Data-driven Initiative Focuses Capital and Planning Services in High-Need, Low-Income Communities
Philadelphia, March 25 – The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and the William Penn Foundation announced a new partnership today to finance the expansion of high-quality early childhood education (ECE) facilities in Philadelphia. The Fund for Quality (Fund) will be a $7 million, three-year, first-of-its-kind local initiative that will provide a new source of capital and planning services for high-quality providers using data-driven analysis to expand their services to serve more children in low-income communities. The William Penn Foundation is providing $4.5 million to support planning efforts and capital awards towards the initiative. Remaining funds will come from TRF’s network of more than 850 investors.
Philadelphia does not currently have an adequate supply of high-quality early care and education services. Only 35% of eligible children receive publicly funded preschool services, according to Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare and the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. Philadelphia is home to only 165 high-quality ECE providers (defined as Keystone STAR 3 & 4 operators) out of almost 3,000 providers across the city, which means there are significant gaps in the availability of quality services to low-income children across the city. Given the enormous benefits of high-quality ECE experiences, including improved outcomes and school readiness for young children, Philadelphia needs a transformative initiative to expand services.
“When we think about the 100,000 children in Philadelphia under the age of 5 on the one hand, and the 15,000 high quality childcare seats on the other, it’s pretty clear that we have a major problem,” began Laura Sparks, Chief Philanthropy Officer at the William Penn Foundation. “Every child in this city deserves to hope, dream, and have a real future ahead of her.”
“The Fund for Quality investment will expand high-quality early childhood education facility capacity, which has never been done at this scale in Philadelphia before,” said Sharon Easterling, Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children. “In addition, the expansion project aligns with local, state and national initiatives to position Philadelphia to appropriately respond to new pre-K opportunities.”
As part of its effort to understand the gaps, the Foundation made a grant to TRF to develop comprehensive information about the availability of high-quality ECE in Philadelphia and the accessibility of child care for families with low-incomes. Currently, there is no single data source that provides a clear picture of the supply and quality of ECE providers. And where demand data exist, it is inadequate because there is no clear indication of which children are in child care and which are not; or which children are in child care near where their parents live or near where they work. To develop a strong analysis of the gaps, TRF combined data from several different databases to develop a methodology to best approximate supply, demand and gaps.
TRF’s analysis is accessible through www.childcaremap.org, an interactive tool that helps identify the neighborhoods where high-quality care is most scarce, and where investments are most needed. The tool was built by TRF’s PolicyMap team and is powered by its data and mapping platform, www.policymap.com. With options to look at the data by neighborhood, school catchment area, and political districts and with demographic, transportation, and economic data, the mapping tool and analysis will be used by a wide range of policymakers, child care providers, funders, and others to address the early childhood deficit in Philadelphia.
The Fund is the first of these uses. Providers interested in expanding to serve more economically disadvantaged children will utilize this tool to define gaps and outline expansion need in their applications. In turn, the analysis will help TRF and PHMC select Fund recipients and then target the resources and capital necessary to support providers in their efforts.
“Community facilities are essential to the development of healthy communities and ECE facilities are a cornerstone community asset,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, TRF’s CEO. “We are pleased to partner with the William Penn Foundation and PHMC on this groundbreaking strategic effort that uses smart data to understand gaps and target resources to increase access to this critical service in low-income communities. Expanding access will not only support working parents but also contribute to their children’s successful educational outcomes.”
The goal of the Fund is to create, at minimum, an additional 585 high-quality ECE seats in facilities that predominately serve low-income children in the City of Philadelphia. The impact of this Fund will grow as these seats continue to be available year after year. Unique in the grant making process, the Fund will offer the financial and operational planning supports necessary for ECE providers to achieve successful expansion projects. Awardees will be guided through an intensive planning phase that includes rigorous initial assessments, targeted development support, and predevelopment facility support, to ensure sustainable expansion projects. Pending successful completion of the planning phase, awardees will be eligible for capital funds allocated as grants or low-interest loans.
“PHMC is pleased to partner with The Reinvestment Fund and the William Penn Foundation to support the important work of increasing the availability of high-quality early care and education services in Philadelphia,” said Richard Cohen, Chief Executive Officer for PHMC. “By expanding high-quality services to communities of need, this project further delivers on Pennsylvania’s Rising STARS promise to give every child the opportunity to be ready for kindergarten and successful in school and beyond.”
For more information on The Fund for Quality, visit www.fundforquality.org.
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. PHMC currently operates Pennsylvania’s early care and education quality rating and improvement system, Keystone STARS, in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware counties and develops innovative business solutions to support childcare operations including the management software, ChildWare. For more information on PHMC, visit www.phmc.org.
About The Reinvestment Fund
TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities, through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has invested $1.3 billion in mid-Atlantic communities since 1985. A CDFI, TRF finances a variety of projects and activities including food access, health care, education and housing, to build healthy communities in under-invested places. TRF has more than 20 years of ECE facility financing experience, providing more than $18.5 million in financing to providers serving more than 15,000 children. TRF also provides public policy expertise by helping clients create actionable solutions and by sharing data and analysis via www.PolicyMap.com. To learn more about TRF, visit www.trfund.com.
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 close the achievement gap for low-income children, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance opportunity, ensure sustainability, and enable effective solutions.
Public Health Management Corporation: Lauren Nestler, LNestler@phmc.org, 215-985-2537
The Reinvestment Fund: Kavita Vijayan, Kavita.Vijayan@trfund.com, 215-574-5893
William Penn Foundation: Josh Peskin, JPeskin@williampennfoundation.org, 215-988-1830