The Northland Foundation’s Thrive Initiative and Early Childhood Initiative work to ensure a healthy life of learning, achieving, and succeeding for all young children, prenatal through early elementary.

Supporting Our Region’s Youngest Children

The Northland Foundation established and continues to help sustain the Thrive Initiative and Early Childhood Initiative community coalitions. These two programs:

  • Keep a pulse on needs and opportunities in relation to young children and families.
  • Provide ready partners to collaborate on regional projects including Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care, Community Resource Hub, and Prenatal to Grade 3 programming.
  • Help ensure our rural region has an active voice in statewide policy and program efforts focused on young children and families.


Thrive began in 2007 in response to community requests. People were calling for ways to increase knowledge about infant and early childhood mental health and strengthen the resources available to support families with young children.

An active group of area professionals who work with young children and families engage in trainings, build a more interconnected network focused on the healthy social and emotional development of young children, and implement innovative collaborations and projects.

Participants represent the early care and education, public health, social services, nonprofit, medical, and mental health sectors, among others. Find out about and register for upcoming Thrive trainings on our events page.

Early Childhood Initiative

Starting in 2003, the Northland Foundation began establishing and working with Early Childhood Initiative coalitions to help strengthen resources and respond to local needs for young children and families. Coalitions are supported by the Northland Foundation with leadership from local coordinators. We also bring coordinators together as a group on a regular basis to share ideas and best practices.

Early Childhood Coalition sites include Aitkin, Itasca Area, Mesabi East, Rock Ridge, Cook County, Carlton County, Duluth, Hermantown/Proctor, and the Lake Superior School District. 

To Learn More About

Thrive or the Early Childhood Initiative, email Jan Amys, or call her at 218-740-7301.

From traditional, ancestral & contemporary lands of Ojibwe, Dakota, Northern Cheyenne & other Native people. See a more detailed acknowledgement of this land and its history.


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