History of CSEE
On June 20, 2006, California leaders in early education, Scott Moore, Gary J. Kinley and Wendy Wayne, met to discuss how to build upon the momentum started with Early Care and Education for the Preschool for All Political Action Committee also known as ECE for PFA PAC. The ECE for PFA PAC was formed to support Proposition 82, the Preschool for All campaign on the June 2006 ballot in California. These three ECE recognized leaders agreed on the importance of building on that foundation and moved forward with convening an organizing group to establish a new entity.
On August 15, 2006, the initial meeting of the yet to be named organization took place in San Diego at the Dana Point Inn. Among the participants were Catherine Atkins, Anne Broussard, Ed Condon, Gary J. Kinley, Paul Miller, Lois Mitchell, Scott Moore, Wendy Wayne, and Chuck Weis, Kevin Carnes?. The topics discussed were potential activities, structure, mission, the formation of the political action committee, and fundraising activities for the new entity. It was decided the new organization would be named Californians for the Support of Early Education (CSEE). The first Board of Directors was composed of most of the above individuals with the addition of Kevin Carnes. An affiliated PAC was established at the same time with the same name.
Chairs of the Board of Directors through the years have included Paul Miller (2006-07), Wendy Wayne and Gary J. Kinley as Co-Chairs (2007-2009), and Ed Condon (2009-11). Kinley agreed to once again serve as Chair in 2011 and continues in that role presently.
With the assistance of a challenge grant of $8,000 and total matching contributions by each of the initial Board members, an attorney was retained to file an application for 501(c) (4) status through the IRS and develop an operating manual. In early 2007, the IRS granted CSEE its 501(c)(4) status. Subsequent Board member contributions, donations including cash and in-kind support, and proceeds from events underwrote an array of activities include
ng voter registration and education grants, contributions to candidates for the California Assembly and Senate as well as fundraising events.
An early decision made by the Board of Directors revolved around its role in advocacy. Given the breadth of ECE advocacy groups in California and not wishing to compete with established endeavors, the Board of CSEE consciously decided to limit its efforts to pre-election activities. Pre-election advocacy has always been recognized as a weakness in overall ECE advocacy efforts. Once endorsed pro-early education candidates were elected to office connections would be made between them and ECE advocacy groups across the state.
The Political Action Committee endorsed a number of candidates over the years and/or made contributions to their campaigns for office. During the 2012 general election, five of the six candidates that the PAC endorsed and/or received a CSEE PAC contribution were elected. During 2012, CSEE also made grants exceeding $6,000 to organizations conducting local voter registration and education campaigns.
CSEE has provided financial support for numerous events incuding most recently CAEYC’s Early Learning Advocacy Day (ELAD).
Today, CSEE is looking forward to the 2014 election cycle with a goal toward expanding its efforts and ensuring that a cadre of elected officials who understand the importance of affordability and availability of quality early care and education programs for California’s children and their families are elected to state office and provide leadership in the State Legislature on ECE issues.