Access to quality early childhood education is important to the quality of life and economic health of every community. Through the Foundation’s Strategic Doing initiative, in place since 2017, communities have expressed concern over the lack of available quality childcare slots. The Hansen Foundation has heard stories of families who are prepared to accept jobs and move to a Northwest Kansas Community only to decline the opportunity due to a lack of childcare options. That equates to fewer homes sold, fewer children in our schools, and difficulties for our businesses.
The childcare issue is vast and difficult to tackle. In 2020, after considerable study, the Foundation was pleased to introduce a 5-year pilot initiative for early childhood education. NW Kansas Cares for Kids includes three grants designed to assist childcare centers and qualified group homes in attracting and retaining quality staff. In addition, the grants will provide needed tools to prepare the children in their care with the skills to start school ready to continue learning.
The initiative is limited to licensed day care centers or qualifying group homes located in the 26-county area served by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.
Qualifying childcare centers must:
Qualifying group homes must:
Home-based day care businesses, licensed group homes that do not meet the above criteria, and preschools are not eligible for these grants.
The initiative includes three grant opportunities addressing staff support (Early Childhood Education Staff Support Grant), early literacy (Early Childhood Education Book Grant) and curriculum (Early Childhood Education Montessori Kit Grant). These grants are restricted to qualifying centers. Be sure you meet the criteria before applying.
Grants from the Hansen Foundation are available only to nonprofit organizations. For-profit centers (for-profit group homes are NOT eligible) that meet the above criteria can apply for similar assistance through the Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center, Inc.