Reinvestment Fund provided a loan to Acelero Learning for the acquisition of two Head Start child care centers it had been leasing in North Brunswick and Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Acelero is a for-profit provider of Head Start services across the country, specializing in taking over and turning around centers that have lost their funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and delivering impressive results for the students, staff, families and facilities. New Jersey Community Capital was a participant in the Reinvestment Fund loan.
As is typical for Acelero’s business model, Acelero was selected from a competitive application process to be the replacement grantee in North Brunswick and Perth Amboy. In stepping in to administer these Head Start centers, Acelero inherited the leases for the buildings. Both properties required significant improvements to deliver Acelero’s high quality classroom experience. Acelero invested, primarily with HHS grant support, in these two facilities prior to re-opening them in Fall 2010 for 150 children in 10 state-of-the-art classrooms. Following Reinvestment Fund’s loan to acquire the properties, Acelero embarked on further improvements to the Perth Amboy 22,000 square foot facility, converting former warehouse space to additional Pre-K and Early Head Start classrooms with a grant from HHS.
Established in 2001 by a former Head Start teacher and Children’s Defense Fund staffer, Acelero’s mission is to help local communities improve the quality of Head Start programs. In each of its centers, with the same amount of funding that had been awarded to previous grantees, Acelero has made impressive quality improvements. Acelero has expanded services to families, including an increased number of programming hours each day and number of days each year; renovated facilities; increased the enrollment capacity of the centers; increased the number of qualified staff and staff salaries; improved family advocate case loads; and positively impacted child outcomes at the classroom level.