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News April 27, 2020

Emergency Fund for Childcare Providers Announces $1.2 Million in Awards in First Round

Topic Financing

More than 80 organizations receive support as Fund responds to community needs

Philadelphia, April 27, 2020—Reinvestment Fund announced $1.2 million in grant awards to 89 childcare providers, early intervention and home visiting service organizations under the Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE) program. PEFSEE is a collaboration of the William Penn Foundation, Vanguard’s Strong Start for Kids Program™ and Reinvestment Fund to support Philadelphia childcare providers who are struggling to sustain their businesses and early learning support for families through closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application for funding opened on April 6 and has received an overwhelming response with 418 applications to date from organizations looking to sustain basic expenses, support new methods of helping families during this period, and support future needs required to reopen.

“We want to ensure that Philadelphia’s early learning sector can emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, without a significant loss of capacity and expertise,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President & CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “The grants announced today and in the coming weeks will provide much needed support for the early learning sector and those who have worked so hard to build high-quality learning environments for our city’s children and families.”

The first round of awards reflects Philadelphia’s diverse landscape of early education providers serving the needs of children and families: 46% of awardees are single-site centers; 21% are multi-site providers; 12% are home-based family providers; and 12% are group providers. Of the total awardees, 85% are women-owned organizations and 71% are owned or led by people of color. The first-round awards are expected to preserve 1,387 jobs in the sector and maintain spaces for 11,766 children in licensed early learning programs. A full listing of grantees and their location is available at

“In one of the most uncertain times that we’ve ever experienced, being able to apply for and receive the PEFSEE grant was a huge sigh of relief,” said Aliya Johnson-Roberts, Executive Director, Bustleton Learning Center, which is a grantee in this first round. “It was easy to apply for, received quickly and does not have to be repaid. That is exactly the support that the ECE field needs, especially at this moment. We were heard and responded to and we are grateful!”

“Philadelphia’s talented early learning professionals provide a crucial service to our city,” said Janet Haas, Board Chair of the William Penn Foundation. “By preparing our youngest learners for kindergarten and the years beyond, early childhood educators make our city stronger. While emergency funding will help early learning programs now, we must continue to recognize and support them as this crisis recedes over time.”

“Vanguard’s Strong Start from Kids Program is dedicated to setting our youngest learners on the path for long-term success by ensuring all children have access to high-quality early learning experiences,” said Carra Cote-Ackah, President, Vanguard Group Foundation and Executive Director of Community Stewardship for Vanguard. “We will continue to support Philadelphia’s early childhood learning community by providing the resources needed to weather these unprecedented times.”

The communities within which providers are located was an important factor in the overall evaluation. Specifically, providers were evaluated in terms of their ability to meet the needs of communities with gaps in high-quality childcare (as evidenced by Reinvestment Fund’s most recent gap analysis available at: as well as communities with high concentrations of families with incomes less than $32,000 for a family of three (150% of the poverty level) and areas with large concentrations of jobs paying under $15,000 per year.

With the infrastructure in place, Reinvestment Fund continues to ramp up the program and will be announcing awards on a rolling basis. Any provider not included in the first round of awards should note that unless otherwise notified, applications have not been denied. Applicants will be notified when a final decision is reached on their application and should continue to check the PEFSEE website for regular updates about the program.

PEFSEE aims to replace lost revenue for providers who have had to close operations due to the pandemic or to cover additional expenses incurred as a result of continued or modified operations. The Fund is currently prioritizing early learning organizations that need support to sustain basic expenses, particularly payroll and rent and mortgage assistance; those offering temporary educational enrichment or supporting child and family needs such as diapers, formula, or other materials usually provided; and those offering care for children of essential workers.  PEFSEE’s initial goal remains constant: upon the conclusion of this crisis, high-quality early learning services for children ages 0-5 are maintained for our city’s most vulnerable populations.



About Reinvestment Fund

Reinvestment Fund is committed to building strong, more equitable communities by making health, wellbeing, and financial security available and accessible to families, regardless of income or zip code. We integrate data, policy and strategic investments to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. Using analytical and financial tools, we bring healthy food projects, affordable housing, schools and health centers to the communities that need better access-creating anchors that attract investment over the long term and help families lead healthier, more productive lives. More at


About the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program

Vanguard’s signature charitable initiative, the Strong Start for Kids Program, provides funding, volunteer time and talent, and other nonfinancial assets to give children growing up in poverty in Arizona, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania the opportunity to grow, thrive, and learn, with a focus on improving kindergarten readiness. Launched in 2016, the program has committed more than $36.2 million in grants to agencies in Arizona, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. The program has funded in-home visits by trained practitioners to improve parenting skills, expanded high-quality early learning programs, and provided more than 450,000 books to children from low-income families.


About William Penn Foundation

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In 2020, the Foundation will grant $117 million to support vital efforts in the region.

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