The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies (CFA) recently announced eight grant awards totaling $215,000 from its Early Childhood Education Fund at a press conference at the Community Action Partnership of Cambria County’s Johnstown City Center. The ECE Fund aims to invest in the region’s future by giving more children access to high-quality early childhood care and education initiatives, CFA Associate Director Angie Berzonski said.
“The need for equipment and supplies that allow providers to increase services, particularly for infants and for children with special needs, was a more prevalent theme this grant round. But we also had many familiar requests that we’ve had for the past few years. Facilities are always in need of tuition support for families who cannot afford childcare but also do not qualify for subsidized programs. Facilities are always looking for ways to provide their staff with professional development and certifications. And they are also always in need of advanced curriculum and associated supplies that will help them achieve high-quality Keystone STARS designations,” Berzonski said.
The following grants were announced:
- $50,000 to the Cambria County Child Development Corporation to increase access to programming for 4-year-olds at several sites and for security upgrades at Treasured Times Learning Center in Ebensburg
- $40,000 to Mom’s House of Johnstown to provide tuition assistance and make facility upgrades to improve operational efficiencies
- $40,000 to The Learning Lamp for a final phase of upgrades at their Center for Children in Somerset
- $30,000 to Discovery Kids Daycare Center in Johnstown for facility upgrades and equipment to allow them to serve more infants ages 6 weeks through 12 months
- $20,000 to Richland Academy for staff professional development and certifications
- $15,000 to Small Town Hope for staff professional development, supplies, and equipment needed to launch the Tod-Pod preschool programming in Northern Cambria
- $15,000 to Community Action Partnership of Cambria County toward equipment, supplies, and resources needed to build out a sensory wellness room at the Johnstown City Center to support the challenges of children with social and emotional needs
- $5,000 to the YWCA of Greater Johnstown for equipment and supplies to grow and expand their Kuddle Korner Day Care in Windber.
CFA’s Early Childhood Education Fund was permanently established as an endowment in late 2022 with a gift from an anonymous donor after three years of concept testing to confirm the need and determine specific priorities. Despite strong advocacy on the state and federal level for increased governmental support, the ability to provide high-quality care and education for children from birth through Kindergarten remains a difficult challenge. It not only negatively affects the providers, but also children, families, employers, and entire communities. Anyone who is interested in supporting the effort in Cambria and Somerset counties can donate directly to the ECE Fund online at www.cfalleghenies.org/giving.