Early childhood providers awarded capital funds

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CPS recently awarded nearly $4.6 million in grants to 10 early childhood learning providers that are seeking to expand or enhance their facilities and serve more children, from birth to age 5.

The non-profit organizations received between $64,000 and nearly $1 million in the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) early childhood construction grant program, which each year sets aside a portion to be redistributed by CPS. The state’s Capital Development Board distributes the funds and monitors the programs on behalf of CPS. 

“We know that the early years are critical to a child’s future success, which is why we are committed to ensuring that all students are prepared for a 21st century education before they walk through our doors,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in a statement. “Through partnerships with community based organizations and city agencies, along with this grant from ISBE, CPS will expand seats to serve more of our youngest learners, putting them on a path for success at an earlier age so that one day they will graduate 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound.”

A total of 19 agencies – including licensed and license-exempted private nonprofit childcare centers – applied for the grants in a competitive grant process. The 10 awardees include:

  • Chicago Commons, for its Paulo Freire and West Humboldt Park centers, which serve Humboldt Park, the Lower West Side and New City. Award: $999,994.
  • El Hogar del Niño, which serves the Lower West Side. Award: $855,000.
  • Metropolitan Family Services, for its Learning and Wellness Center that serves New City. Award: $731,712.
  • Asian Human Services, for the expansion of its Leaf Program that serves Uptown. Award: $603,900.
  • Chicago Child Care Society, for its Best Beginnings Learning Academy I, that serves Englewood. Award:  $563,089.
  • Mary Crane Center, serving Rogers Park. Award: $464,105.
  • Concordia Place, for its Seeley Center, serving North Center. Award: $127,100.
  • Northwestern University Settlement Association, serving West Town. Award: $116,649.
  • Southeast Asia Center, serving immigrant and refugee families in Uptown. Award: $78,097.
  • Children’s Place Association, for its Arthur E. Jones Early Childhood Care and Learning Center, serving families citywide affected by HIV and AIDS. Award: $64,231.

The grant is intended to support the early childhood programs and may be used for the construction of new additions or facilities; purchase of equipment; safety improvements; or classroom conversions.

In addition, CPS also awarded funding to Camras, Hanson Park, J. Locke and McCormick elementary schools to expand opportunities for children, a CPS spokeswoman said.