First 2,000 Days


The majority of brain development occurs in the first 2,000 days, creating the foundation for all future learning. Buncombe Partnership for Children is the local leader of this statewide initiative led by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. For more information on this initiative, visit


Why invest in the First 2,000 Days?

For optimal development and a strong foundation, children need good health, strong families, and high quality early learning and school experiences.

Everyone can get involved.

  • Locally and, nationally, sheriffs and police officers are advocating for high-quality early childhood programs as a key component of crime prevention. Click here for an op-ed by Champion Sheriff Van Duncan.
  • Military leaders have made the link between early childhood and military readiness, and are calling for smart investments in children.
  • Local business leaders and those in cities across the country recognize investing in early education is critical to building a well-educated, competitive workforce. Click here for an op-ed by Kit Cramer, president and CEO, Asheville Chamber of Commerce and, here for another by local business leaders, Suzanne DeFerie, CEO of Asheville Savings Bank, and Dan Rattigan, co-owner of French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

Champions support the campaign by:

  • Speaking at local organizations such as the Asheville Chamber, Kiwanis/Rotary Club meetings, or at business lunch and learns
  • Writing letters to the editors of local papers
  • Meeting with local legislators; and promoting the importance of the first 2,000 days in their professional and personal networks.

Early Child Development Investments Produce Results!


Decades of research has identified programs proven to work with young children.

Higher Reading & Math Scores
A 2011 Duke University study found children had higher third grade reading and math scores in counties that received more funding for Smart Start and NC PreK when those children were younger.

Buncombe County Champions for Children

Leslie Anderson, Leslie Anderson Consulting, Inc.
Melissa Baker, MAHEC
Barbara Brownsmith Campbell, Community Volunteer
Kit Cramer, Asheville Chamber of Commerce
Susanne DeFerie, Asheville Savings Bank
Sheriff Jack Van Duncan, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office
Jennie Eblen, Eblen Short Stop Stores
Lael Gray, Asheville Jewish Community Center
Gibbie Harris, Community Volunteer
Lori Hilliard, Buncombe County Schools
Holly Jones, Buncombe County Commissioner
Julie Klipp Nicholson, Buncombe County Family Justice Center
Missy Sherburne, College Advising Corps
Suzanne Swanger, Buncombe County Schools
Terry Van Duyn, North Carolina Senator
Mike Weizman, MD, Our Family Doctor

For more information on how you can be a champion for children, please contact us at [email protected]