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Press Release


Whatcom Center for Early Learning Recognized Nationally with a $2 Million Grant 

CONTACT: Sierra James, 360-966-1007 – 

Bellingham, WA - Whatcom Center for Early Learning has received $2 million dollars as one of the highest-scoring organizations that applied to the MacKenzie Scott Yield Giving Open Call. 


Whatcom Center for Early Learning partners with families to deliver high quality, equitable, and comprehensive therapy and early support services to children under three years old with disabilities and developmental delays creating a solid foundation for their long-term well-being.  


Yield Giving received 6,353 applications and initially planned for 250 awards of $1 million each. In light of the incredible work of these organizations, as judged by their peers and external panelists, the donor team decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount.  


“WCEL was thrilled for the children and families we serve to be awarded twice the funding we initially applied for,” says Executive Director Sierra James. “This is a game changer. It will allow us to continue to serve the growing number of children coming into our program each year and to plan towards a new custom-built facility after 50 years of adapting to spaces not built around our unique mission.” 


Early support services (previously known as early intervention) are one of the most beneficial times to invest because 85% of a child’s adult brain is formed by the time they are two years old.  Children and families graduate from our programs with improved holistic well-being, empowering them to have better life-long health, education and economic outcomes. 


We know WCEL provides life-changing services when we hear from parents: “[At WCEL] my daughters each developed this special confidence they still carry, lifelong friendships were born, and we found a sense of community... We are forever thankful for all of the ways that they encourage and facilitate a strong community foundation for children and caregivers.”  


"The Open Call has given us an opportunity to identify, uplift, and empower transformative organizations that often remain unseen,” states Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. 


Join Whatcom Center for Early Learning’s annual gala fundraiser on June 1st or find more information on how you can support children experiencing developmental delays and disabilities, and their families and caregivers by exploring our website.

Film used in grant application:

Film Credit: Soulcraft AllStars

Thank you to film participants:

Yield Giving

Established by MacKenzie Scott to share a financial fortune created through the effort of countless people, Yield Giving is named after a belief in adding value by giving up control. To date, Yield’s network of staff and advisors has yielded over $16,500,000,000 to 1,900+ non-profit teams to use as they see fit for the benefit of others. To learn more, visit 


Lever for Change  

Lever for Change connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems —including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of access to economic opportunity, and climate change. Using an inclusive, equitable model and due diligence process, Lever for Change creates customized challenges and other tailored funding opportunities. Top-ranked teams and challenge finalists become members of the Bold Solutions Network—a growing global network that helps secure additional funding, amplify YIELD GIVING OPEN CALL  members’ impact, and accelerate social change. Founded in 2019 as a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Lever for Change has influenced over $1.7 billion in grants to date and provided support to more than 145 organizations. To learn more, visit 

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