Hillary Clinton: “There’s no telling what can be achieved with organizations like the Clinton Foundation hard at work.”

In a recent letter to the Clinton Foundation community, Secretary Hillary Clinton reflected on its life-changing work. Now, we’re looking back at her critical role in the shaping the Foundation’s impact.

By Maura Pally, senior vice president for programs and acting chief development officer, Clinton Foundation

This past week, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote a letter to help us honor President Clinton and the work of the Clinton Foundation in advance of his 71st birthday on August 19.

When Secretary Clinton began her tenure with the Foundation in 2013, I had the unique privilege of overseeing the programs she launched as they grew from simple ideas to life-changing action. Although she resigned from the Clinton Foundation’s Board for her historic presidential bid in April of 2015, her legacy here continues.

As we look ahead to the continuing work of our programs to empower people to build better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities, we wanted to take a look back at her critical role in shaping our work and impact. Keep reading to learn about four projects improving lives across the country and around the world.

Too Small to Fail equips new parents with books and resources to help encourage more activities like talking, reading, and singing with young children. More than 845,000 children’s books have been distributed to date. Photo Credit: Katee Grace / Too Small to Fail

A pragmatic approach for boosting early brain development

Every child deserves the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.

Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language skills. Those 60 percent of children who are behind in kindergarten often later become the children who are reading behind grade-level by third grade, and who later struggle to graduate high school or go to college.

While with the Clinton Foundation, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton established our Too Small to Fail initiative: an awareness and action campaign that promotes the importance of early brain and language development by informing and empowering parents and caregivers with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth.

Since it first launched, Too Small has found success partnering with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community-based organizations, business, the entertainment industry, and others to get critical information and resources about early brain development into the hands of parents from the people they trust the most and the places they frequent the most.

As a result of their efforts, more than 845,000 books have been distributed; pediatricians are advising new parents on the importance of talking, reading, and singing from birth; new playgrounds that provide language-rich prompts for parents and children have popped up throughout the country, and millions of viewers have seen messages relating to early brain development on popular television shows such as “Law & Order: SVU” and “Days of Our Lives”.

The work continues, and Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for parents to have meaningful interactions with their children anytime, anywhere.

Students at the Farasi Lane School in Mitini, Nairobi, Kenya. Photo Credit: Max W. Orenstein / Clinton Foundation

A project to advance full participation

In 1995, at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 189 nations agreed to an ambitious platform for action: to ensure the full participation of girls and women. At this meeting, Secretary Clinton boldly asserted that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”

Twenty years later, No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project was established at the Foundation by Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton with the goal of bringing partners together to evaluate the progress made around the globe, and to accelerate the pace of change.

Working together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, data and trends were released in the “Full Participation Report,” along with a corresponding data visualization on NoCeilings.org. The report illustrates that while progress is possible, we’re not there yet. On International Women’s Day 2015, No Ceilings also used the data to launch a broad public awareness effort, “Not There,” to symbolically show that we are ‘not there’ yet on issues of gender equality — driving viewers to know the facts and take action.

Data from No Ceilings has inspired all Clinton Foundation programs to integrate gender into its work. No Ceilings also continues its impact through the Clinton Global Initiative — bringing together partners in commitments that are improving secondary education for girls worldwide as well as advancing women’s economic participation, addressing violence against girls and women, and promoting women’s leadership. Click through to learn more about the impact “Girls CHARGE” and “Girls, Women and the Global Goals” is having on girls and women worldwide.

Job One commitment-makers Symantec and NPower teamed up to train young adults for careers in cybersecurity. Here are students at it’s first graduation. Photo Credit: c/o NPower

The business case for Opportunity Youth

Despite significant gains for the U.S. economy, youth unemployment remains one of the most staggering effects of the recession. Secretary Clinton deployed the convening power of the Clinton Global Initiative on an often-missed element from our national workforce training conversations: business-designed and led career pathways for Opportunity Youth.

Simple actions by employers, such as mentoring or training, can yield big results for ambitious young workers. Job One commitments aim to cultivate meaningful opportunities so that young people who may be out of school and out of work know that they aren’t out of time to climb the ladder of economic mobility. As a result of Job One, 13 private-sector companies committed to create new training, hiring, or mentoring opportunities for that would directly impact more than 150,000 U.S. youth.

And, the conversation continues — later this month, we’ll be partnering with General Assembly to discuss the impact of this work at a forum titled, “Why Hiring Opportunity Youth is Good For Business.”

Chelsea Clinton visits the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. She also visited a commitment from Save the Elephants on a trip with President Clinton in Kenya in 2015. Photo Credit: Barbara Kinney / Clinton Foundation

Elephants: stop the killing, the trafficking, the demand

The way we treat the world’s animals is a reflection of our own humanity.

Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton founded the CGI Elephant Action Network (EAN) with the goals of stopping the killing of elephants, as well as stopping the trafficking and demand for elephant ivory. The coalition of nonprofit, corporate, and government sector organizations have pledged to coordinate their efforts and leverage their combined resources — resulting in more than 24 Commitments involving 52 nations.

This work includes efforts to secure and expand the habitat of elephants, capacity-building and support for park rangers, the development of a network of trained investigators and analysts capable of working across borders to effectively address wildlife crime and trafficking, and demand reduction campaigns to raise public awareness.

You can read more about the Elephant Action Network here.