The "Too Small to Fail" initiative promotes scientific research about early childhood development, the foundation and Next Generation said in a joint statement.
"One of the best investments we can make as a nation is to give our kids the ingredients they need to develop in the first five years of life," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in the release. "We will help bring together the tools that will give children the chance to succeed by the time they're five, so that when those kids get to school, they're able to compete, they are more able to pursue their own dreams."
In addition to promoting research on the development of children's brains, the initiative will encourage parents to take simple actions to improve a child's learning and health. It also will work to get commitments from private sector businesses to improve conditions for families.
The foundation and Next Generation also plan to start nationwide conversations about childhood development.
Jim Steyer, co-founder of Next Generation, said it was "economically irresponsible to think we can continue to thrive as a nation with generations of kids who aren't prepared to enter an increasingly competitive global economy."