There used to be an ad that said, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.” Well nowadays when J.B. Pritzker speaks, people listen. Or at least we should. On the Huffington Post, the tech-venture capitalist and philanthropic “investor” in children called for the nation to support early childhood education. Pritzker called on his peers who support political campaigns and have the influence to make or break bills in Congress to support the President’s Early Learning Challenge Fund in this year’s proposed FY2011 federal budget.
Pritzker points out that public pre-k is an easy idea to support, especially when a politician is campaigning, but that it is often considered non-essential when state and federal budgets must be cut.
What I found most refreshing about Pritzker’s perspective is the urgency in his writing. I can tell he really believes that investing in children is how to be smart with our money in tough economic times, in the private and public sector. He describes how every day, as an owner of an investment firm he makes decisions about the best way to invest for the long term. And when he turns to philanthropy, he does the same thing by investing in children. He writes,
“…I focus on supporting high quality early childhood health care and education. By betting my resources on very young children, I know I’m making an investment that pays guaranteed dividends with a high rate of return. Our politicians ought to do the same, and we ought to demand it.”