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Expand equitable access to high-quality educational pathways for children, youth, and adults for lifelong success.

Early Care and Education

Accelerate Quality anchored at United Way of Tucson is aimed at helping local families with young children. It works with eligible preschools, childcare centers, and family childcare homes to increase high quality early care and education in Pima County. Accelerate Quality provides coaching and technical support, small improvement grants, and program assessments. These supports help prepare programs to attain a high-quality rating through Arizona’s quality rating and improvement system, help them achieve accreditation, or help programs that are already high quality add additional classrooms or spaces so they can serve more children. 

If you run an Early Childhood Learning Center – you can apply for Assistance from Accelerate Quality today!

Children and Nature Initiative

The Pima County Connecting Children to Nature initiative is led by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Prescott College Center for Nature and Place, and Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation. Together we aim to connect diverse stakeholders with the shared vision of creating safe and equitable access to the outdoors for all children in our communities.

For more information, contact Katherine Gaia Barbaree at


First Focus on Kids (FFK)

The First Focus on Kids (FFK) Coalition began in 1999 and continues to evolve to help move our shared early childhood agenda forward.  The group includes agencies and individuals that come together to support our vision:  All young children ages 0-8 in Tucson and Southern Arizona are in safe and supportive environments that promote their cognitive, physical, social & emotional well-being.  The FFK Coalition publishes a regular newsletter with information and resources related to early care and education called the Pima Early Care and Education Update. 

Family Support Alliance

The Family Support Alliance provides at-risk families the parenting resources they need to raise healthy and engaged children.

Family Resource Center

The Family Resource Centers are designed to serve and support families with children birth through age 5, the Family Resource Center is funded by First Things First with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona serving as the lead grantee, and implemented in partnership with Casa de los Niños, Easterseals Blake Foundation, Make Way for Books, Parent Aid and UA Community Extension Programs. All programs and activities are FREE.

Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, Families and Communities

United Way’s Great Expectations Program with the support of various partner organizations and agencies utilize their collective capacity to reach and serve Early Care and Education providers across Pima County by offering quality Professional Development for Early Care and Education Practitioners that serve children in our community from birth to five years. The goal of Great Expectations is to meet the needs of the early childhood teaching community and improve and sustain positive changes in young children’s outcomes.

Early Literacy

My Summer Library

The My Summer Library program represents a targeted approach to reach children in Pima County and southern Arizona who reside in low-income, high-need communities and attend elementary schools that are working to improve educational outcomes. The goals of My Summer Library are to improve 3rd-grade reading proficiency, build student’s home libraries and mitigate summer reading loss.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Since 2012 United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona has been serving as a local affiliate for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, which sends a free book every month to young children (birth to age 5) to their home address. Untied Way promotes the program locally and enrolls children (ages birth – 5) in selected coverage areas; and collaborates with Freeport McMoRan and other donors to support this program.

Project READy

The goal of Project READy is to ensure early success for Flowing Wells Unified School District (FWUSD) students as they enter kindergarten. Project READy achieves its goal by supporting early literacy, a love of reading, and strong home-school relationships. Through a two-generation approach, FWUSD builds the capacity of incoming kindergarten students and their parents over the course of eight weeks through Project READy.

Read On Pima

Read On Pima partners demonstrate a collaborative approach to making grade level reading a priority in our community.

Cradle to Career Partnership

The Cradle to Career Partnership anchored at United Way of Tucson brings together a broad range of partners from across sectors using data and alignment of resources to identify and spread strategies that improve educational outcomes for children, youth and young adults.