Perigee Fund partners with organizations whose initiatives support the infant-caregiver relationship and increase the capacity for all families to experience healthy, joyful connections. We focus our funding and resources on two key areas – Mental Health and Family Supports for Well-Being – particularly initiatives that center communities of color.
We are driven by the fact that the most influential period of brain development is between the prenatal period until about three years of age. While early childhood health and well-being are critically linked to success later in life, this knowledge has not translated to systems-level practice; investments in this area are underfunded at all levels.
Compelled by the urgent need to deepen supports in the earliest stage of life, Perigee Fund has committed significant resources over the next two decades to advance knowledge and practice, increase advocacy, build partnerships, and align systems to ensure that babies, toddlers, and their parents thrive.
Our deepest work is in Washington state, but we also seek to build field capacity, advance policy, and forge aligned partnerships nationally.
Working to Advance Equity
We believe starting early advances equity because babies embody where our inequitable past and more hopeful future come together. We recognize that families furthest from equity are affected by racial, economic, and gender injustice. We commit to using our philanthropic resources to disrupt intergenerational trauma with intersectional approaches that equitably support families.
Read about Perigee Fund’s Equity North Star.
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
Perigee Fund was founded in 2018 by Lisa Mennet, PhD, a psychologist and leader in the field of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). As a philanthropist, she observed a need and opportunity for philanthropic focus on the social emotional development of the youngest children, particularly when affected by adversity, and to boldly include primary caregivers in the early childhood equation. Perigee Fund was born because babies can’t wait.
“We hold in mind the baby and the mother, and their need to be wrapped in healthy families, robust communities, and systems and policies that protect rather than threaten their unfolding relationship,”
Lisa Mennet, Ph.D., Perigee Founder.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
1. Change happens through relationships.
Just as early relationships shape the developing brain, attuned and responsive relationships are the means by which positive change happens at all levels of child- and family-serving systems.
2. Support for individuals is transformative.
Empowering each person serving children and families and enriching their practice with an understanding of infant and early childhood mental health principles leads to better relationships, services, and policies.
3. Support for families is essential.
A two-generation approach to supporting infants and toddlers will address family stressors and enhance parents’ capacity.
4. Every family is unique.
Services for families are most effective when they respond to each family uniquely, affirming and building on their assets and resilience.
5. Focusing early advances equity.
Ensuring that public and private systems adequately and equitably serve our youngest children and their families narrows the development and health gaps correlated with race, ethnicity, income, and geography.
Attachment to a baby is a long-term process, not a single, magical moment. The opportunity for bonding at birth may be compared to falling in love – staying in love takes longer and demands more work.T. Berry Brazelton
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