Sharon Mullings-Neilson joined Reinvestment Fund in September of 2022 as a part-time Program Manager, ECE Client Engagement and Technical Assistance. Sharon has worked in the Programs department as a consultant for 2.5 years with Reinvestment Fund former staff member, Desmond Hudson. Prior to this position, Sharon was the Director of Woodland Academy Child Development Center a subsidiary of Greater Philadelphia Health Action Inc. located in Southwest Philadelphia. Under her direction, Woodland Academy has attained the designation of a Keystone Star IV facility. In addition, Woodland obtained a Fund for Quality (FFQ) Grant to form a partnership with Bartrams Garden to develop a state of art environmental-focused early care and learning facility. Through her and Bartram Garden’s leadership team Woodland Academy has secured 1.5 acres of land on 56th Street to develop a new early care and learning facility called the NESTT- Nature Engineering, Science, Technology and Theater. Along with this concept, Sharon helped engage the community to develop The Southwest Leadership Committee which serves as a governing body comprised of community leaders and youth that drives the decisions concerning the NESTT.
Sharon is the recipient of PENNAEYC’s The Voice Award and was recognized as the Keystone Stars emergent leader of the year-in 2009. Sharon has been working in the early childhood field for over forty years and has experience as a sole proprietor child development provider, working in early intervention, Head Start, Montessori, PreK Counts, School District of Philadelphia, school age, and infant and toddlers. She is a member of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) and served on the Advisory Board of “Success by Six,” a United Way initiative, Keystone Stars Stakeholders/ SERK Regional leadership committees, Stars Revisioning Think Tank and has written articles for the United Way publication, Aiming High. She was also co-chair of PECE Philadelphia for Early Childhood Education. Under her leadership as the co-chair of Philadelphia for Early Childhood Education (PECE) working with city council, the mayor, and private philanthropy won approval for a $500,000 investment from the City of Philadelphia, which, along with a $500,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation, represents a private/public partnership supporting the reinstating of a Facility Grant to provide facility improvements for childcare providers. In 2015, the investment from the City of Philadelphia doubled to $1,000,000.
Sharon Neilson has been very active in advocating for quality care for many years. She has been on the front line of demonstrating the necessity of quality care and early learning that is accessible to every child. She works with the Provider Committee to engage childcare providers and the community at large in securing funding and additional resources that will both raise quality care and compensate qualified staff. Sharon firmly believes that quality education that is accessible to every child from birth and beyond is essential to any community that is truly committed to securing future growth, advancement, and fiscal stability.