September 5, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS – United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) today announced it has awarded capacity-building grants totaling $269,511 to 12 early learning providers in Central Indiana. The grants will enable high-quality programs in seven areas with significant need for pre-k to serve an additional 160 Hoosier children from low-income families. The investments are made possible by gifts from 20 Central Indiana companies – including many who championed expanding access to high-quality pre-k during the 2017 Indiana legislative session.
“Early education providers rarely have the resources to significantly grow the number of children they serve,” said Ann D. Murtlow, president and CEO, United Way of Central Indiana. “This round of capacity-building grants will help bring high-quality pre-k programs to scale in targeted communities where there is robust unserved demand. We applaud the generosity of the Central Indiana business community. The grants announced today are a perfect example of the role that business and philanthropy can – and should – play in expanding quality pre-k in Indiana.”
The nearly $270,000 investment announced today is part of a more than $1.2 million total investment in capacity-building to date. It’s also a key component of UWCI’s Early Childhood 10 Year Plan, which aims for 80 percent of Central Indiana early education providers to be high-quality — as reflected by a Level 3 or Level 4 designation on Indiana’s PATHS to Quality rating system— by 2020. Today, 37 percent of Central Indiana pre-k providers are considered high-quality.
The 12 grantees chosen for this round of funding were selected based on their proximity to high-poverty neighborhoods with limited existing quality pre-k options. In the seven high-need ZIP areas where capacity-building grantees are located, on average nearly half of children ages 0-6 live in poverty.
This round of capacity-building grantees — and their company sponsors — include:
“We have seen the transformative effect that pre-k has on children, families and the community at large,” said Elisa Wethington, preschool coordinator and coach, East Tenth United Methodist Children and Youth Center. “We’re grateful for this grant from UWCI and its partners in the business community because it allows us to open our doors to more children who stand to gain from pre-K’s many academic, social and emotional benefits. This funding also enables us to focus on doing what we do best –providing an exceptional first learning experience for kids who need it most.”
“Cummins is very pleased that two of our eastside partners, Daystar Child Care Center and East 10th United Methodist Children and Youth Center, received capacity building grants to provide additional pre-k opportunities,” said Mary Titsworth Chandler, Vice President Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility, Cummins Inc. “Our state has worked hard to grow the number of quality providers, which has nearly doubled in the last five years, but we have still much more work to do. That’s why growing the number of children who can access high-quality pre-k is at the front and center of our ongoing efforts to expand opportunity for Central Indiana students. Increased high-quality pre-k access can help our youth flourish and create a stronger, more economically and socially vibrant state for generations to come.”
The grants announced today come on the heels of a successful push led by UWCI and a coalition of business, philanthropic and civic leaders to grow Indiana’s existing, yet limited pre-k program in the 2017 legislative session. The Indiana General Assembly voted to increase funding for the program to $22 million, an investment that will allow many more children from low-income families the opportunity to access a strong start in school and life.