City of Birmingham and Birmingham Talks Partner for Historic $1 Million Investment in Early Learning « The Official Website of the City of Birmingham, Alabama


The City of Birmingham has announced plans to invest $1 million in early literacy initiatives run by Birmingham Talks. This is the largest council-funded early years investment in the history of the City of Birmingham. Birmingham Talks improves kindergarten readiness by increasing interactive conversation between children and their caregivers through the use of a small digital device (a ‘word pedometer’) that counts the number of words children hear each day .

Funding from the City of Birmingham will help expand Birmingham Talks programs over the next three years and ensure that more families and childcare centers have access to an award-winning program, innovative technology and personalized coaching . “Birmingham children deserve the best from the start,” said Ruth Ann Moss, executive director of Birmingham Talks. “We are honored to work with the city to expand access to high quality early learning services in all ninety-nine wards and make Birmingham the best city in the country to raise a child under five years.”

Birmingham Talks was founded in 2019 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Overton Project. Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped five US cities, including Birmingham, replicate Providence Talks, winner of the 2013 Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge grand prize. “We are grateful for the partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies that made Birmingham Talks possible,” said Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “We hope this is a message to the country’s philanthropic leaders: if you invest in Birmingham, we will leverage that investment.”

Ninety-two percent of children who take part in the Birmingham Talks begin hearing less than the 21,000 words per day that researchers estimate is needed for optimal brain development. However, data shows that children who started the program in low-conversation environments increased the amount of conversation they were exposed to by approximately 50% over the course of twelve weeks.

Funding from the City of Birmingham will cover around a quarter of the costs associated with the program expansion. Other vital supporters of Birmingham Talks include the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, Altec/Styslinger Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation, and various other local funders. and committed nationals. “This is an investment in children and families,” said Galvin Billups, executive director of the City of Birmingham’s Department of Youth Services. “And it’s also an investment in the future prosperity of our city. Birmingham is committed to ensuring that our youngest citizens can reach their full potential. To find out more about Birmingham Talks, visit or email

About the Birmingham Talks

Birmingham Talks supports the future stability and prosperity of our city by focusing on our most precious resource: our children. The organization’s innovative programs use cutting-edge technology and personalized coaching to increase interactive conversations between babies and their caregivers, ensuring that all children in our community are prepared for both kindergarten and a life of economic mobility. . Research shows that the earliest support that helps children develop their language skills can have the most positive and cost-effective impacts throughout life.

Founded in 2019 and seeded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Birmingham Talks runs two flagship programs: LENA Start (small group parenting classes) and LENA Grow (professional development for child care centres). For more information about Birmingham Talks, visit or email


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