First Things First programs and partnerships are changing outcomes for young children in Arizona. To build on this progress and focus on priorities for the next phase of our mission, FTF is convening a statewide Early Childhood Task Force to help set the strategic vision for the next five years.


Process and Outcomes

Taking a systems change approach, the Arizona Early Childhood Task Force will:

  • Focus broadly on early learning and development, children’s health, and family support and early literacy;
  • Prioritize efforts to increase coordination, address infrastructure and capacity needs of the system, leverage partnerships and increase resources to achieve scale;
  • Build on the strengths and accomplishments of the early childhood system; and
  • Actively engage regional council members and state and community stakeholders in the process.


The Task Force is comprised of a diverse group of key leaders from various sectors across Arizona. It is being co‐chaired by Nadine Mathis Basha, Board Chair of First Things First, and Don Budinger, Chairman and Founding Director of The Rodel Foundations.

The Task Force will meet for a total of five (5) meetings with the purpose for each meeting outlined below. To ensure that the Task Force stays focused on high‐level priorities, sub‐committees will be created to allow for the development of more specific recommendations in the areas of Early Learning, Children’s Health, and Family Support/Early Literacy and Research and Evaluation. In addition, throughout the strategic planning process, First Things First’s Regional Partnership Councils will be engaged through online surveys and regional area forums to provide feedback on ideas and decision points made by the Task Force and sub‐committees.

The end result will be an ambitious yet attainable statewide plan for advancing the work of First Things First and Arizona’s early childhood system over the next five years. This work will help us collectively hold ourselves accountable so our work will result in positive, measureable outcomes for our youngest children.

Convene First Things First Leadership Forum and deploy statewide survey to all regional partnership council members. Use data and perspectives collected to help inform the Task Force’s initial conversation in November.
Assessment of Arizona’s early childhood system—where it is and where we want to go; and review and discussion of latest data and key drivers for system change.
Define priority roles for First Things First and desired outcomes.
Finalize priority roles and desired outcomes.

Convene First Things First regional area forums across the state to provide direct input and perspective on progress of the Task Force to date.

Convene sub‐committees to define goals and objectives for addressing the FTF priority roles and desired outcomes.
Review recommendations from the sub‐committees.
Finalize strategic direction to present to the First Things First Program Committee and Board.