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Day Nursery Annual Meeting: Report from our Executive Director

Last Wednesday, our association held its annual meeting.  As a not for profit organization, the Day Nursery Association of Indianapolis gathers board members, staff and friends together each fall to recap the previous year. Our 2009 annual report was presented  (our usual timetable following the audit of  financials and compilation of details).  Today I would like to share with you the “state of the organization” remarks presented to our board by our Executive Director Carolyn Dederer at this meeting.


October 27, 2010

by Carolyn M. Dederer

 In Memoriam:  Laverne Edwards (July 4, 1946 — October 21, 2010), Day Nursery Teacher (1985 – 2008)

To bring us from the end of 2009 to today, I offer a few highlights of 2010.

First, consider the goals and successes of our 3 year Philanthropic Initiative, LEADING THE WAY.  It is truly remarkable that in these lean economic times, we have made considerable progress toward our goals. Indeed, people are responding, and so we have extended our time frame to 2013, with hopes our success will be even greater.

TEACHER EDUCATION LEVELS:  An average of 41 teachers per year is enrolled in college level courses, working toward a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, an Associate Degree (AA), or a Bachelors Degree (BA).  The graph illustrates the progress we have made toward our goals of 50% of lead teachers earning AA degrees and 25% of lead teachers earning BA degrees.  All assistant teachers have achieved CDAs or are on track to earn them.  This program is funded through 2011 and we will continue to raise funds for the following years.  chart of Day Nursery Indianapolis teacher education levels


Child Care Answers Ministries Mentoring Project:  Sixty one ministries are enrolled with the goal of raising the quality of care they provide.  Forty three of them have achieved 50% or more of their goals to date.  This program continues through June, 2011.

TUITION ASSISTANCE: Working to achieve a multi-year goal of $1,141,950, we have successfully raised $627,815 to date.  Because the needs are ongoing, we have to celebrate our milestones, year by year, and by the number of children we serve who otherwise would be unable to attend Day Nursery.  In 2010, 24% of our children received Tuition Assistance Scholarships that ranged from 10% to 60% of their tuition.Graph of Day Nursery Indianapolis tuition assistance needs

Additionally, we have established a donor recognition society, and called it “The Leading the Way Society”, to honor donors of $25,000 plus in cumulative giving.  Fifty five Day Nursery donors qualify for membership already, and we hope to increase membership over time.  Goelzer Investment Management, our endowment management partner, has sponsored the presentation of a limited edition print by Indianapolis artist Candice Hartsough McDonald to these generous supporters.

Despite the great success we have had with fundraising, we remain caught in a dilemma of fees that are at the top of the child care market, yet fail to cover all expenses.  We have a mission to serve the at risk population, yet government support for that population is limited and sliding fee scholarships of our tuition assistance program (TAP) are literally tapped out.  Our voucher and scholarship population, given current funding limitations, cannot grow.  Yet these are the
majority of people who are trying to gain access to our services.  Our full pay population, about 45% of the total, is the only place we can grow to fill the empty spaces in our centers.  With the current economic crunch, families are telling us they cannot afford another penny; indeed, many are leaving us out of economic necessity.  The net result is that we have more openings than are healthy to maintain services.  If we raise fees, we will lose many of the families we currently serve, while driving away potential new customers who cannot afford Day Nursery.  If we don’t raise fees, we must find even more new ways to raise our revenues.

We are exploring several entrepreneurial ventures that hold possibilities, but certainly will not change our world immediately.  They are meals-to-go programs, consultation contracts with outside vendors/partners, and children’s enrichment programs.  It remains our challenge into 2011 and the future to further develop these potential revenue sources, while continuing on the path of philanthropic development, especially endowment.

One could make the prediction that if ever there was a time where this is possible, this is it.  Early childhood education is at last being recognized for the important role it plays in every child’s young life.  The world is finally beginning to understand and value child development and early learning for the base it provides to put children on track to becoming successful students and, later, productive adults.  Immediate gratification, apathy, lack of funding, and competing priorities will always be a part of the educational picture, and represent the challenges we continually work to overcome.

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