The Center For Childhood was founded in 1985 as The Museum of Childhood by Jon Lappen who believed that such an institution, modeled on the European concept of a museum of childhood culture, would be an innovative and effective way to educate a broad audience about childhood and to promote intercultural respect. The original plan was to collect toys, dolls and childhood artifacts and to initiate exhibitions with educational components. From 1985 to 1987, pilot exhibitions were held throughout Southern California.
In 1987, the Board of Directors became concerned about the increase of child abuse, domestic violence, drug use, teen pregnancy and the lack of quality child care programs. They began to focus on a different question: What could this institution do to enhance the daily lives of children?
After a series of roundtable discussions with teachers, administrators and other professionals concerned with children, The Museum of Childhood changed its name to The Center For Childhood and adopted a new mission. Since then, The Center has undertaken numerous projects to achieve these objectives.
The Center's goal is to make all its educational programs and services diverse and community-based. We seek to reach out to Southern California's many ethnic groups and to join with neighborhoods, corporations and government institutions whose goals are similar to our own.
All of our projects are collaborative in nature. We see this as the most effective way to make meaningful improvements.
We were founded in 1985 as the "Museum of Childhood" and, two years later, changed our name to the "Center for Childhood". Below is a copy of the Internal Revenue Service's November 18, 1985 "determination letter", as well as the certification of our name change. This IRS letter certifies that we are a validly-formed non-profit entity, sometimes known as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We are proud that for nearly 30 years we've been helping children and their families!
We are committed to our donors and friends knowing everything about us that they would like to know. Therefore, you can click here to view our federal tax returns ("Form 990").