It’s not just about building schools. It’s also about changing policy, raising funds and speaking on behalf of others.

We think differently about the intersection of learning and life. And we work hand-in-hand with others who believe in the power of education-centric communities.

BuildStrong Education works in partnership with other organizations and individuals across the state. We work together to leverage funding, advocate for policy change, convene stakeholders and connect partners so that we can create the most impact for the most kids and families in the most communities. We recognize that we are not experts in education reform, rather we are connectors, facilitators, catalysts and a trusted resource. We bring together the best and brightest to work together for families across Colorado.

Local community change happens best in the context of good policy. That means we often collaborate and advocate at the State level:

Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC)
EPIC works to harness the business community across Colorado to advocate for greater
investments for young children. EPIC Executive Members are comprised of top business leaders from around Colorado. They are committed to elevating the importance of early childhood in all sectors and work to create sustainable change through their networks.

Pat Hamill is a founding EPIC member and Amy Schwartz has been a managing board member since 2010.

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Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge
When Colorado had the opportunity to apply to the US Department of Education’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, BuildStrong Education partnered with other local funders to support the development and help write the complex federal grant application. In January 2013, Colorado was awarded $44,888,832 to help build statewide systems that raise the quality of early learning and development programs and increase access to high-quality programs for children with high needs, so that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

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Pay for Success
Pay for Success financing is an approach used by policymakers to invest in interventions that generate fiscal savings by achieving improved social outcomes. In a PFS contract, philanthropic or private investors provide the initial funding for a promising intervention that could save public dollars if implemented. Only if the intervention program reaches a
threshold of success within the contractual period are initial investors paid back.

During the spring 2015 legislative session, Pat Hamill personally supported the development of legislation that paved the way for the State to be able to fully realize this innovative funding strategy.  In February 2016, Colorado’s first Social Impact Bond deal of $8.6 million was finalized. This project is now providing housing and services for 250 homeless adults who have been on the streets a very long time struggling with mental health and substance abuse challenges. In addition to helping folks most in need, this new financing approach brings new  sources of money to support some of the most effective programs that generate the best  results. We hope the model will be replicated broadly into other social programs including early childhood education.


80% of brain development happens before the age of 3.

They helped the Early Childhood Leadership Commission produce a winning grant application for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Fund. That grant significantly changed the early learning landscape in Colorado.
– Jennifer Stedron, Executive Director, Early Milestones Colorado