About Us

Starting Point is Northeast Ohio’s go-to education, child care, daycare, preschool, and out-of-school time resource and referral agency.

Serving families, youth, professionals, and the community since 1990.

Our Mission

Starting Point prepares children and youth for a lifetime of success by
building the capacity of professionals to provide high-quality care and
education, connecting families to those services, and advocating for
systems change.

Our Vision

Our vision is that children and youth are prepared for success in
education and beyond.

Our Values

An organization’s core values shape culture and identity, provide
clarity to the foundational mission and vision, and serve as a road-
map for day-to-day decisions, actions, and behaviors.

Starting Point’s Core Values

  • We embrace equity throughout our organization and
    its work. We actively seek to change systems and reduce implicit
  • We are passionate and dedicated to our work, and the
    families, professionals, and organizations we serve.
  • We prioritize working collaboratively within the
    organization and with partners. We are stronger together.
    Excellence. We take pride in the work we do and are experts in
    our field.
  • We are innovators in our field and our work transforms
    the lives of families and children.

Starting Point works to expand and enhance high quality early childhood and school-age programs and to provide the guidance, support, information, and services families, youth, professionals, and organizations need to assure quality early childhood and out-of-school experiences.

Who We Serve

Starting Point proudly serves 24,000 families, providers and community members annually across Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties.

Our History

Established in 1990 in Cleveland, OH, Starting Point was born out of a recognized need for comprehensive children-focused services. This initiative stemmed from a landmark public-private partnership in Cuyahoga County, which recommended the creation of a dedicated organization for children’s education and care. Funded by the Child Day Care Planning Project, Starting Point began its journey under the leadership of its founding director, Billie Osborne-Fears. With a modest staff of three and an initial budget of $200,000, Starting Point swiftly identified system needs for child care and established departments to address emerging challenges. A significant milestone came with its first grant of $250,000 from the state of Ohio, propelling its efforts to new heights. Over the next 30 years, Starting Point evolved to serve children throughout their early years, expanding its services to enhance quality, support providers through professional development, and extend assistance to families across the early childhood and youth sectors. Tragically, Starting Point lost its founding executive director, Billie Osborne-Fears, in 2020.

After a transition, Nancy Mendez was appointed the new CEO of Starting Point in 2021.

Today, Starting Point has a team of 70 and an operating budget of $11 million. It is focused on growing the original vision and meeting the mission to prepare Northeast Ohio’s children for education and beyond. To learn more about our current work, view our Strategic Plan.

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Summer Hours: Starting Point offices are Hybrid Monday - Thursday, Fully Remote on Fridays.