United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley

Boston Quality Universal Pre-Kindergarten Initiative


United Way focuses on kindergarten readiness for every child in Boston.

The majority of Boston’s 6,000 four-year-olds are enrolled in some form of early education and care program.  But enrollment alone doesn’t equal kindergarten readiness.  Equally important (if not more so), is the quality of education received, which is currently inconsistent across programs.

Pre-K programs should provide the educational foundation to ensure all incoming kindergartners are equally prepared to succeed in school.  Without consistent access to high-quality, developmentally appropriate programming, children will continue to enter school at varying levels of readiness.

The Barr Foundation  is taking on this challenge, and has awarded a $1.4M grant to United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley to study current programs and provide data that will help the City of Boston assess the feasibility of different options for scaling high quality pre-K across the city.

In partnership with consulting firm Parthenon-EY and Wellesley Centers for Women, this initiative will include an in-depth analysis of the current state of Boston’s pre-k education as well as a feasibility assessment to inform the potential creation of a formal infrastructure (staffing, governance structure, accountability) to support a high-quality Universal Pre-K system in Boston..

Helpful Links


Karley Ausiello, Project Liaison