcases the powerful social and economic impact of nonprofits in our state. We will be featuring stories from the report here on our blog in the coming months, and encourage nonprofits, public officials, and community members to download and read the full report for free.

Our first featured story of nonprofit impact comes from Child & Family Opportunities, whose mission is to provide high quality, comprehensive early childhood services.

Partners in Prosperity Case Study: Early Investments Yield Dramatic Long-Term Gains

The Impact

The long term benefit of quality early childhood care is dramatic. The rate of return for starting early is greater than initiating the investment at any other stage of life. Child and Family Opportunities (CFO) provides quality early childhood education and forms partnerships with families to help them problem-solve and access available resources. CFO’s Ready by 21 program pulls together resources from schools and many other organizations and funding sources to help children reach adulthood with the education, training, and personal skills needed to be healthy, successful adults.

The Story Behind the Impact

As a grantee for federal funding for quality early childhood education, as well as a recipient of local grants and some state and private funding, Child and Family Opportunities provides quality early childhood education programs to over 350 children per year in Hancock and Washington Counties, through 11 child care centers in 10 towns. In the 2010-2011 program year the organization served 442 children, 76% coming from families living at or below the poverty level or who otherwise qualified for assistance through State or private subsidy. Every dollar spent on these programs provides an immediate return in spending through salaries paid, purchase of goods and services, and by providing parents with the ability to work or attend school to increase earnings. The long-term return for every dollar spent is estimated to be as high as $16 by the time a child reaches the age of 40. The returns come in the form of higher earnings, better health, lower crime rates, and less use of public programs such as welfare.


  • Making Maine Work: Investments in Young Children = Real Economic Development, January 2012, a joint publication of the Maine Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Development Foundation
  • Interview with Doug Orville, CFO Executive Director, Child and Family Opportunities, conducted by DeAnn Lewis, 9/25/12
  • Interview with Rachel Nobel, Administrative Support and Development Manager, Child and Family Opportunities, conducted by DeAnn Lewis, 10/24/12.

For more information about this story or topic, contact Child & Family Opportunities.

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