Non-profit

International Step by Step Association (ISSA)

Website:

www.issa.nl/

Status:

International Non-Profit

Formation:

1999

Headquarters:

Hooglandse Kerkgracht 17-R, 2312 HS Leiden

Location:

The Netherlands

President:

Liana Ghent

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International Step by Step Association (ISSA) is a Netherlands-based 1 international membership association of early childhood-focused professionals primarily located in Europe and Central Asia. 2 ISSA was founded in 1999 after a group of organizations affiliated with the early childhood initiative Step By Step Program (funded by left-of-center political donor George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF))voted to establish ISSA. 3

As of December 2022, ISSA includes more than 90 member organizations in nearly 40 countries 4 and promotes the critical race theory-influenced concepts of social justice and equity throughout its programming. 5

Between 2021 and 2016, ISSA received at least $2,904,623 from the left-of-center Open Society Foundations. 6

History and Leadership

International Step by Step Association (ISSA) was founded in the Netherlands in 1999. 7 ISSA was created when a founding coalition of non-governmental organization (NGO) members of the Step By Step Program, an early childhood education initiative in 15 Central European and Eurasian countries founded in 1994 by left-of-center political donor George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF), voted to establish ISSA. 8

As of December 2022, ISSA includes more than 90 member organizations in nearly 40 countries, primarily located in Europe and Central Asia. Its members include 61 non-governmental organizations, 3 government/public bodies, 6 professional associations, 6 early childhood service providers, 2 private companies, 3 international organizations, and 10 universities/research centers. 9 ISSA provides capacity building, learning exchanges, partnerships, and networking opportunities to its members and runs programs and services for other stakeholders that are active in the early childhood development field. 10

Liana Ghent has been the executive director of ISSA since 2006. Ghent is a member of the executive leadership council of the Early Childhood Development Action Network and the World Health Organization (WHO) Advisory Group for the Nurturing Care Framework. 11

Activities and Funding

International Step by Step Association is an international membership association of early childhood-focused professionals primarily in Europe and Central Asia that seek to change existing approaches to early childhood education. ISSA envisions a society where all families, communities, and professionals embrace the critical race theory-influenced concepts of social justice and equity. 12

ISSA’s network of professionals grew out of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that were implementing the original Step by Step Program in 15 countries in Central Europe and Eurasia. 13 Left-of-center political donor George Soros said that the Step by Step Program operated under the thesis that the first six years of child development have a disproportionate influence on the rest of an individual’s life. 14

ISSA’s United States-based members are the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Worldwide Orphans Foundation. 15

ISSA’s approach mainly advocates for and supports early child education systems and a more qualified early childhood education workforce with an emphasis on learning, community, quality, and critical race theory-influence inspired “equitable” services for children, families, and practitioners. 16

Current ISSA programs include support for early childhood parenting, building workforce to engage with children, addressing social norms of parenting, nutrition, diversity, and supporting refugee children. 17 ISSA’s “diversity training programs” also promote critical race theory-influenced concepts of equity and social justice. 18

In 2021, ISSA organizations released 36,342 publications and hosted 3,441 events. 19 The association’s work is “underpinned” by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. ISSA is also a part of the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN), the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, the global initiative to end all corporal punishment of children, and left-of-center National Association for the Education of Young Children’s 20 Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education. 21

ISSA partnered with Results for Development Institute (R4D) to launch the early childhood workforce initiative in 2015. 22

Funding

International Step by Step Association receives its funding from grants, membership fees, and sales income. 23

In 2021, ISSA reported revenue of 1,224,509 Euros and expenses of 1,271,895 Euros. ISSA reported revenue of 1,543,064 Euros and expenses of 1,508,904 Euros in 2020. 24

International Step by Step Association receives support from liberal billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, UNICEF, Jacobs Foundation, Bernard van Leer Foundation, environmentalist Oak Foundation, and the European Commission.

In 2022, ISSA received $10,000 from the left-of-center W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 25 Between 2016 and 2021, ISSA received at least $2,904,623 from liberal billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. 26

References

  1. “About Us.” International Step By Step Association. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/about-us-history.
  2. “International Step By Step Association.” Devex. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/international-step-by-step-association-133630.
  3. Sarah Klaus and Liana Ghent. “First Steps: A Brief History of the Step by Step Program.” Open Society Foundations. November 17, 2014. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/first-steps-brief-history-step-step-program.
  4. “ISSA Annual Report 2021.” International Step By Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. Pg. 10-13. https://www.issa.nl/sites/default/files/ISSA_Annual_Report_2021.pdf.
  5. “International Step By Step Association.” Devex. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/international-step-by-step-association-133630.
  6. “Awarded Grants.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/past?filter_keyword=international+step+by+step.
  7.  “ISSA – International Step by Step Association.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/issa-netherlands/about/.
  8. Sarah Klaus and Liana Ghent. “First Steps: A Brief History of the Step by Step Program.” Open Society Foundations. November 17, 2014. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/first-steps-brief-history-step-step-program.
  9. “ISSA Annual Report 2021.” International Step By Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. Pg. 10-13. https://www.issa.nl/sites/default/files/ISSA_Annual_Report_2021.pdf.
  10. “International Step By Step Association.” Devex. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/international-step-by-step-association-133630.
  11. “Organization.” International Step by Step Association. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/Secretariat.
  12. [1] “International Step By Step Association.” Devex. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/international-step-by-step-association-133630.
  13. “About Us.” International Step By Step Association. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/about-us-history.
  14.  “Creating Open Societies: Step by Step.” Open Society Foundations YouTube Channel. Posted 2014. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnEEAMFgGhk&t=13s.
  15. [1] “Member Profiles.” International Step by Step Association. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/member-profiles?display_name=&name_3=All&name_2=All&name_1=All&membership_type=All&name_4=All&age_group=All&name_5=All&name_6=All.
  16. “International Step By Step Association.” Devex. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/international-step-by-step-association-133630.
  17. “Current Initiatives.” International Step By Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/current_initiatives.
  18.  “Embracing Diversity Program for Adults Training Manual.” International Step by Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/sites/default/files/u672/embracing%20diversity%20publication_short_for%20license.pdf.
  19. “ISSA Annual Report 2021.” International Step By Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. Pg. 5. https://www.issa.nl/sites/default/files/ISSA_Annual_Report_2021.pdf.
  20.   “Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education Position Statement.” National Association for the Education of Young Children. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.naeyc.org/resources/position-statements/equity.
  21. “About Us.” International Step By Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/about_us.
  22. “Results for Development Institute Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2015. Schedule O. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/208530747/201601939349301020/full.
  23. “ISSA Annual Report 2021.” International Step by Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/sites/default/files/ISSA_Annual_Report_2021.pdf.
  24. “ISSA Annual Report 2021.” International Step by Step Association. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.issa.nl/sites/default/files/ISSA_Annual_Report_2021.pdf.
  25. “International Step by Step Association (ISSA).” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. July 1, 2022. Accessed December 16, 2022. https://www.wkkf.org/grants/grant/2022/07/global-early-childhood-funders-6010023.
  26. “Awarded Grants.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed December 17, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/past?filter_keyword=international+step+by+step.
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