Fund For Quality Awardees Announced Today to Add 850 Seats for Children in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, September 4, 2014 – Representatives from The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and the William Penn Foundation gathered today at PHMC’s headquarters at 1500 Market Street to officially announce recipients of The Fund for Quality (FFQ) awards. FFQ provides capital and planning services for the expansion of high-quality early childhood education (ECE) facilities in Philadelphia as part of a $7.6 million, three-year, local initiative.
The awards drew more than 30 applications from high-quality child care and community providers. Of those received, 14 were selected for awards. The projects include the renovation of existing facilities and expansion to new facilities, and are expected to help serve an additional 850 children across the city.
“The William Penn Foundation is committed to ensuring that children from low-income families in Philadelphia have the great learning experiences needed for success. Research suggests that providing high quality early learning experiences is one of the most effective and efficient ways to accomplish this goal,” said Elliot Weinbaum, senior program officer at the William Penn Foundation. “Currently, only about 15% of the spots in early childhood education in Philadelphia are in high-quality centers. We believe that this program can help high-quality providers to serve more children, and prepare them for a strong start in school and in life.”
Among the awardees is nonprofit Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha Inc. (APM), which has been serving the Eastern North Philadelphia community since 1971. APM is renovating space at its former headquarters, reconfiguring it to relocate and expand their ECE services. This project will build four new classrooms for up to 80 preschool children. Twenty of the seats will be filled by children relocated from a neighboring site, leaving 60 new seats.
“We are thrilled with the overwhelming response that FFQ has received and look forward to working with the awardees and our great partners at PHMC and WPF to facilitate this important work,” said Bevin Parker-Cerkez, Loan Officer at TRF and Project Director of FFQ. “This work will result in the expansion of high-quality care in areas of Philadelphia where it is most needed, complementing TRF’s ongoing efforts to build healthy, vibrant communities.”
Philadelphia does not currently have an adequate supply of high-quality early care and education services. Philadelphia is home to only 169 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.
“Together with the William Penn Foundation and TRF, we are pleased to name funding recipients and begin guiding them through the planning phase for successful, sustainable project expansion,” said Natalie Renew, PHMC’s Managing Director of Early Childhood Education. “By expanding high-quality services to communities in need, FFQ aligns with the Pennsylvania’s Rising STARS promise to give every child the opportunity for kindergarten readiness and success in school.”
Given the enormous benefits of high-quality early childhood education (ECE) experiences, including improved outcomes and school readiness for young children, Philadelphia needed a transformative initiative to expand services. 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. 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 William Penn Foundation provided $4.5 million to support planning efforts and capital awards as part of the initiative. Remaining funds come from TRF’s network of more than 850 investors. Providers interested in expanding to serve more economically disadvantaged children utilized the childcaremap.org tool to identify gaps and outline expansion need in their applications. In turn, the analysis helped TRF and PHMC select Fund recipients and target the resources and capital necessary to support providers in their efforts.
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. In addition, PHMC was recently named the administrator for Head Start programming in Southwest Philadelphia, serving more than 600 children and families through the Philadelphia Head Start Partnership. 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 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 partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance opportunity, ensure sustainability, and enable effective solutions. Since inception, the Foundation has made nearly 10,000 grants totaling over $1.6 billion. The Foundation’s assets totaled over $2.2 billion as of December 31, 2013.
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: Rebecca Morley, email@example.com, 215-370-5619