The Hancock County Learning Center in Britt is getting a new look. Starting in April, the center began transitioning to nonprofit status.
A nonprofit day care is administered by a board of directors, often including member parents, which provides them a chance to be heard and participate in planning and operational decisions.
"One of the greatest benefits to a nonprofit status is the eligibility to apply for grant funding, which is not otherwise available to a for-profit day care center," said Hancock County Learning Center Board President Sarah Eisenman. "With the support of grants and fundraising, the day care center can meet its mission to provide quality and affordable day care."
The funding opportunities help a nonprofit center receive educational and staff training, get access to the latest in best practices performed in day care and learning centers, maintain compliance for required standards, and upgrade and correct facility structures as needed.
On the evening of April 8, the Hancock County Learning Center – now Hancock County Learning Center Inc. - received an exciting phone call. A local child care consultant with Child Care Resource and Referral of Northeast Iowa called Eisenman and asked “are you sitting down?”
The consultant shared that the day care center was just approved for grant funding that would empower it center to make immediate overdue compliance corrections. These corrections are necessary to sustain a license and operate a safe day care center. Without such funding, the center would be scrambling to conduct fundraising or have no choice but to raise the rates of tuition to the parents.
"Still in the midst of the pandemic, nothing would have been more upsetting than having to ask parents to pay more so that the doors could stay open," said Eisenman.
Eisenman said Hancock County Learning Center Inc. is blessed to have the support of local child care consultants with Child Care Resource and the Early Childhood Iowa – North Iowa Children’s Alliance. The timing could not have been more critical for the need. The day care center board is excited to begin transforming the center and utilizing the many educational and supportive opportunities available to the children, staff, and parents.
"The work-life balance that parents face is continually challenging as their lives demand more and more," said Eisenman. "Having to worry about the safety of children and quality child care should not be another added stress."
She said Hancock County needs a center that provides a wide range of operational hours, summer and winter support when school is not in session, reliable transportation and relations with the school, and a solid healthy and fun environment for children.
Reposted with permission from Jerry Smith of Globe Gazette - link to original article
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