Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond

Our History

A Backbone Organization for Early Childhood Development

Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond can trace its roots back more than 20 years, to Youth Matters, a project of ChamberRVA, and Success By 6® at United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. In 2006 these two efforts merged to form Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond, which has served as the region’s convener and coordinator for strategic early childhood initiatives ever since. 

Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond is a partnership among public and private agencies, businesses, and individuals serving the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, as well as Chesterfield, Charles City, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan counties. A nonprofit organization, Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond works through its regional coalition to enhance the quality of early childhood care and learning for young children, so they will be well-prepared to enter the workforce.

Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond was one of the first Smart Beginnings initiatives in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is now one of more than 16 Smart Beginnings initiatives across the state anchored by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond’s vision is that “all children in the Richmond region will be healthy, well cared-for, and ready to success in school, work and life.” Ready children live in nurturing families, have high-quality early care and health care services, and are supported by an enriching and caring community.

Smart Beginnings brings together, through a collaborative effort, hundreds of local direct human service providers, government leaders, the faith, academic and business community, and concerned citizens to build a more cohesive, sustainable and high-quality early childhood system.

As a leader, steward and capacity builder for advancing school readiness in the Greater Richmond Region, we strive to bring together stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to achieve the following objectives: 

  • By building capacity for increasing school readiness at regional and local levels and serving as the “backbone organization” for early childhood
  • Harnessing best practices and overseeing and developing accountability metrics for a community-based network.
  • Maximizing resources and gaining efficiencies
  • Advocating for and securing outcomes-driven investments so that every child is prepared for school, laying the foundation for workforce and life success.


To support and build equitable and durable Early Childhood Systems to yield positive outcomes in the Greater Richmond region.


All children from birth through five in the Richmond region will be healthy, well-cared for, and ready to succeed in school, work and life.


Equity – We believe that all children and families should have the opportunity to thrive.

Family – We partner with families to promote a child’s healthy development.

Partnership – We accomplish more together.

Quality – We strive to achieve transformational impact in a child’s life.

Responsibility – We are accountable for our actions and investments.