An expanded Come Back Stronger Fund will help sustain high-quality programs
INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 17, 2020) – Early Learning Indiana announced today that another round of Come Back Stronger Fund grants will soon be made available to help sustain Indiana’s supply of high-quality early care and learning opportunities.
Beginning in January, Early Learning Indiana will provide nearly $12 million in grants to child care programs statewide. The effort is made possible through the combination of a new $10.4 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Early Learning Indiana and funds remaining from a previous Lilly Endowment grant made in May.
Early Learning Indiana awarded $13.1 million in Come Back Stronger Fund grants earlier this year to 1,025 Indiana child care programs. More than 45,300 Hoosier children have continued to have access to safe, high-quality child care experiences amid the pandemic thanks in part to support from the fund. However, the pandemic still threatens the viability of Indiana early care programs.
“Access to high-quality child care is critical to families, communities and our state’s ability to recover from the pandemic,” said Early Learning Indiana President and CEO Maureen Weber. “Our goal with this second round of funding is to continue helping our state’s highest-quality providers to ensure they’re here to serve families when the pandemic is over.”
Early Learning Indiana expects to have made a total of $25 million in grants to Indiana’s early care and learning providers when the second round of the Come Back Stronger Fund comes to a close.
Licensed and registered centers, ministries and family child care home providers in Indiana serving children ages 0-5 are eligible to apply for grants. Programs must be operating at Paths to QUALITYTM Level 3 or 4, or Level 2 with a demonstrated commitment to achieving higher quality. Grants will vary in size based on enrollment. Programs that serve a significant number of children from low-income families will be eligible for increased amounts.
Grants will enable programs to continue enhanced sanitation practices, sustain staffing models that minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 and refresh individualized materials and toys to limit cross-contamination among children, while maintaining an environment that stimulates child development. Allowable uses now also include efforts to combat learning loss, such as the cost of designing and implementing developmentally appropriate activities that will help children and families compensate for time spent outside of educational environments as a result of the pandemic.
“Reliable, high-quality child care is essential for the healthy development of children and for Hoosiers working hard to provide for their families during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and it will continue to be needed when the pandemic subsides,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “Lilly Endowment is pleased to support Early Learning Indiana’s efforts to help ensure that Indiana’s early childhood programs can continue to help children learn and families thrive now and in the future.”
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. More information is available at EarlyLearningIndiana.org.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.