New in September from Gift Connect: Program Updates, Vroom Partnership, and more.

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." - Plutarch. Start Kindling. Image of mother and daughter touching each other's noses.

GIFT CONNECT is officially a Vroom partner!

Vroom is a free app with science-based tips and tools to help parents and caregivers give children a great start in life today – and an even better future. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with an organization that so closely aligns with us.


On June 30 and July 1, GIFT CONNECT Founder and President Sam Beard attended the 2023 National N.O.W. (National Organization for Women) Conference, seeking mothers‘ support for Birth to Three advocacy. He presented this to the N.O.W. co-founder, Ellie Smeal (pictured below), and more than 50 other local and state leaders.

Sam has a long history of supporting women’s issues, beginning in 1974 when Betty Friedan, the founder of N.O.W., asked Sam to help create “The First Women’s Bank” in New York City. He led raising the capital.

For 50 years, through his nonprofit National Development Council, Sam’s efforts have played a major role in empowering and supporting women-owned businesses.

Pictured here at St. Michael’s are Lucinda Ross and Ajit Mathew George, GIFT CONNECT’s Lead Consultant in Delaware.

St. Michael’s School and Nursery – Delaware

GIFT CONNECT is working closely with Lucinda Ross, M.Ed., Executive Director, St. Michaels’ School and Nursery in downtown Wilmington, DE, to kick off a pilot program in early October 2023 focused on caregivers of children between the ages of zero to three.

Founded in 1890, St. Michael’s School and Nursery is Delaware’s oldest early childhood program and one of the oldest in the nation.

Children’s Academy – Utah

Earlier this year, Sam was the keynote speaker at the Park City Economic Summit in Utah. During the visit, the GC team met with multiple early childhood business and diversity leaders, learning and exploring ways to build collaboration around the importance of Birth to 3. Since then, we’ve collaborated with the Children’s Academy in Sandy, Utah.

The academy is owned and operated by Lynn Curtis, pictured here with Global Director Brett Lechtenberg, and is one of Utah’s premier childcare facilities.

“Under the proven and visionary leadership of Sam Beard, GIFT CONNECT is helping to transform the way the world understands the critical developmental importance of the first three years. The early childhood field is strengthened by GIFT CONNECT’s contributions, and I am grateful for Sam’s friendship and collaborative spirit. It’s an honor to be in this work together. Service is inside all of us. The human spirit believes in helping others.”

– Dana Suskind, MD, Founder and Co-Director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health

Celebrating Nancy Leonard

The GIFT CONNECT team met last month for our quarterly all-hands meeting, where we had the opportunity to celebrate Nancy Leonard. Through her decades of service, she has helped our Founder and President Sam Beard and GIFT CONNECT succeed. 

Making a Real Impact

GIFT CONNECT’s Global Program continues to reach parents and caregivers throughout Kenya with the help of our Ambassador, Stellar Mengele. In addition to our large Church Champions events, we also do community events in small villages. We educate mothers and caregivers on our six Loving Habits – speak, sing, read, play, count, and serve & return.

The pictures above are from the latest GIFT CONNECT event. In order to continue amplifying the importance of Birth to Three development, we need your support. Help us continue to reach more and more parents and caregivers to improve the lives of children everywhere.


CONNECT Conversations with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Learn why Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is so passionate about early childhood development before age 5.

GIFT CONNECT’s Opportunity to Attend Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project International

In June, our team was honored to be able to go to New York City to attend Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project convention. This organization pairs parents and caregivers with artists to create lullabies for their children. Together, we share a mission to use music to foster early childhood development. 

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We are dedicated to promoting awareness, advocacy, and action around the importance of early childhood development and education, and to working collaboratively toward a future in which all children have the opportunity to thrive.