“…every dollar invested…produces a 7 percent to 10 percent return, per child, per year.”

Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman


Few things offer a better return on investment than early childhood development for disadvantaged children.

High-quality early childhood care and education prepares children for success in school and in life. Help us reach children with the greatest need by making your gift today.

  • $50 buys a set of indestructible books for busy toddlers
  • $100 will enable a teacher to attend a professional development class
  • $500 provides materials and plants to start a fruit and vegetable garden at a child care center
  • $875 provides one month of high-quality Pre-K classroom learning

Donations may be designated for one of the four support areas below by emailing  Gary Carr, WCSS Director of Finance or call 919-723-9273. We’ll then watch for your gift and apply it appropriately.

  • Supporting Excellence in Early Care and Learning
    • $5,000 provides bookcases, learning centers and student cubbies for one classroom
    • $3,000 purchases rugs for 4 classrooms
    • $875 provides a month of high-quality early learning for a disadvantaged child through the NC Pre-Kindergarten program.


    Help expand NC Pre-K learning opportunities to more children with a donation to the WCSS Scholarship Fund. Any amount is appreciated and for a limited time, your donation will be matched by Wake County – doubling your gift.

    For gifts under $1,000, undesignated funds may be used for curriculum enhancing tools like Duplos or Legos for center play, sand and water tables, or provide scholarships for Early Childhood Professionals continuing education scholarships.

  • Empowering Healthy Families
    • $5,000 contributes towards 500 children books, physician office training and a “prescription for reading” through the Reach Out and Read program
    • $3,000 contributes towards supportive home visits for a family with a new baby
    • $1,500 contributes towards literacy materials used in parenting programs to increase reading at home

    For gifts under $1,000, undesignated funds may be used for program enhancing materials such as activity supplies and books or for scholarships for parent educator institute attendance.

  • Nurturing Early Language and Literacy
    • $5,000 contributes towards training to both parents and Early Childhood Professionals on ways to enhance language and literacy development
    • $3,000 provides scholarships for Early Childhood Professionals to attend the NC National Association of Early Educators conference
    • $1,500 purchases “indestructible” infant and toddler books sets for child care centers serving children supported by Child Care Subsidy

    For gifts under $1,000, undesignated funds may be used for additional tools like puppets, music, books that deepen program experiences for young children and families.

  • Fostering Innovation and Improved Systems
    • $5,000 contributes towards support on initiatives working to improve Wake County’s early childhood system of care and support such as data collection and review
    • $3,000 supports institute training opportunities to learn about effective strategies for improvements
    • $1,500 supports local summits that bring together professionals and experts for collaborative planning

Ready to donate? Your secure online donation will be processed by PayPal.

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1996 Society

The Society was formed in honor of the visionaries that came together to form WCSS in 1996. When your donations, calculated from July 1, 2017 meet the threshold level of $1,996, you will be offered recognition in the 1996 Society. Please contact Phyllis Barbour to learn more about this special group of supporters and advocates.


Want to make a gift in honor or in memory of someone? Perhaps an early childhood teacher, director or parent educator?  Just indicate that when you complete our online or printable donation form and we’ll notify the honoree with a card acknowledging your gift.


Donations may be designated for the WCSS Scholarship Fund. To have your donation earmarked for this fund, please email Gary Carr, WCSS Director of Finance or call 919-723-9273. For a limited time, all donations made for Pre-K scholarships will be matched by Wake County – extending the reach of  your gift.

Gifts of Stock

Diversify your portfolio by investing in young children! For assistance with a gift of stock, please email Jordan Ray, Associate Wealth Management Advisor, Northwestern Mutual, or call him at 919-755-3258.

Matching Gifts

Many employers, including Red Hat, Bank of America, GlaxoSmithKline, and Duke Energy Progress support employee giving with a match. Check with your company’s human resources department for its policy. For a limited time, Wake County will match all donations designated for the NC Pre-Kindergarten program. For more information, email Gary Carr, WCSS Director of Finance or call 919-723-9273.

State Employees Combined Campaign

Wake County SmartStart participates in The State Employees Combined Campaign. To designate your gift to WCSS, please use code 2315.

Donate Via AmazonSmile

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to WCSS. Just visit AmazonSmile, log on with your Amazon ID and designate Wake County SmartStart as your charitable organization of choice.

Thank you for helping build a brighter future for young children!

WCSS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Your donation is tax deductible.

 Financial information about Wake County SmartStart and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 1-888-830-4989. The license is not an endorsement by the State.