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Impact Story November 3, 2021

Sheltering Arms

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Reinvestment Fund financing is helping Sheltering Arms construct a new early childhood education and family center in the Peoplestown neighborhood of Atlanta.

Sheltering Arms is a 129-year old leader in early childhood education serving 3,400 children and their families in 15 high-quality centers in the Atlanta metro region. Fourteen of its centers are accredited by National Association for the Education of Young Children and about 90% of these families it serves receive subsidies.

Known as the Sheltering Arms Center at Barack and Michelle Obama Academy, the center is a strategic investment that is building on an existing educational asset to the community, the newly-named Barack and Michelle Obama Academy (formerly DH Stanton Elementary School). The two facilities are adjacent to each other and are working together to ensure their programs are aligned.

The new 26,600 square foot center will serve 180 children annually from 6 weeks to PreK in 14 classrooms. Sheltering Arms worked with the community in the planning and design for the center and is prioritizing the first available seats for families in the Peoplestown neighborhood.

The center will also have programming for the community beyond the children that go to there for care. An estimated 96% of the children the center serves will come from low-income families.

Reinvestment Fund is partnering with Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s Economic Development Authority and Bank of America on this New Markets Tax Credit transaction. Reinvestment Fund’s financing of $5.3 million, including a $600,000 participation from ANDP, is enabling Sheltering Arms to move forward with construction on the $9.3 million project.

Sheltering Arms is a National Head Start Center of Excellence, a member of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family Economic Success–Early Childhood Initiative Action Learning Network a part of the Educare Schools network. A key demonstration of its leadership is the SA Georgia Training Institute (GTI), which is an accredited early childhood education center, which Sheltering Arms created to provide professional development training on best practices in child development and family support to their own staff, staff of other childcare providers, and eligible adults interested in early child education. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has identified Sheltering Arms as a Center of Distinction—a recognition only 2% of Georgia’s centers have achieved.

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