Applicants sought for $300K grant program

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Recognizing that pre-K childcare is critical to helping parents maintain employment, the

Community Foundation of the Ozarks is opening the Ozarks Early Childhood Support Grant Program to address quality childcare. 

The grant offers a total of $300,000 with up to $30,000 available per proposal. It is open to 501(c)3 nonprofit childcare centers serving kids ages six weeks to pre-K and faith-based programs within the Community Foundation of the Ozarks 58-county service region, outside of the Springfield Public Schools boundary. 

According to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, programs must serve at least 25% of families at or below the federal poverty line. Programs must help school district catchment areas with a 50% or greater free and reduced lunch rate. 

Funding for the program was awarded to the foundation by an anonymous funder interested in improving access to childcare. 

Proposals can focus on subsidizing childcare costs for families as parents secure jobs, covering the cost gap for families as they await approval of state subsidies, increasing childcare staffing through additional staffing or raising wages to attract qualified workers for open positions.  

Community Foundation of the Ozarks is accepting applications until 11:45 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 30. For more information and access to the online application portal, visit cfozarks.org/applyforgrants. 

Board Chair Robin Morgan will head the grant selection committee, which will consist of volunteers with expertise in the field and knowledge of the foundation’s work. 

“Every child deserves a strong start in life,” Morgan said. “The goal of this new grant opportunity is to prepare kids to succeed in school, support working parents and help childcare centers attract enough qualified staff members to provide high-quality programs.”