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The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies announced eight grant awards totaling $318,750 from their Early Childhood Education (ECE) Fund. The eight recipients were announced and recognized at a press conference on Thursday at Treasured Times Learning Center in Ebensburg.

The ECE Fund was created to provide support for programs that focus on the educational, health, and social needs of young children within Cambria and Somerset counties. This year’s grant funding will support projects related to parental and caregiver engagement, educational programs, equipment and technology, annual scholarships, and childcare staff wages and incentives.

“This year we broadened some of our criteria in order to support even more organizations that are serving our region’s youngest learners,” said Angie Berzonski, CFA Associate Director. “We know that long waitlists for families, low wages for staff, and high turnover for providers is not just a problem here. It’s happening across the country. Our goal is to support the early childhood industry in our region while at the same time looking for innovative and sustainable solutions. These might be successful models from elsewhere that can be brought here or home-grown pilot programs built to meet our specific needs.”

The following grants were awarded:
• $7,500 to Beginnings Inc. for their Building Creative Foundations for Early Learning Project, which will increase caregiver engagement and promote social-emotional development, self-regulation, and ‘school readiness’ skills through creative arts, music, and movement.
• $100,000 to Cambria County Child Development Corporation (CCCDC) for their Preschool without Walls and Brighter Shining STARS programs. These programs will provide high quality learning opportunities for eligible low-income students at three CCCDC facilities: Treasured Times Learning Center, Morrell Neighborhood School, and Building Blocks Learning Center.
• $55,000 to Flood City Boxing Academy Inc. to expand and build-out their early learning classroom space for 5-8 year-olds, including equipment and technology.
• $6,000 to Laurel Arts for their Studio Kids Scholarship support, which provides annual scholarships for their preschool program.
• $18,500 to Small Town Hope Inc. for their Small Town Connections program, which integrates parental engagement workshops into their early childhood learning programs.
• $75,450 to The Learning Lamp for a pilot program to help boost staff wages and return its largest center to full staffing and enrollment, while sustaining reasonable tuition rates for families.
• $20,800 to YWCA to support its Kuddle Korner early learning facility with quarterly incentives for their caregivers, healthy snacks, and cleaning supplies.
• $35,500 to United Way of the Southern Alleghenies for their Early Childhood Coordinator Initiative, which is implementing a strategic plan that supports child health, nutrition, education, economic stability, and safety within our region.

For more information about our grantmaking, visit our website.

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