Recipients announced for $1.6M in Vermont early childhood fund grants

Vermont Business Magazine Building Bright Futures (BBF) has announced a new round of grant recipients for the Vermont Early Childhood Fund (VECF), totaling $1.6 million for projects focused on Vermont children and families. 

Thanks to these grants, awardees in every region of Vermont will be able to pursue important and innovative projects, including:

  • Creating more than 75 early childhood care and education slots across multiple counties

  • Increasing access to supports for educators, caregivers and parents through behavioral interventionists, family support workers, speech and language pathologists and wraparound services

  • Removing barriers to child sexual abuse prevention education by providing free training and materials

  • Expanding early childhood education workforce recruitment and training

  • Providing free, facilitated playgroups and parental engagement opportunities, including piloting an affinity group for BIPOC families

  • Hiring a bilingual Community Health Worker to ensure immigrant and migrant families have equal access to health, social and educational opportunities 

  • Improving the quality of early childhood care and education through professional development programs, including Early Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (EMTSS), Schools Excelling in Emotional Development (S.E.E.D.), First Steps Training Program, Montessori Guide Training, Reggio Emilia Approach, System for Program Access to Resources for Quality Supports (SPARQS) and Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

  • Growing the community doula workforce to increase access to prenatal, birth and postpartum supports, with special focus on the unique needs of marginalized families

  • Encouraging families to complete developmental screenings by providing free museum memberships, and providing follow-up supports and resources

 

VECF supports creative solutions to improve the well-being of children through age 8, their families and the Vermont communities where they live. VECF was established in 2021 thanks to a generous grant from a private donor and was able to continue to fund projects in 2022 and 2023 with support from the Sunflower Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation. VECF is now funded by the Vermont Integration Project: Building Integration in Vermont’s Birth–5 Early Childhood Systems (VIP B–5) Preschool Development Grant. Thanks to this federal grant, VECF expanded its funding substantially this year, from $105,000 for projects carried out in 2023 to $1.2 million for the grants awarded in December 2023 and $1.6 million for this round of projects. Expanded funding is slated to continue through 2025, with a total of nearly $6 million granted over three years.

The Innovation Grant ($100,000 to $200,000) has the goal of creating innovative, replicable solutions to address some of Vermont’s most persistent barriers to serving children and families. The Innovation Grant recipients are: 

  • Kingdom East Unified Union School District in Caledonia and Essex counties

  • Myers Prouty Children’s Campuses in Bennington County

  • Seed & Sew in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties

 

The Opportunity Grant ($10,000 to $80,000) has the goal of supporting easy-to-achieve solutions with direct results. The Opportunity Grant recipients are: 

  • Ascension Childcare in Chittenden County

  • Business and Workforce Development of the City of Burlington in Chittenden County

  • Driver Hill Kiddie Care in Orleans County

  • Good Beginnings of Central VT in Washington County

  • King Street Center in Chittenden County

  • Lil Sunshine Child Care Center in Orange County

  • Little Dippers Doodle Children’s Center in Caledonia County

  • Little Lakers Academy in Chittenden County

  • Milton Family Community Center in Chittenden County

  • Montessori School of Central Vermont in Washington County

  • Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, statewide

  • RIVET (Reggio Inspired Vermont EarlyEducation Team) in Chittenden County

  • Rutland County Parent Child Center in Rutland County

  • Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington County

  • Starksboro Cooperative Preschool in Addison County

  • Turn to Joy in Grand Isle County

  • University of Vermont in Addison County

  • Vermont Village School in Windham County

  • Washington County Mental Health Services in Franklin, Grand Isle and Washington counties

  • Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Windham County

  • Wonderfeet Kids' Museum in Rutland County

 

BBF received a total of 70 applications from throughout Vermont for the spring 2024 round of VECF grants, and requests far surpassed the available funding. Applications were evaluated through a rigorous process by 32 reviewers, including BBF staff members, parents, nonprofit leaders and state agency representatives from the Office of Racial Equity, Vermont Department for Children and Families - Child Development Division, Vermont Department of Health and Department of Mental Health. For more information, visit buildingbrightfutures.org/vecf/.

The mission of Building Bright Futures (BBF) is to improve the well-being of each and every child and family in Vermont by using evidence to inform policy and by bringing voices together to discuss critical challenges and problem-solve. BBF is Vermont’s early childhood public-private partnership, charged under Vermont Title 33 § Chapter 46 and the Federal Head Start Act (Public Law 110-134) as Vermont’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council (SAC). The SAC advises Vermont’s governor and legislature on the well-being of children in the prenatal period through age 8 and their families. BBF’s network includes 12 Regional Councils, seven VECAP Committees and the State Advisory Council. BBF maintains Vermont’s Early Childhood Action Plan (VECAP), the vision and strategic plan for Vermont’s early childhood system. BBF is responsible for ensuring accountability and measuring the success of the VECAP and Vermont's Act 76, a child care law passed in 2023. BBF supports accountability through Vermont’s Early Childhood Data & Policy Center, which serves as a nonpartisan, independent source of data, research and publications for policymakers, researchers and the public. Learn more at buildingbrightfutures.org.

Source: May 9, 2024 (WILLISTON, Vt.)—Building Bright Futures

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