Advancing Parenting

What if proactive parenting education reached everyone, everywhere, all the time?

Photo of David Dooley

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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

Two things inspired me. 1) The frustration that after thousands of years of trial and error parenting, unsupportive and harmful parenting still exists, and 2) the scholarship of economist W. Edwards Deming.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)


Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • California

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]


Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • California

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]


Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Advancing Parenting's activities prevent unsupportive and harmful parenting. Poor parenting still exists because parenting behaviors and practices are often passed from one generation to the next. The remedy is parenting education, but not conventional, reactive parenting education. Advancing Parenting is pioneering passive/public parenting education, a proactive, community-based, public health approach that reaches everyone everywhere.

Advancing Parenting is a grassroots, Bakersfield, CA based nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the quality of parenting in communities.  Toward that end, we place concise and unambiguous parenting tips in public spaces, including but not limited to windows of stores, offices, restaurants, automobiles, lawn signs, and electronic billboards.  This, in an effort to raise the quality of parenting and thereby reduce child abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, crime, and improve educational outcomes for children. 

Our plan is to 1) employ increasingly impactful media to display the parenting tips, and 2) expand geographically until Advancing Parenting's activities are a national phenomenon. 

This will take millions of dollars, but the return on investment and reduction in human suffering will be well worth it.

Visit to see the list of fifty parenting tips.  They have recently been adjusted to reflect social norms theory.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • No, not explicitly

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Child and Family Services
  • Mental Health

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Parenting tips on cars and other windows may seem kind of silly, but it was the least expensive way we could get things rolling. It turns out they're very effective. Every car with a tip is a little parenting educator out in the community doing its job 365 days a year. One tip on just one car driven for twelve months will be viewed thousands of times by thousands of different people of all ages. If you watch in the rear view mirror at stoplights you can see people reading the tip, nodding, and smiling. If there are passengers in the car conversations begin. Drivers give thumbs up, and I've lost count the number of times people have taken out their phones to take a picture of the tip. Visit

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

At this time the impact of our work is unknown...although there has been lots of positive feedback. Bakersfield's population is about 300,000 and there are tens of thousands of cars. With the $15,000 in donations we have received since 2012 we have placed tips on about 100 vehicles and purchased one month of airtime on one electronic billboard. We are seriously constrained by a lack of funding. Our plan is to 1) employ increasingly impactful media to display the parenting tips (appealing school age spokespersons presenting the tips on conventional and electronic billboards and semi trailers), and 2) expand geographically until Advancing Parenting's activities are a national phenomenon.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $1k - $10k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Advancing Parenting has no special plan to sustain itself. We write grants as fast as we can and solicit donations to fund our activities. Advancing Parenting is in fact a one man operation. There are no employees, no office, and Advancing Parenting incurs no expenses other than the cost of purchasing and displaying the parenting tips.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

Yes, other organizations are doing parenting education...conventional parenting education. What sets Advancing Parenting apart from the other proposals is what we don't do. We do not do intervention, healing, rehabilitation, treatment, or recovery. We do not try to fix broken people and broken families. Advancing Parenting prevents problems before they occur. We do primary prevention. There are no other entities engaging in this kind of parenting education. Advancing Parenting is pioneering passive/public parenting education. Visit

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

The ACE Study,, tells us what the problem is and how serious it is. The solution is to proactively improve the quality of parenting in communities, and passive/public parenting education is how it can be accomplished.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Email

Evaluation results

14 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 25%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 25%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 33.3%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 8.3%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 8.3%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 38.5%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 15.4%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 15.4%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 7.7%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 23.1%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 7.1%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 14.3%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 35.7%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 14.3%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 28.6%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 7.1%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 28.6%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 14.3%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 14.3%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 35.7%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 37.5%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 62.5%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 37.5%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 12.5%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

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Attachments (2)

semi trailer.pdf

very rough example of parenting tip on a semi trailer


Join the conversation:

Photo of Randi Rubenstein

Hi David,

I'm so glad you submitted this concept to the Challenge!  I love how your ideas continue to grow and flourish over the years.  Your program offers a broad population reach, raises cultural awareness about the importance of parenting (among all the other topics competing for our attention), and inspires dialogue.  I hope others will come forward to supplement your efforts with structural research background, modeling, and measurement so your vision can continue to grow and be fulfilled.  Keep up the Great Work!

Photo of David Dooley

Thanks for writing and the encouragement Randi.  Measurement is a real bugaboo for me.  Since parenting is an eighteen year commitment, how can I show results within a grant's time frame???  Over a period of years the rates of child abuse, substance abuse, etc. will decline, but grantmakers can't wait.  Providers of conventional parenting education can take attendance and give pretests and posttests.  All I can do is provide anecdotal evidence and estimate the number of times tips are viewed.  It's a real frustration.

Photo of David Dooley

Randi, you should pick out a tip and let me put it on your car the next time I'm down south visiting my daughter.

Photo of Randi Rubenstein

I totally understand about the research challenges, especially when working in prevention and interventions that have broad public outreach.  The solution may be a logic model that breaks the process down into incremental steps (e.g, awareness, knowledge, behavior), and then compares one small geographic area with one that has comparable demographics.  Thanks for the offer to meet and put a tip on my car - Sounds great!!

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