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Pre-K Success During COVID—Leveraging Outcomes Financing to Achieve Better Results

Maria Psarakis July 13, 2022

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its many obstacles to early learning, Black and Brown Pre-K students in Memphis and Shelby County, TN are on track and on grade level, achieving strong Pre-K literacy skill levels and rates of Kindergarten readiness. This session will explore how an innovative public-private partnership, outcomes orientation, and local leadership were critical to maintaining a continued focus on student learning and attainment during COVID.

Since 2019, First 8 Memphis and the Community Outcomes Fund at Maycomb Capital have partnered with the City of Memphis, Shelby County, and the Urban Child Institute to deliver universal, needs-based Pre-K to children living in Memphis and Shelby County, alongside wraparound support services. Notably, this equitable Pre-K program is the first of its kind in Tennessee, a state that has not expanded Pre-K in over a decade. To align the city and county’s historic investment with real community impact, the project uses an outcomes-based financing model that ties funding to positive, measurable results for students and their families.


Fireside Chat (3 speakers maximum)

Meta Themes

  • Deliver Equity and Inclusion

  • Reimagine Systems


Early Childhood Education, Outcomes-Based Financing

Purpose and Desired Outcome

Through this session, participants will learn about outcomes-based financing and how it supports better early childhood outcomes in communities. This session will also look at the unique obstacles faced by the Memphis Pre-K public-private partnership during COVID-19. Presenters will discuss how the approach in Memphis captured key lessons from the first generation of outcomes financing or Pay-for-Success projects to address these challenges and demonstrate the importance of a local intermediary to support and hold Pre-K providers accountable.


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Asset Managers

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)

  • Government

  • Academia

  • Service Providers


  • NameKandace Thomas, MPP, PhD
  • TitleExecutive Director
  • OrganizationFirst 8 Memphis
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameAndi Phillips
  • TitleCo-Founder & Managing Partner
  • OrganizationMaycomb Capital
  • StatusConfirmed
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