Children's National awarded its “Chairman's Special Award” to The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation at its annual meeting on Dec. 5. The Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Children’s National, most recently making a $6 million grant to launch the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN), a collaborative initiative of Children’s National and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to improve the health of children in our region.
“We truly value the sophistication and rigor of the Marriott Foundation and want to thank them for their trust and belief in this ambitious project,” said Mike Williams, chairman of the board. “Ultimately, this groundbreaking effort holds the promise of being a transformational national model of preventative healthcare and education best practices in early childhood.”
In accepting the award, Marriott Foundation executive director Anne Gunsteens said, “I truly believe the Early Childhood Innovation Network is groundbreaking, and we are honored to be a part of this new program with you.”
Both Williams and Gunsteens also thanked Carrie Marriott for her vital role in the partnership and for her leadership and service to Children’s National. Marriott serves on the executive committee of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board, serves on the Nominating Committee for Children’s National Medical Center, chaired the 2014 Race for Every Child, and is a co-chair for the 2017 Children’s Ball.
One of the goals of the ECIN is to decrease and eliminate toxic stress in local children—building a strong foundation of resiliency that will last a lifetime. Toxic stress is sustained exposure to extreme adversity that affects a child’s development and increases the likelihood of future health problems such as addiction, depression, and cardiovascular disease. More than half of Washington, D.C.’s children are at risk for developing toxic stress by age 5. The ECIN implements innovative interventions aimed at youngsters as well as their parents and families, ranging from teaching preschoolers how to regulate their emotions to working with families in social service settings to promote positive parent-child interaction.