Early Childhood Education Alliance

The human brain – the command center of the entire body – is not fully developed at birth.  A newborn’s brain is about a quarter of the size of the average adult brain. Incredibly, it doubles in size in the first year and keeps growing to about 80 percent of adult size by age three and 90 percent – nearly full grown – by age five.


ECEA was the brainchild of the foundation trustees 15 years ago when the foundation trustees asked representatives of the Alliance City School District, University of Mount Union, and the City of Alliance to come together and answer the question: How best can our community improve the early education of our preschool children? Thus, was born the permanent collaborative (ECEA) between the three entities. Through ECEA’s diligent work, our youngest citizens are better prepared to be kindergarten ready which is vitally important in building a strong learning foundation for a successful life.

ECEA Executive Director Liz Hibbs with Jack and Madge Peters at the Greater Alliance Foundation Celebration Event. 


From birth to age five, a child’s brain develops more rapidly than at any other time in life.  Research has shown that a child’s experiences in these early years – positive or negative, nurtured or neglected – directly affect how the brain develops, with long-term impact on the child’s health and ability to learn and succeed in school and life.

One of the reasons Jack and Madge Peters are well known in the community is that they have been involved in so many civic, service, social, and educational groups and organizations their entire adult life. The number is too many to count. However, whatever gathering the Peters were present, the common thread was the Peters desire to lend a helping hand to those facing an obstacle. This is evident in their generous gift to the Greater Alliance Foundation this past summer to endow the Early Childhood Education Alliance (ECEA).

The Peters gift is significant to our community. Their endowment for ECEA will yield a remarkable payoff both in dollars and in human capital. Studies have shown an average return of $7 for every $1 invested in early education, most evident among at-risk children, families, and neighborhoods. In addition, early investments in children decrease delinquency, incidences of teen pregnancy, and provides higher academic outcomes, increased high school graduation and post-secondary attendance.  

Liz Hibbs, ECEA Executive Director, “I was overwhelmed when I learned of Jack and Madge’s desire to endow our program. Their interest in supporting all children but especially those children who are at risk, speaks volumes about their love of community and their character. Alliance’s future is better because of the Peters’ investment in quality early education and experiences.”  

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