Baker-Polito Administration Awards $6.5 Million for Early Education Programs; SMOC Receives $475,000 For Framingham Suburban Child Care

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BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) today announced $6.5 million in Early Education and Out-of-School Time (EEOST) grant funding awarded to seven organizations to help them renovate childcare facilities that serve low-income children.

Managed by the Children’s Investment Fund, CEDAC, and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, EEOST capital improvement grants help non-profit center-based childcare programs renovate or build high-quality childcare facilities which serve mostly low-income families.

“We are grateful to the educators and childcare providers statewide who have worked tirelessly to adapt over the last several months as we continue to combat the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through these grants, we are able to make improvements to child care programs that boost the quality of early education and care and provide families in communities throughout the Commonwealth with the resources necessary for success in the classroom and beyond.”

South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC)  in Framingham received $475,000.

SMOC plans to improve the existing Framingham Suburban Childcare program by installing a new HVAC system, as part of a larger renovation project at the facility.

The program has capacity for 140 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, and 156 school-age children, the majority of whom are from low-income families. 

“Now more than ever, quality childcare and resources are critical to families and children across the state,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our Administration is pleased to support these critical investments that provide safer environments for children to learn in, while providing educators with modernized facilities.”

During the FY20 grant funding round, early childhood education programs could receive awards up to $1 million for major capital projects.

“Child care providers across the Commonwealth are working every day to make sure that families are able to go to work and our youngest children receive the education, support and care that they need,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “In the upcoming round of grants that will be made available, group and school-age providers will be able to take care of critical repairs and improvements to meet new standards due to COVID.”

“The current public health crisis underscores the need for safe learning environments that support the healthy growth and development of all children,” said Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. “We are thrilled to be able to support these seven programs across the Commonwealth as they turn their projects into reality.”

The EEOST grants are financed through the state’s capital budget and provide matching funds that leverage private investment. The $6.5 million awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration for the FY20 EEOST grants will leverage more than $36 million in additional financing to improve learning environments for nearly 900 children.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so many early childhood education providers are struggling to meet the needs of vulnerable families and communities. It is gratifying to be able to announce that these seven programs will receive the necessary funding to create high-quality, safe and healthy learning environments,” said Theresa Jordan, director of the Children’s Investment Fund, an affiliate of CEDAC.

“We are happy to be working with providers across the Commonwealth to ensure that young children from vulnerable communities have access to high-quality early education, and we thank Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito for their ongoing support of the EEOST Capital Fund,” said Roger Herzog, CEDAC’s executive director. “Grants from the EEOST Capital Fund are vital to the early education sector, which in turn supports families and strengthens communities.”

Other organizations receiving awards were:

  • Berkshire Family YMCA (Pittsfield) will modernize its current early education and out-of-school time program space as a part of a larger renovation at the Pittsfield YMCA building. The project will increase slots available for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Once complete, the program will have the capacity to serve 95 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, and 39 children in out-of-school time programs.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield (Westfield) will build an addition to expand its existing out-of-school time program, including a new preschool classroom. Once complete, the program will have the capacity for 20 preschoolers and 280 children in out-of-school time programs. Grant award: $1,000,000
  • Community Action Incorporated (Haverhill) plans to upgrade the facility at the existing Fox Center Head Start program by installing a new HVAC system and roof. The program serves 106 toddlers and preschoolers, all of whom come from low-income families. Grant award: $1,000,000
  • East Boston Social Centers (East Boston) plans to create a new early learning program within the former Barnes School. The new center will encompass the ground floor of a multi-use building that contains affordable senior housing on the upper floors. Once complete, the center will have the capacity for 41 new infants and toddler-age children, a majority of whom come from low-income families. Grant award: $1,000,000
  • Guild of St Agnes (Worcester) will create a new early learning program within the vacant former Boys and Girls Club building. Once construction is complete, the Guild will operate the center, which is located within a new $14.4M arts and creative complex being developed in partnership between two non-profit organizations. The project will expand child care capacity with 88 additional toddler and preschool slots.  Grant award: $1,000,000
  • Old Colony YMCA (Brockton) will renovate the existing out-of- school time program spaces within the Brockton YMCA building, adding 26 new slots for out-of-school time children and improving the facility which cares for nearly 200 children.

All the programs receiving a grant award serve publicly subsidized families, have demonstrated financial need and have secured additional funding to pay for a portion of their project costs. The Department of Early Education and Care partnered with CEDAC’s affiliate, the Children’s Investment Fund, to administer the grants.

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Applications for FY21 grants are being accepted now. The new round of grants will allow for smaller amounts of funding, between $100,000 and $250,000, to offset capital improvement expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This special round of grant funding is intended to give early education and care centers funding resources to make improvements and emergency repairs to address health and safety.

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