Statement on the Ounce of Prevention Fund Lobbying

By Diana Rauner, President

CHICAGO – We were disheartened to see the recent Associated Press story based on a report from the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises that depicted the Ounce of Prevention Fund as spending the most money in Illinois on “wining and dining lawmakers.”

The expenditure reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office included our annual luncheon at an expense of $130,000 (which includes all costs of the event), which dramatically inflates the appearance of our spending on lobbying efforts. For 14 years, our It’s Good Business to Invest in Young Children Annual Luncheon has been our premier public education and fundraising event bringing together the business, philanthropic and civic communities in support of early childhood education. Similar to most non-profits, events like our Annual Luncheon generate the critical public support, and private funding, that is necessary to fulfill our mission.

Of the more than 850 attendees, only two were affiliated with state government. That event is not a lobbying event. Per Illinois state law and the requirements of the Secretary of State, we’ve always erred on the side of caution in reporting the full costs of our annual luncheon when a reportable official attends.

As an organization built on public-private partnerships, we pride ourselves on our fiscal responsibility and utmost dedication to ensuring that all young children—particularly those living in poverty—have access to high-quality early childhood education. Decades of data and ongoing research have proven what an effective investment these early experiences are.

Ounce of Prevention Fund

The Ounce of Prevention Fund works to ensure that all children, particularly those in poverty, have quality early childhood experiences from birth to age five. Educare Chicago, the Ounce state-of-the-art school on the South Side, has become a national model of high-quality early childhood education. Learn more at theOunce.org.