Iowa Centers Increase Quality While Strengthening Businesses
Twenty-three (23) child care centers across Iowa have been recognized for their accomplishments as participants in the Growth Fund Program. In addition to numerous improvements to center operations and facilities, sixty-five percent(65%) of the participants also increased their star ratings in Iowa’s Quality Rating System, maintained at the highest level of 5 stars, or achieved National Accreditation.
Over the course of the multi-year program, each of the centers developed and implemented a customizedbusiness improvement plan, received individual consulting, group training, and received $10,000 in grants to support their plans. In addition, the center directors were provided with opportunities to network and exchange ideas with their peers, and to learn from business advisors in various areas of expertise from marketing to finances.
The centers’ work through the Growth Fund Program has led to: increased funding to the centers from other grants and donations, improved financial conditions, increased enrollments, reduced staff turnover, safety improvements and technology improvements.
The centers completing the program in 2014 are:
• 100 Acre Woods Child Care, De Soto
• Altoona 8th Street Child Care, Altoona
• Bidwell Riverside, Des Moines
• Calvary Preschool, Walcott
• Capitol Park Early Learning Center, Des Moines
• Children’s Garden, Des Moines
• Color My World Child Care and Preschool, Des Moines
• Cub Cadet Childhood Center, Latimer
• DMACC Child Development Center, Ankeny
• Hand in Hand, Bettendorf
• Holy Family Teddy Bear Club, Davenport
• Kiddie Karrasel Academy, Le Claire
• Little Blessings Daycare, Davenport
• Loving Arms Children’s Center, Johnston
• Perry Child Development Center, Perry
• Positive Parenting at Trinity, Davenport
• Postville Childcare Services, Postville
• Smith and Bulldog Early Learning Centers, Mc Gregor and Monona
• St. Ambrose University Children’s Campus, Davenport
• Sunshine Child Care, Des Moines
• The Scott County Family YMCA, Davenport
• TLC: The Learning Center, Charles City
• Westside Christian Daycare and Preschool, Davenport
According to Ann Bacon, Executive Director at Bidwell Riverside Center: “Bidwell’s participation in the Growth Fund has helped us to commit our focus on the business aspect of child development in a way that we had never done before…Not very many days go by where we don’t use what we’ve learned in our partnership with the Growth Fund.”
The next Growth Fund Program opportunity will start accepting applications in August in Scott County, Iowa. The program will provide an opportunity for another ten centers to develop their own business improvement plans and receive $10,000 each in grant funds to help carryout those improvements.
First Children’s Finance, a national nonprofit organization, provides financial and business-development assistance to child care businesses in Iowa and nationwide. The Iowa Growth Fund Program has been made possible through funding from Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, Iowa Department of Human Services, Northwest Area Foundation, R.J. McElroy Trust, Polk County Early Childhood Iowa, The Principal Financial Group Foundation, Scott County Kids, West Bancorporation Foundation, Women’s Leadership Connection, and other private donations and contributions.
For more information about the Growth Fund Program or First Children’s Finance, contact Heidi Schlueter at Heidi@firstchildrensfinance.org.
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