By Taki S. Raton
The Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin has awarded a grant to the Celebrate Children Foundation (CCF) to facilitate affordable access to telecommunication and information services.
The CCF will assist in the funding of broadband Internet connectivity to child care centers in Milwaukee in an effort to improve the quality of care to children enrolled in these centers.
Reimbursement of Internet expenses by the Celebrate Children Foundation will allow qualifying child care customers to allocate funds to other cost such as curriculum materials, teacher training, food services and other itemized budgetary operations in order to help foster quality care learning experiences for young children throughout Milwaukee.
The goal of the CCF in this effort is to positively impact approximately 70 child care centers in Milwaukee by reimbursing their Internet access expenditures. The CCF will award micro-grants to the first 70 qualified centers who apply.
To qualify, the child care facility must serve area low-income children and/or families, participate in YoungStar, the state’s new quality rating and improvement system, provide copies of their Internet provider receipts in six month increments, adhere to stated grant deadlines and be willing to respond to a post-grand survey.
“We are especially interested in getting children to the ‘starting line’ of life in a way that better prepares them for school, and hopefully for life as a productive citizen,” says James L. Leonhart, Executive Vice President of the Celebrate Children Foundation.
“To this end, we are trying to bring resources to those child care centers, especially in Milwaukee, that continue to strive for quality,” he adds.
Reimbursement will be paid twice, once for the period of January 2011 through June 2011 and once for the period of July 2011 through December 2011. Reimbursement will be distributed up to $50 per month per qualifying child care center, not to exceed $35,000.
Grant applications are due via email by June 30, 2011. Grant recipients will be notified by July 15, 2011. Receipts for the two stated periods will be required to be received by the Celebrate Children Foundation no later than 60 days following each reimbursement period of August 29, 2011 and February 28, 2012.
“We are prepared to support child care centers with this initiative, even reimbursing those who have access, so that funds can be deployed to other needy areas of their program,” says Leonhart.
Grant applications will ask for such information as the name of the center, address, number of children enrolled, YoungStar Participation confirmation, the year the center was established and a statement as to how the center will benefit from the grant.
According to its website, the Celebrate Children Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps communities throughout Wisconsin create the most effective early learning systems for children from birth to age five. Through public and private partnerships, this initiative strives to reach children at a critical time in their development towards the desired outcome of cultivating healthy and engaged citizens. A permanent endowment was created by CCF to ensure that investments will continue to be made for young children throughout the state.
The vision of CCF is that “All Wisconsin children will experience optimal early childhood development in safe and secure environments in order to reach their full potential.”
Individuals who would like additional detailed information on the grant’s objectives and requirements and to obtain an application are urged to contact the Celebrate Children Foundation at www.celebrate-children.org. Their email address is information@celebrate-children. org.