GPG celebrates 20 years of supporting local, statewide, national, and international public and nonprofit organizations!

California ECE Network Maps

Project Snapshot

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation


Create a map of the organizations and collaboratives working to affect early care and education (ECE) policy in California to serve as a tool to better connect the field and improve its ability to secure necessary policy changes and investments to develop a more robust early care and education system


August 2016 – July 2017

What We Did


GPG began this project with a discovery process to identify answers to the following questions respective to the ECE field:

  • What would be the value of network mapping?
  • What would be the most useful features of such mapping work?
  • How would stakeholders envision using the emerging maps?

Over a three-month period, GPG interviewed 22 individuals representing 15 organizations. Interviewees included researchers, policy advocates, chamber of commerce staff, government agency staff, philanthropy program staff, parent advocates, and statewide resource and referral network staff. 

Map Design and Development

Based on the results of the discovery process, GPG proceeded with the development of two maps:

  1. A map showing organizations that seek to affect and/or inform ECE policy at the state level
  2. A map showing collaborative efforts and groups that seek to affect and/or inform ECE policy at the state level

In the map design phase, GPG created a framework to specify what types of information to include in the maps. GPG decided which information to include based on how the result would impact user experience and map utility and on feasibility, given available project resources. GPG decided how to organize this information, resulting in the development of a taxonomy  for labeling and sorting organizations and collaboratives. Using this framework, GPG developed a data structure and collected publically available data from organizations’ websites, 990 forms, and other sources to create the maps.

The State Level Organizations Map taxonomy is comprised of the following fields: Type, Subtype, Nature of Work, General Focus Area, Specific Focus Area. The ECE Collaboratives Map taxonomy includes General Focus Areas and Collaborative Type. The full taxonomy can be viewed and explored here

To populate the two maps, GPG collected information on over 250 organizations and collaboratives. Each map has multiple “views,” or different ways to visualize the data, allowing users to access the information within the maps based on different attributes. More information on the different views can be found in the Results section below.


This project resulted in the development of two online interactive maps:

The State Level Organizations Map: Includes organizations working at the state level in California, and seeking to inform, influence, or affect ECE policy and includes the following views:

  • By Type: shows organizations clustered by type: public agency / government entity or non-profit organizations.
  • By Subtype: shows organizations clustered by subtype, including foundations, research institutes, associations/member-based organizations, subdivisions, collaboratives, and other. 
  • Nature of Work: shows the different types of work in which each entity engages (advocacy, professional development or technical assistance, direct services for children and families, funding, community organizing/social networking, media/communications, research).
  • By General Focus: shows organizations clustered by general areas of focus, including: formal early education, ECE workforce, child health, family engagement and strengthening, informal care, communities, and funding. 
  • By Specific Focus: goes a level deeper than the general focus view to show a greater level of specificity within each general focus area. It includes specific focus areas such as program hours, compensation, parental mental health, home visiting, the cost of quality, etc. 

The ECE Collaboratives Map: Includes collaboratives working at the state level in California, and seeking to inform, influence, or affect ECE policy. It also includes some large collaboratives at the local level that can inform state policy and includes the following views:

  • By Collaborative Type: shows collaboratives clustered based on the purpose of the collaboration, including technical assistance, advocacy, cross-systems coordination, intra-system coordination, and funding.
  • Members: shows the member-organizations of each collaborative. This view also weights member-organizations based on the number of collaboratives in which they participate; organizations that are displayed as larger circles are members of more collaboratives.
  • By Focus Area: shows collaboratives clustered by the same general areas of focus as the State Level Organizations Map.

To support the field to use these maps, GPG also:

  • Created the ECE Network Maps Website, which also includes technical assistance materials to support map use. 
  • Developed a set of map tutorials, from beginner to advanced, to help new users navigate the maps and maximize map functionality.