RICHMOND — Smart Beginnings Southeast, a local school readiness initiative, sent a team of early childhood education stakeholders and community leaders from the Southeast region (cities of Petersburg, Hopewell, Emporia, and counties of Prince George, Sussex, Surry, Greensville, Dinwiddie) to the first-ever Virginia Early Childhood Integrated Financing Symposium on June 14-15 in Richmond. The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) convened the meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The event drew about 80 people from several areas of the Commonwealth, along with several state leaders in Governor Northam’s administration.

Participants heard from and collaborated with nationally-recognized early childhood experts who provided insights on the federal and state funding streams that support young children and their families.

"Implementing more entrepreneurial financing strategies and increasing savvy at both the state and community levels could benefit children and families with more equitable, efficient, transparent and responsible access to services they need in order to thrive,” said Kathy Glazer, president of VECF.