Community Foundation receives $100,000 Stronger Together grant to develop new supports for local child care providers

The Community Foundation of Bloomington of Monroe County has been awarded $100,000 from Early Learning Indiana to create a regional shared service hub that will help regional child care providers balance operational demands with providing affordable, quality care.

“We are honored to receive a Stronger Together grant from Early Learning Indiana and Lilly Endowment to continue improving child care services in Monroe County with a goal of expanding hub membership to early childhood programs in the Indiana Uplands region,” said Jennifer Myers, Monroe Smart Start Coordinator.

“Ultimately, our hope is that this model, once tested and refined in Monroe County, will be expanded across the Indiana Uplands,” added Myers. “Every community in our region would benefit from the tools and resources to streamline operations, reduce operating costs, support the professional development of staff, and offer services that are often beyond the capacity of independent early care programs. Through the creation of this regional pool of shared services, child care providers will be able to streamline their operations, save money, and focus more of their time on providing quality early care and education to children.”

The Community Foundation of Bloomington of Monroe County is one of seven grant recipients from across Indiana. With the grant funds, the Community Foundation, through its Monroe Smart Start leadership program, will create shared services to develop business leadership that helps to ensure full enrollment and assists with tuition collection, reporting, marketing, accounting support, and a substitute pool. The shared services hub will pilot in Monroe County and eventually extend support to child care programs in the Indiana Uplands region.

“Early care and education providers operate with razor-thin margins as they juggle the actual cost of providing care and the ability of families to afford it,” said Maureen Weber, president and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “The organizations we’ve awarded Stronger Together grants will directly impact the sustainability of local providers, influence the affordability of care for families and enable providers to focus their scarce time and resources on the business of learning.”

In addition to awarding grant funding, Early Learning Indiana has partnered with Opportunities Exchange (OppEx) to offer technical assistance to all grantees. OppEX is a national nonprofit consulting group working to transform the business of early care and education to improve child outcomes and ensure practitioners are well-compensated and work in supportive environments.

Learn more about the Stronger Together grant at https://earlylearningin.org/stronger-together/.

About the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County: Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion for Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted $27 million to local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $41.1 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources. Learn more at www.cfbmc.org.

About Monroe Smart Start:  A leadership initiative of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, Monroe Smart Start works on behalf of our community’s youngest learners, helping to ensure children are ready for school and ready for life. Since 2009, the Community Foundation has invested $2 million to support high-quality early learning in Monroe County through advocacy, training, education, parental engagement, and child-centered Monroe Smart Start initiatives. Learn more at www.monroesmartstart.org.

About Early Learning Indiana: Early Learning Indiana is Indiana’s oldest and largest early childhood education nonprofit, providing leadership, advocacy, and early childhood education services to continually improve the early learning landscape in Indiana. Today, Early Learning Indiana operates eight high-quality Day Early Learning centers, a network of premier community-based lab schools used to advance the science of early learning, train the next generation of teachers and leaders, and instill essential skills in the children we serve. Through regional and statewide programs, the organization enables early learning providers to build capacity, transform operations and improve learning outcomes. Learn more at EarlyLearningIndiana.org.