For every $1 spent on early childhood education, society gains as much as $16 in long-term savings.

Insufficient early childhood development programming costs the United States $57 billion annually due to loss of productivity.

NorthStar’s story

NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a mission “to help young people overcome poverty, discrimination, educational disadvantage, violence, and other adversity through learning essential competencies and hopefulness with which they can transform their lives and communities.”

Founded in 1974, birthed from community-led action inspired by the civil rights movement, residents of the West End of the City of New Bedford organized to address the needs of sytemically oppressed, underrepresented, and chronically underserved cultural communities.

The initial community need NorthStar addressed was a single preschool center located in public housing.  NorthStar has since evolved to a constellation of programs that together serve New Bedford children from one month old to adulthood. While NorthStar has experienced significant growth, we remain grounded in our original intent to serve children and families marginalized by racism and other forms of prejudice and bias.

In July of 2019, as NorthStar engaged in conversations with cross sector community members around early childhood education and care as a critical area of investment in New Bedford. Soon it became evident that investing in early education and development was on the minds of many across the region of the South Coast.  NorthStar saw the opportunity to convene cross-sector leaders, to developed an aligned and shared vision for affordable and accessible high quality early childhood education and development.  At the center of this initiative is the importance of listening and uplifting to the voices on the ground, remaining rooted in the pursuit of racial, economic, and social justice.

coalition Team

Zoe Hansen-DiBello, PhD

Coalition Director,  Co-facilitator

Nick Matthew

The Basics, Southcoast Coordinator

Maria Rosario

Executive Director,  Co-facilitator

steering committee

The Steering Committee is comprised of visionary cross-sector leaders tasked with determining shared norms, guiding principles, strategic goals and new initiatives.

Michael Cancilliere

Michael Cancilliere

Executive Director, Meeting Street

Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis

Director Community Benefits, Southcoast Health

Soraya DosSantos

Soraya DosSantos

Maternal Advocate & Postpartum Provider, Maternal Nurturing Collective

Chris Howard

Chris Howard

President, First Citizens’ Credit Union

Pam Kuechler

Pam Kuechler

Executive Director, PACE

Maria Rosario

Maria Rosario

Executive Director, NorthStar Learning Centers

John Vasconcellos

John Vasconcellos

President, SouthCoast Community Foundation

Sonia Walmsley

Sonia Walmsley

Executive Director of Educational Access and Pathways, New Bedford Public Schools

Partner Spotlights

Southcoast Health is a not-for-profit, community-based health system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Rachel Davis

Director Community Benefits, Southcoast Health

Mobilizing philanthropy by matching donors and resources with community needs for the benefit of the region.

John Vasconcellos

President, SouthCoast Community Foundation

United Way of Greater Fall River funds Health, Education, and Financial Stability programming for agency partners throughout Greater Fall River. We believe everyone deserves opportunities for a good life: a quality education that leads to sustaining job opportunities, enough income to support a family, and a good, healthy lifestyle that increases life expectancy.

Meg Rogers

Communications Coordinator, United Way of Greater Fall River

The Southcoast Coalition for Early Childhood Education (SCECE) is a network of cross-sector stakeholders dedicated to ensuring every child has the best start in life and enters kindergarten ready to reach their fullest potential.

(508) 991-5946

NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.
53 Linden Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

info@coalitioned.com