Early Childhood Community Planning Grants

 

The Maine Community Foundation is offering a new grant opportunity to support its strategic vision that “all Maine children receive a healthy start and arrive at kindergarten developmentally prepared to succeed in school and life.”

In 2018, MaineCF awarded community planning grants to six communities. These communities will participate in a collaborative process to gather data about their 0-5 population, map community resources, identify barriers, and develop local solutions. The grant program is intended to inspire community-based learning and strategies to improve outcomes for young children and families so more children arrive at school ready to learn and thrive.

Background

Many factors influence a child’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development in the earliest years of life and shape the path to “kindergarten readiness.” It starts with a healthy birth, a family whose basic needs are met, positive relationships with parents and caregivers, and safety and security at home. Other factors include well visits to the doctor and dentist, early intervention services when needed, nutritious food, hearing books read, play that encourages early learning and socialization, and prevention of adverse childhood experiences. Indeed, children are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn when they are part of communities that value young children and families and that offer a broad range of resources and opportunities.

Program Components

Early Childhood Planning Grant communities will develop:

1) A Local Network of community members from across sectors, including business leaders, school representatives, parents, and service providers. The applicant organization serves as the Network Coordinator. The network will meet regularly during the planning period to guide data analysis and develop a plan for improving kindergarten readiness in their community.
2) A Community Profile based on community-level data of key factors related to children ages 0-5, an inventory and mapping of local resources, and parent and provider surveys. A member of the network will serve as the Profile Manager to support the development and analysis of the Community Profile. MaineCF will provide a common framework and technical assistance related to the data collection.
3) An Action Plan that will include at least one community strategy to address challenges and improve kindergarten readiness. The plan will be based on learning from the profile and include plans to measure results to share with the community.

In addition, MaineCF will host opportunities to bring grantees together for shared learning across communities and group training. The expectation is that at least two members of each network will participate in these sessions.

MaineCF plans to offer Early Childhood Implementation Grants to grantee communities that seek additional resources to implement their proposed Action Plans.

Grant Size

The maximum award for an Early Childhood Community Planning Grant is $25,000.

The grant funds are intended primarily to support the time of the people serving two key roles: 1) Network Coordinator and 2) Profile Manager. These two roles may or may not be people from the same organization. Other expenses may relate to meeting costs, travel for network members to shared learning opportunities, and materials.

How to Apply

MaineCF plans to open the application for a second cohort of communities in 2019. Check back here for further information. 

Contact

We encourage you to contact Stephanie Eglinton, senior program officer, (207) 412-0837, if you have any questions.