rly Learning Shelby County took another step toward building a new care center for infants and toddlers with the announcement that it was one of 13 recipients to receive a grant from Early Learning Indiana.
The local organization will receive $150,000, the maximum available per organization, to build the center on property donated by MHP Medical Center on the Intelliplex campus, Allison Coburn, executive director of Early Learning Shelby County, said.
The organization was one of 13 in Indiana to receive grants in the Child Care Deserts Competition, ranging from $75,000 to $150,000. A total of $1 million was awarded.
“We’re very excited,” Coburn said. “It’s great for Shelby County to have these partnerships that bring financial and professional support to the community.”
The recipients were communities that were deemed to be a neighborhood, town or part of a city where for every three children, no more than one child care location was available, according to a press release from Early Learning Indiana. Across Indiana, 45.2 percent of children live under that definition, and it is anticipated that it will increase by more than 7 percent by 2025.
The grant will allow Early Learning Shelby County to pay for pre-construction, Coburn said. The architect will be able to produce drawings and renderings that will be used when the organization applies for more grants and reaches out to community partners.
Early Learning Indiana invited 19 organizations from across Indiana to submit applications in October, and 13 were chosen by a committee. As a result of those 13 organizations, schools, child care centers and United Way agencies receiving grants, more than 900 child care seats will be created across the state, according to the press release.
“As a result of this competition, many more Hoosier families will be able to experience the two-generational impact of early childhood education,” said Early Learning CEO and President Maureen Weber in a media release. “Parents who previously faced difficult decisions due to lack of access to child care can now remain in or rejoin the workforce while their children benefit from an enriching early learning experience.”
arly Learning Shelby County worked with city and county officials on its application, hosting members of the grant committee to see the future property and tour the hospital, schools and community, Coburn said.
The organization will partner with Blue River Community Foundation on larger grant applications for the community impact grant through the Lilly Endowment.
Among the other winners were the Johnson County Learning Center in Greenwood, the Oaks Academy in Indianapolis and the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis.