Community Foundation to distribute Wilson Foundation child care grants

Community Foundation to distribute Wilson Foundation child care grants

Rochester Area Community Foundation has been awarded a $384,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation to support small, home-based child care providers through its Small Grants for Small Children program.

RACF will work with the Child Care Council Inc. and Community Action of Orleans and Genesee Inc. to distribute grants of up to $2,000 each to nearly 200 home-based child care providers in Monroe, Genesee and Orleans counties beginning this month, officials said.

Child care providers will be able to use the funds any way they see fit, including helping them reopen or remain open to continue to provide high quality care to children.

“In-home child care has always been in demand. But the pandemic has more families looking at home-based options as a way to minimize their children’s exposure to large numbers of other children and adults,” RACF CEO Jennifer Leonard said in a statement. “This sudden need by families during an already difficult time has placed a great deal of strain on home care providers who want to help.”

In-home programs that serve between three and 12 children are most challenged right now, officials said. They are ineligible for many of the federal and state supports available to small businesses, which is exacerbated by the fact that most programs supporting small business do not address child care.

The grant is part of the Wilson Foundation’s $1 million investment to support the small, home-based child care providers across Western New York.

“Child care is essential now more than ever,” said Amber Slichta, vice president of programs at the Wilson Foundation. “Small, home-based child care providers rarely qualify for support and, in turn, do not view themselves as small businesses. It’s important that we continue to fill these gaps and uplift these providers, as they are often the only option for working families in rural areas and urban neighborhoods.”

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