Early Childhood Community Planning Grants

 

Beginning in 2018, the Maine Community Foundation will offer Early Childhood Community Planning Grants to support our strategic goal that “all Maine children receive a healthy start and arrive at kindergarten developmentally prepared to succeed in school and life.” Thriving young children and families live in communities with a complex, cross-cutting web of opportunities and resources available to them. MaineCF believes in the power of local leaders and initiatives to create real change in communities.

Purpose and Outcomes

The purpose of the Early Childhood Planning Grants is to inspire collaborative, community-based learning and strategies to improve outcomes for young children and families.

Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded to Maine communities that demonstrate an interest and readiness to participate in a collaborative process to gather data about their 0-5 population, map community resources, identify barriers, and develop local solutions. The ultimate objective is to increase the number of children in communities who arrive at school developmentally ready to succeed.

MaineCF plans to award grants to five communities in 2018 and an additional five communities in 2019. In addition, MaineCF expects to offer a follow-up Early Childhood Implementation Grant opportunity to Planning Grant communities that seek additional resources to implement their plans.

The initiative has the following desired outcomes:
1) Local Networks – the formation of community-level networks of individuals from multiple sectors who will raise awareness and work together to champion the success of young children and families
2) Community Early Child Profiles – the creation and analysis of a data profile of the community's 0-5 population that will include information from data collection, mapping resources, and parent and provider surveys
3) Action Plans – based on the analysis of the profile, the development of potential community-based strategies that will address barriers to families and improve child school readiness
4) Shared Learning – the selected communities will have opportunities to provide feedback and learn from each other as well as explore the connection of their experiences for statewide solutions.

Grantee Guidelines

1) One organization (nonprofit or public entity) will serve as the applicant and be the convener of a multi-sector Early Childhood Community Planning group. Required partners in the group include a public school administrator (superintendent or principal), parent of a young child, business leader, Head Start or other provider, health care provider, and economic development organization representative. Key partners should submit a letter of commitment with the application.

2) The community planning group may define “community” as the geographic area that makes the most sense to its situation. One option is the school administrative unit.

3) The applicant will identify a data leader who will have primary responsibility for data collection and analysis of the Early Child Profile. It is expected that grant funds will largely support the time and expenses of the data leader coordinator. MaineCF will provide technical assistance and common protocols for development of the Early Child Profile.

4) The Early Child Community Planning Group will convene at least quarterly during the 18-month grant period. In addition, representatives of each grantee community will come together twice during the grant period to share learning across communities.

5) Grantees will report on their networks, Early Child Profiles, and action plans within 18 months of the grant award.

How to Apply

Please check back in early 2018 for more information. Once the program opens, applications will be accepted through MaineCF's online system. The application deadline is expected to be in March.

Contact

If you have questions, please contact Stephanie Eglinton, seglinton@mainecf.org or (207) 761-2440.