How We Work
Collaboration Advances the Field
Perigee Fund’s work is grounded in our belief in the power of relationships to create change. Because every organization and endeavor is unique, we make investments by working closely with individuals, organizations, and communities to build on their strengths, address their challenges, and create new connections. One of our priorities is the long-term sustainability and success of the field, so we invest in field capacity and in nurturing and growing the next generation of leaders. We also care deeply about Washington state, where we make investments in statewide and regional ecosystems — and in partners and projects — working to tailor services to meet the needs of diverse families and communities.
We are deeply grateful to the families and care providers across Washington state who shared their lives with us through the photos on this website. You inspire and inform our work. Thank you!
Sustaining and growing community-based parent supports
Parenting and caregiving are deeply rooted in culture and trusting relationships. Perigee Fund believes it is critical to develop and grow models of parent supports that are designed, led, and owned by the community. By funding organizations and initiatives such as Open Arms Perinatal Services and the Ttáwaxt Collaborative, we hope to strengthen innovative and culturally-specific services. We are proud to collaborate with the Yakima Valley Community Foundation and King County’s Best Starts for Kids — local funders and initiatives rooted in the strengths and needs of their communities with a strong equity focus.
Building capacity in perinatal mental health systems
1 in 7 women and up to 50% of low-income mothers and mothers of color will experience a perinatal mood and/or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or after childbirth. Yet only 20% of those struggling ask for help and even fewer receive appropriate care. Perigee is funding work led by Perinatal Support Washington and the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry And Behavioral Sciences to grow and connect community and health system resources to support parents in the perinatal period, including an effort to build a network of perinatal mental health providers across Washington state. The work includes:
- Expanding the Parent Warm Line, so that parents can find the support they need
- Strengthening the network behind the Partnership Access Line for Moms by identifying perinatal mental health providers across Washington state and connecting providers with the larger health system
- Delivering new trainings for perinatal mental health providers across the state
Understanding the needs of families and mental health providers
Perigee Fund is collaborating with King County’s Best Starts for Kids Initiative, the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the Washington Association for Infant Mental Health, SOAR, and School Readiness Consulting to examine the current state of infant, early childhood, and family mental health services in Washington state. The work will deepen our understanding of how children and families access and experience services, and what providers experience in offering those services and supports. The effort began in 2018 and learnings will be publicly shared in 2020.
Supporting a national network of leading practitioners
The Irving Harris Foundation has been working to advance the field of infant and early childhood mental health for over 30 years. One of the Foundation’s signature investments is the creation and growth of the Harris Professional Development Network, composed of leading professionals from eighteen multi-disciplinary programs in the field. These leaders have created new models of working with young children and families, changed local and national policies, trained a growing workforce, and integrated infant mental health principles into many family- and child-serving disciplines. Perigee Fund partners with the Irving Harris Foundation to support this powerful network in advancing its goals.
Advocating for babies
Perigee Fund supports the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and its partners to bring nationwide attention to what babies and families need to thrive and to advance policy solutions that promote good health, strong families, and positive early experiences. One of their signature efforts is the Think BabiesTM Campaign, which informs policy makers and builds political will for four critical infant-toddler policy priorities:
- quality, affordable child care
- time for parents to bond with their babies
- healthy emotional development
- strong physical health and nutrition
Perigee also supports ZERO TO THREE’s work to advance policies in support of infant and early childhood mental health at the state and federal level.
Studying the impact of income on early childhood outcomes
The Baby’s First Years Project will test whether reducing poverty and increasing family economic resources can improve the lives of economically vulnerable children and families, leading to better developmental and health outcomes. Researchers are engaging 1,000 low-income mothers and their newborns in four U.S. cities, and providing monthly unconditional cash gifts. The research team will conduct baseline interviews with each family, then follow up with families at one, two, and three years of age to understand the well-being of both mother and infant. Perigee Fund is supporting the 12-month visit where the project team will collect data on:
- Parent-child interactions
- Children’s language and social-emotional development
- Brain functioning
- Stress physiology
This study is a landmark effort with the potential to significantly change our understanding of how to better support young families.
I believe that if you want to fight inequality you have to do it starting at infancy.
Michelle Bachelet, MD
United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Former President of Chile
Thank you for your interest in partnering with the Perigee Fund.
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