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News March 30, 2020

Emergency Fund for Philadelphia Childcare Providers Impacted by COVID-19 Launches

Topic Initiatives

Fund with $7 Million from William Penn Foundation and the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program™ to sustain early learning providers, including childcare, pre-k, and home visiting programs serving children from birth to age five

Philadelphia (March 30, 2020)—William Penn Foundation, Vanguard, and Reinvestment Fund today announced a collaboration to support Philadelphia childcare providers who are struggling to sustain their businesses through closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A $5 million grant from William Penn Foundation and a $2 million grant from Vanguard’s Strong Start for Kids Program will launch the Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE), which will help Philadelphia continue its important progress in ensuring access to high quality early learning.

The Fund will support organizations that provide early learning for children from birth to age five. Licensed childcare, family childcare, pre-k, and home visiting programs in Philadelphia are eligible, including Head Start and Early Head Start providers. Providers of these programs can request assistance to sustain basic expenses, support new methods of helping families during the closure period, and support future needs required to reopen. The Fund will be administered by Reinvestment Fund, which will review applications and grant awards on a weekly basis, and will welcome additional contributions from foundations, corporations and individuals. To learn more, donors or those wishing to apply for support can visit

“Years of hard work and collaboration among early learning organizations have improved access to high-quality early childhood education for children who need and deserve a strong start,” said Janet Haas, M.D., Board Chair of William Penn Foundation. “This emergency fund will help ensure that Philadelphia’s early learning sector remains stable, so that our children continue to have access to high-quality early learning opportunities when our city emerges from this public health crisis.”

The supply of high-quality childcare in Philadelphia has increased from meeting 21% of demand in 2014 to nearly 30% in 2019, according to an analysis by Reinvestment Fund. This is an increase of approximately 10,000 children per year.

Loss of high-quality childcare capacity due to the financial distress caused by COVID-19 has the potential to undermine years of hard-earned gains to improve access to high-quality early learning for Philadelphia children. Research from the Nonprofit Finance Fund and the ECE Fiscal Hub noted that early childhood education programs in the Philadelphia region have about one month of liquidity to sustain operations. While the state of Pennsylvania and City of Philadelphia currently continue to provide public funding streams for childcare during this crisis, private payments including tuition and family co-payments for many providers have ceased, endangering programs.

“Vanguard’s Strong Start for Kids Program, our signature charitable initiative, is based on the same philosophy we share with our clients: investing early pays off,” said Carra Cote-Ackah, President, Vanguard Group Foundation and Executive Director of Community Stewardship for Vanguard. “As part of our global community response, we are dedicated to providing one of our hometowns with the resources necessary to give all children high-quality early learning experiences that will set them on the path to long-term success.”

“Philadelphia, and the country, face daunting challenges and it is clear we must increase our investments now to ensure that our children don’t suffer far into the future,” said Haas.

“In a time of crisis, we must step up and do everything we can so that our communities are protected and prepared,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President & CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “We are grateful to the William Penn Foundation and Vanguard for their exemplary leadership and prompt response with this collaboration to ensure that Philadelphia’s childcare providers can get the resources they need to weather this storm and preserve the high-quality learning opportunities and diverse learning environments available to support our children and families.”



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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