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Alex Crowley
Director of Economic Development
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City Grants Will Allow Child Care Centers to Serve More Children

Bloomington, Ind. - The City of Bloomington has awarded $75,000 to four child care programs to expand their capacity to serve area children.  The award recipients serve a cross-section of the city’s population, including low-income families. The awards will fund additional staffing, supplies, need-based financial aid, or facility improvements that will allow the centers to create additional spots for children by January 1, 2019.  The grants are part of a $100,000 allocation made by the Bloomington Common Council in 2018 in response to the City’s Wage Growth Task Force, which cited greater access to high-quality early childhood education as critical to long-term economic sustainability.

The four centers receiving grant funding include the Bloomington Center for Global Children, Penny Lane East, The Nest at New Hope, and Jill’s House Intergenerational Preschool.   Representing both nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses, the centers are all either Level 3 or Level 4 on the Paths to Quality state rating, accept federal child care vouchers, and are in the midst of growth, which the grants have been awarded to enhance.  

The City’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development (ESD) collaborated with the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and the City’s Community and Family Resources Department to develop the funding application and review requests.  Applications were emailed to known child care facilities within city limits and made available on the city’s website July 24. Applications were due August 14, and the centers were notified of their awards September 6.

Child care centers applying for funds made requests for a total of $313,573, more than four times the amount available.  “Although we know that early childhood education is key to successful individual and community outcomes, child care centers are struggling to stay afloat,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton.  “There is not enough quality, affordable child care to meet our community’s needs, so this funding is dedicated to increasing that supply.”

The four centers receiving City funding serve families across a broad swath of socio-economic need and provide unique educational experiences.  Penny Lane East currently serves 15 low-income families eligible for federal child care funding. The Nest at New Hope for Families serves the needs of children impacted by homelessness and poverty.  The Bloomington Center for Global Children offers a Spanish immersion experience for its students, and intends to establish a scholarship fund for income-qualified families. Finally, Jill’s House Intergenerational Preschool enriches its students’ experience through interaction with the senior citizen residents of Jill’s House Memory Care facility.  

Earlier this year, $25,000 of council’s original $100,000 child care fund allocation was distributed to the Compass Early Learning Center, operated by Monroe County United Ministries, to support its expansion following closure of the Northwest YMCA program, and to the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, to support Monroe Smart Start’s Pre-K Navigator, a position that supports On My Way Pre-K outreach and enrollment.  

Financial contributions to expand early childhood resources in Bloomington are accepted on an ongoing basis by the Community Foundation.  Information about making a gift of support to the Foundation’s “Thrive By Five” initiative is available at