In 2015, the Packard Foundation launched Starting Smart and Strong, which invests in three California communities—Fresno, Oakland, and San Jose—seeking to integrate best practices in adult-child interactions into each community’s early learning systems, and to eventually scale what works. The initiative takes a place-based approach, which means that guiding principles and practices shape the work, but each community is on its own unique journey. In this article published in the Foundation Review, Packard Foundation program officers Jeff Sunshine and Bernadette Sangalang reflect on their work on the initiative three years in, and offer insights that could be helpful to other partners in the early learning system and in philanthropy more broadly. For example, they discuss the importance of building authentic relationships with grantees, staying open and receptive to feedback, and what it means to engage in place-based work as a funder, community collaborator, and thought partner. Learn more about these and other insights at the link below.