Understand how we got here — and how to move forward.


Case Study

How Joint Fundraising Advanced a Childhood Behavioral Health Program

15 Minute Read


The challenge

Early childhood behavioral health is a major challenge in Washington, D.C. Children lack access to behavioral health services due to a dearth of specialists, insufficient insurance coverage, and limited collaboration between community resources. Children’s National Hospital and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital recognized that these prevailing challenges necessitated a holistic approach, not a siloed one.

The organizations

Children’s National Hospital is a 323-bed children’s hospital in Washington, D.C. Their philanthropy team has approximately 90 full-time employees and raised $87 million in FY2019.
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a 609-bed hospital in Washington, D.C. Their philanthropy team has 5 full-time employees and raised $18 in FY2019.

The approach

In 2012, Children’s National and MedStar Georgetown combined forces to improve early childhood behavioral health in their region, eventually forming the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN) in 2015. To support their shared efforts, the hospitals jointly engage private foundations, local government, and individual donors to raise the necessary operating funds.

The result

Joint fundraising has enabled the hospitals to seed and sustain ECIN since 2015. In 2019, the collaborative program raised $6.4 million and used philanthropy to fund more than 20 multidisciplinary team members to implement innovative behavioral health interventions.




How Children’s National and MedStar Georgetown collaborated to fund the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN)

Washington, D.C., needed childhood behavioral health services that could not be provided by a single hospital or entity. Children’s National and MedStar Georgetown strategized to combine resources, share expertise, and jointly fundraise to build a program that would address this community challenge with integrated behavioral health care and family support in a variety of settings.


The four key components

The four components below illustrate their cooperative fundraising process.

  • Component

    Target a challenge that can’t be solved alone

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    Emphasize collaborative approach in case for support

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  • Component

    Be transparent around which funder relations you’re willing to share

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    Develop guidelines for funding requests and distribution

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Joint fundraising launches and grows innovative childhood behavioral health initiative.

The joint fundraising initiative of Children’s National and MedStar Georgetown provided the necessary funding to launch and sustain the Early Childhood Innovation Network. This program features the best of what each hospital has to offer and has had a far-reaching impact on the community. What started as a conversation between two clinicians has become a successful multiyear program and a strong example of the potential for joint fundraising initiatives.


Pilot grant across first 5 years


Raised by Children’s National and MedStar

Georgetown for ECIN in FY2019


Years since ECIN’s launch


Behavioral health specialists and multidisciplinary

team members funded by philanthropy

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