Recognizing that pre-K childcare is critical to helping parents maintain employment, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is opening the Ozarks Early Childhood Support Grant Program to reduce barriers for quality childcare.
The grant offers a total of $300,000 with up to $30,000 available per proposal. It is open to 501(c)3 nonprofit childcare centers serving kids ages six weeks to pre-K and also to faith-based programs within the CFO’s 58-county service region outside of the Springfield Public Schools boundary. The programs must serve at least 25% of families who are at or below the federal poverty line, and the programs must serve in a school district catchment area that has a 50% or greater free and reduced lunch rate. The funding for this program was awarded to the CFO by an anonymous funder interested in improving access to childcare.
Proposals can focus on subsidizing childcare costs for families as parents secure jobs; covering the cost gap for families as they await approval of state subsidies; and increasing childcare staffing through additional staffing or raising wages to attract qualified workers for open positions.
The deadline for applications is 11:45 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. For more information and access to the online application portal, visit cfozarks.org/applyforgrants.
CFO Board Chair Robin Morgan will chair the grant selection committee, which will be comprised of volunteers with expertise in the field and knowledge of the CFO’s work. Morgan agreed to serve as chair because of her interest in high-quality childcare options for working parents.
“Every child deserves a strong start in life,” Morgan said. “The goal of this new grant opportunity is to prepare kids to succeed in school, support working parents and help childcare centers attract enough qualified staff members to provide high-quality programs.”
In awarding grants, the CFO will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.