Child care is critical to ensuring families can thrive. Dependable, quality care allows parents to focus on their careers, resting assured that their children are having enriching experiences and education. Building on efforts to expand access to quality child care, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque has partnered with the Morgridge Family Foundation to provide grants to expand and empower child care providers in rural Eastern Iowa.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on child care providers and the Community Foundation has provided funding from the Morgridge Foundation to address the challenges centers face today — such as finding and retaining qualified staff, lost revenue due to closures, decreased enrollment, and the need for additional cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. Eight grants totaling $26,400 were awarded to child care centers in Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties, where the Community Foundation hosts local affiliate foundations.
“We have such a balancing act to retain staff and keep child care costs affordable for our working families,” said Bill Robinson, board member of Garnavillo Community Daycare. “These bonuses and incentives strengthen our work.”
Grant recipients are: Kids Kampus Community Childcare, Guttenberg; Garnavillo Community Daycare; The Kid Project Community Child Care Center, Dyersville; Community Childcare of Manchester; Clinton YWCA; Lions Learning Center, Olin; Andrew Little Leaders; and Little Shepherd Daycare, Maquoketa.
“This funding is amazing,” said Barb Meyers, director at The Kid Project in Dyersville. “It makes my day and it will delight our staff.”
High-quality child care is important: 90% of a child’s brain develops in the first five years of life, and studies show that children who have quality care prior to kindergarten have improved school readiness skills and are more likely to graduate from high school and succeed later in life.
In 2016, the Foundation conducted an assessment to understand what challenges were preventing people from accessing opportunities that would help them thrive. A key finding was that parents struggle to find affordable, quality care for their children, which can prevent them from holding jobs.
With the understanding that child care is a critical piece of infrastructure that drives economic growth, the Foundation hosted a summit in 2018 that brought together leaders invested in improving access, affordability and quality. As a result, new partnerships have formed that are helping address this need for families across the region.
“At the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, we work in the world of philanthropy, a word that translates to ‘love for humanity,’” said Nancy Van Milligen, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Because of this love, we have a relentless focus on ensuring our youth — the future of our community — can succeed in school and in life. It’s why we work with local organizations and our affiliate foundations to holistically address children’s needs.”