New Iowa Growth Fund Class Selected

We are pleased to announce three child care centers to participate in the next cohort of our Growth Fund Program.

The centers selected to participate in Growth Fund Class 7 are: Family YMCA of Black Hawk County, Grin and Grow, and Tri-County Head Start. The centers, all located in Black Hawk County, will join 28 other Iowa child care centers around the state that are already strengthening quality and business practices through their participation in the Growth Fund Program.

The Growth Fund Program helps the child care center director and the board to strengthen their programs by developing a business improvement plan and putting it into action. The centers, selected through a competitive process, have demonstrated their track record of service to the community, a commitment to quality care, and the potential to increase or make improvements to their services.

The Growth Fund Program recognizes that quality child care for children in their earliest years yields tremendous human, economic and social benefits – and reduces costs to individuals and communities later, said Heidi Schlueter, First Children’s Iowa Director.

“Iowa’s children deserve the best possible child care experience,” said Schlueter. “Quality care during their early years assists in brain development and prepares them for lifelong learning,” she said.

As participants in the Growth Fund Program, center directors will develop plans to identify and tackle critical business issues in finance, marketing, human resources, strategic planning, leadership and facilities development. Centers will then receive grants to fund quality improvements. They will also gain business expertise from training opportunities and the support of volunteer business advisors from the area.

First Children’s is thankful to numerous volunteers and partners that are making this program possible including: the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, R. J. McElroy Trust, Iowa Department of Human Services, Lincoln Savings Bank, Child Care Resource and Referral (Region 2), Cedar Valley’s Promise-Early Childhood Task Team, and our volunteer Growth Fund advisors.

Former Growth Fund Program participant, Linda Jacoby, Executive Director of Cedar Valley Preschool in Cedar Falls, said the help her center received was beneficial. “In addition to the grants, I found the training and consultation from First Children’s Finance to be very valuable.” She added, “As a result of our participation in the Growth Fund, we were able to increase our connections in the community and raise funds to improve our facilities. Networking with the business advisors and other center directors was also extremely helpful. You realize you’re not alone. There are others who can help and advise you.”

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