Aug 24, 2021 Press Release

Robin Hood Announces $10M FUEL for 50 Initiative to Support Early Childhood Development Through Parents & Caregivers

Open call for applications to award $25,000 to 50 community organizations supporting parents & caregivers of children ages 0-3.

NEW YORK, NY – Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, today announced FUEL for 50, a new initiative to support parents and caregivers of New York City children ages three-and-under. From an open call for applications, Robin Hood will award 50 nonprofits supporting parents and caregivers with $25,000 in unrestricted funding, access to workshops and support, and opportunities for up to $1 million in future funding.

Nearly a quarter of New York City children ages three-and-under live in poverty. This early developmental stage is the most critical to a child’s lifelong learning and outcomes. By recognizing and elevating organizations that support adult caregivers, FUEL for 50 aims to strengthen early learning in every borough of New York City and to demonstrate the relevance of this work for organizations beyond the field of child development.

“Parents and caregivers are children’s first teachers, building the most important skills for their lifelong learning and success. Thousands of New York City families take on the hard work of parenting without access to basic services, housing, food, or income — challenges made worse by systemic inequities and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Kelvin Chan, Managing Director of Early Childhood at Robin Hood. “Health and nutrition providers, organizers, immigrant advocates, faith communities, mutual aid networks, and more have filled gaps in vital services for our City’s most vulnerable families throughout the pandemic. As we rebuild a (new) New York, FUEL for 50 seeks to celebrate and strengthen all of the different types of organizations helping families living in poverty get back on their feet.”

Robin Hood’s Fund for Early Learning (FUEL) launched in 2016 with a mandate to help transform New York City into an “early learning metropolis” by focusing on children three-and-under living below the poverty line. To date, FUEL has partnered with New York City agencies that support young children, advanced new research, and committed $50 million in investments to partner organizations.

“We are proud to support the FUEL for 50 initiative to celebrate the community-centric programs providing critical services to New York City parents and caregivers,” said Jackie Bezos, President of the Bezos Family Foundation. “If we want a New York City that offers every child a strong start, we must begin early and take a holistic approach that helps children and families reach their full potential.”

“Since 2016, FUEL has been committed to supporting New York City children from birth to age three, helping ensure they have the necessary foundations for future success,” said John Overdeck, a Robin Hood board member and founding member of FUEL. “By funding 50 organizations in all five boroughs who know their communities best, this new initiative will directly support the city’s most in-need parents and caregivers, positively impacting the immediate and long-term economic mobility of our youngest children at the time they need it most.”

With a simple, open application process, FUEL for 50 encourages community programs and organizations — especially those who may have never previously applied for support from Robin Hood — to apply. Award winners will be announced in March 2022. Along with unrestricted funding, the 50 awardee organizations will be invited to participate in a series of optional workshops with experts in child development and nonprofit management. In November 2022, FUEL will award up to 10 of the selected organizations to receive $250,000 in additional funding to test the efficacy of their programs, and in 2023 up to three awardees will receive an additional $1 million to scale their efforts.

In designing FUEL for 50, Robin Hood consulted with community-based organizations and New York City parents and caregivers. The resulting outreach strategies and process—with a simple application, unrestricted awards, and minimal reporting requirements—directly reflect their feedback.

To learn more about eligibility and the application process, visit Applications are due by November 19, 2021 and require proof of nonprofit status.

About Robin Hood

Robin Hood has been fighting poverty in New York City since 1988. Because Robin Hood’s board covers all overhead, 100% of every donation goes directly to the poverty fight. Last year, Robin Hood awarded $172 million in grants, filling a critical void during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing cash assistance, meals, housing, healthcare, education, and other urgent needs to one million New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19, as well as funding an array of programs and initiatives developed to elevate families out of poverty in New York City. Follow the organization on Twitter @RobinHoodNYC and learn more at