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Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Enhances Early Childhood Education and Comprehensive Services

Early childhood is a critical period for a child's brain development, with approximately 90% occurring within the first five years of life. The environments and experiences during these years significantly influence a child's overall growth and future success.

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, a prominent leader of the Children First Changemaker Collective, has made two generous donations totaling $140,000.

The first gift of $50,000 will be directed towards Children First’s $600,000 Changemaker Collective challenge match. The second gift of $90,000 will be allocated to create a vital new position – the Early Childhood Education Nurse. Both contributions are aimed at enhancing the agency’s comprehensive services and will empower families with the necessary skills, resources, and tools to cultivate a healthy lifestyle for their children.

Children First, a four-time designated Head Start Program of Excellence, plays a crucial role in the lives of hundreds of children, from birth to five years, and their families who are living at or below the Federal Poverty Level ($24,860 for a family of three). The agency provides comprehensive services at multiple locations across Sarasota, Venice, and North Port.

“The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation is dedicated to improving the opportunities and quality of life for children and their families,” says William Villafranco, co-trustee. “This collaboration not only leverages our resources but also enhances the well-being of those most in need.”

"There is a crucial link between support for early childhood education and overall community well-being,” says CEO Philip Tavill. “Investing at the forefront of a child’s life shapes a brighter future for all, extending well beyond their formative years. Thank you to the Toulmin Foundation for your unwavering support of our community’s most vulnerable.”

About Children First:

Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families. Through Children First, the children receive the social and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. For more information, call (941) 953-3877 or go to


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Media Contact : Evan Ackerman

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