Early Childhood Development Fund invests in children’s future

Pre-kindergarten students at Growing With Grace Christian Preschool and their teachers paused for a photo Tuesday on National Hat Day. A local fund, the Early Childhood Development Fund, has been established at the McKean County Community Foundation to help families pay for early learning programs like these.

Investment in early childhood education makes sense for so many reasons: economically, socially and developmentally.

A local fund, the Early Childhood Development Fund, has been established at the McKean County Community Foundation to assist families with financial needs in obtaining early childhood education for their children. Anyone can make an investment in the future of the community by donating to this special fund supporting early education in McKean County.

The Early Childhood Development Fund (ECDF) has a mission to support accessible child-centered care with tuition assistance. The fund is primarily established to support families with children enrolled in early childhood programs, but are at risk of withdrawing the child due to unforeseen financial hardships.

Non-profit agencies that provide early childhood education in the McKean County area are able to recommend a student/family with special financial needs to obtain funding assistance through the ECDF fund to help their child attend a qualifying program.

Bob Esch, board president of the McKean County Community Foundation, stated, “Investment in early childhood education can have long-term effects on graduation rates, college attendance and adulthood self-control and self-esteem. This fund will make a lasting difference in McKean County.”

A recently received letter described illustrated the difference early education can make: “I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am that you were willing to help my family out with our tuition. When we started school, my kids were so scared, didn’t want to leave me, had no confidence in themselves.

“My 2-year-old can count to 20, knows his alphabet, can recognize his name on things and has such an imagination. He isn’t so shy anymore and isn’t scared. My 4-year-old has just made leaps and bounds. From last year to today, it’s a complete 180. I am grateful for your generosity and compassion to us during our struggles. I try to keep my kids in things that will help them along life’s way and I’m glad they were able to attend this school year and stay there with your help.”

Early childhood education helps prepare the next generation of workers and contributes to a more prosperous community.

Lower-income families can face many issues when it comes to providing education and childcare for infants and preschoolers. For these families, the care of a young child is a double-edged sword. They cannot afford to pay for child care or send their children to early education programs. As a result, they are unable to enter the workforce to provide for a better lifestyle for their family because they must be at home caring for their children.

According to a 2018 article in Fortune Magazine, in 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, the cost of center-based infant care exceeded one year’s worth of tuition and fees at a four-year public university. The commitment of generous local donors who have embraced the cause of childcare and early childhood education is enriching the future of children in McKean County. Community-minded individuals and groups can support the Early Childhood Education Fund by making a donation through the McKean County Community Foundation at P.O. Box 708, Braford, Pa., 16701.

The McKean County Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen the region through development, stewardship and grant making as it works with donors to achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, contact MCCF at (844) 238-2289 or by e-mail at mccf@mckeancountyfoundation.org.


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