About Us

By engaging, connecting leaders, and mobilizing stakeholders


MELA will work with alliance members and partners to bring about systemic change for Mississippi’s children lasting well into adulthood, which leads to a more skilled workforce and better economy.


MELA drives collective impact with diverse stakeholders to achieve systemic change leading to the holistic development of Mississippi children in their first 8 years of life.


We start with and look for what is good. We are committed to looking beyond what is probable and focusing on what is possible for children, families, and communities in MS. We are not afraid of taking risks and sharing new ideas to reach our goals.

We recognize that no single group of people, program, or group of programs working in isolation from each other can tackle the barriers that prevent children from meeting readiness benchmarks as they enter school. We commit to seeking out, working with, and learning from others

We hold the conviction that only from diverse backgrounds and divergent points of view can we find the best solutions. We acknowledge that current social and economic systems and structures benefit some groups while harming others. We leverage our resources to encourage equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. As we do so, we actively examine our roles in perpetuating inequitable systems.

We are strategic about how we leverage our resources so that we reach our goals (and help others reach theirs).

Work of equity is unequivocally about relationships and people. Therefore, we make space to understand, connect, and build meaningful relationships with one another. We are invested in the success of others, we treat each other with respect and kindness, and we will work diligently to lift each other up.


Over the next three years, we will build a statewide coalition that will identify, pursue, and achieve shared goals that lead
to positive changes within the early childhood system.

The strategies that we will pursue to reach this goal are two fold:

  1. We will create a wide and diverse coalition composed of working groups organized around specific goals and focus areas.
  2. Launch statewide communications efforts.

We have several initiatives and recurring events that work to bring key players and organizations focused on early childhood together, including annual Early Childhood Development Capitol Days, our growing collective impact initiative called Forum for the Future, and our emerging work to support a cohort of Women of Color in leadership working within Mississippi’s early childhood system.

For more information about our long-term goals and strategies, read out three-year strategic plan.

Front cover of Strategic Plan

To learn more about our progress toward the goals and objectives laid out in the three-year plan, read our
2020-2021 Annual Report

We will serve as a Mississippi-focused information hub for information about
the statewide early childhood system.

Over the next three years, we’ve chosen strategies that will build our capacity to collect, curate, and disseminate information about the Mississippi early childhood system. We have several initiatives to help us reach this goal:

  • Mississippi Early Learning Resources is our shared services site that provides a one-stop shop for child care providers, including early childhood forms, regulations, policies, discounts, and guidance.
  • Our early childhood resource guides offer caregivers and educators information about how to navigate learning at home when children are out-of-school, and engage in meaningful conversations about race.
  • We will work to keep our website up to date with links and great resources from our partners in the early learning and child development world so that they are even more accessible to Mississippians.