Vanguard donates $360,000 to help fund Healthy Families and Reach Out and Read

Southwest Human Development has received significant new backing for two of its critical early childhood programs for Arizona children and their families.

The Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program™ has awarded Southwest Human Development a $210,000 grant to ensure that at-risk families with newborns or those who are expecting and face the greatest challenges receive the support they need to get their children off to a great start in life through the nonprofit’s Healthy Families program.

The program has also awarded Southwest Human Development $150,000 to support its Reach Out and Read program, which promotes early literacy in pediatric offices by using books as a developmental tool during well-child visits and “prescribing” families to read aloud together.

The Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program is dedicated to helping provide young children the opportunity to grow, thrive and learn in communities near each of Vanguard’s major U.S. sites. The initiative is funded through a combination of Vanguard corporate gifts and Vanguard Arizona employee gifts from the company’s annual giving campaign.

Vanguard’s support of the two programs will help thousands of Arizona families ensure a more positive future for children ages 0 to 5 years old.

“These grants will help us greatly expand these two critical programs serving Arizona families,” said Ginger Ward, chief executive officer of Southwest Human Development. “The impact the Healthy Families program has on families with newborns is significant. And, Vanguard’s support of our literacy efforts through the Reach Out and Read program will better position thousands of children for success when they enter kindergarten.”

Healthy Families is a national evidence-based home visiting program that helps pregnant women, expectant families and families of newborns meet the challenges of parenting. Healthy Families is a statewide child abuse prevention program that Southwest Human Development has been operating in Maricopa County since 1993, serving more than 2,800 children and their families each year.

Reach Out and Read is a national evidence-based program that promotes early literacy in pediatric offices. Since 1998, Southwest Human Development has been operating the program, and today, the program partners with 75 pediatric clinics in Maricopa County, serving nearly 83,000 children and their families. Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Reach Out and Read incorporates early literacy into pediatric practice, equipping parents with tools and knowledge to ensure that their children are prepared to learn when they start school.

“These two programs—and the proven results they produce—are exceptional examples of our mission to help children and families in the communities where we operate,” said Carra Cote-Ackah, executive director of community stewardship with Vanguard. “We are proud to partner with Southwest Human Development and look forward to seeing the tremendous impact these programs have on the community.”