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Grants to help childcare initiative in Huntsville, Madison County

HUNTSVILLE – A three-tiered plan targeting a pressing need for local child care was released today by The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber.

A press conference announcing three grant-funded initiatives was held at the Chamber offices. The money will support Childcare Initiatives Huntsville, Alabama.

 “The Women’s Philanthropy Society has chosen to plant their flag on the child care issue this year,” said Melissa Thompson, CEO/President of the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville. “We know that this community does not shy away from tackling big issues, so we are proud to provide financial resources to help address this critical need.” 

The aid will increase capacity for childcare, which has repeatedly been cited as a workforce challenge.  

The first two initiatives are funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville Women’s Philanthropy Society (WPS) – established for women by women – which seeks to support strategic solutions addressing systemic issues facing women and families countywide. 

The WPS further stated its members selected economic empowerment as the focus area for their annual high impact grants. During the group’s spring Community Conversation, child care was identified as the top priority.

The WPS Grants Committee selected two agencies to each receive a $50,000 grant. Both programs are addressing the critical shortage of trained child care workers and childcare openings::

  • The Huntsville Housing Authority’s Childcare Project
  • Heart of the Valley YMCA’s Pathways to Solutions

For the third initiative, the Chamber was awarded a Workforce Invest Grant by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to support collaborative efforts in training and education for family child care providers. This project aims to improve the quality and availability of child care in Huntsville by creating new in-home family child care programs and enhancing existing ones. 

The Chamber will be partnering with TOOTRiS, the nation’s largest child care platform, to execute the program. The project has two main components:

  • The establishment of four new in-home family child care programs, each with a capacity of  six children
  • Enhancing educational quality for 12 existing in-home family childcare programs with developmental supplies and resources, and training through state and national certification efforts.

“We’re excited to partner with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber to help address the critical need for Child Care options for working parents and their employers,’’ TOOTRiS CEO Alessandra Lezama said. “Our technology platform and training will enable these entrepreneurs to streamline their operations and provide high-quality Child Care services to families in our community.’’

The program is an innovative initiative that will provide funding and technical assistance to individuals interested in starting or enhancing in-home family child care providers. They will benefit from training, licensing support, and upgraded materials and equipment, which will enable them to offer higher quality care.

TOOTRiS added that it will work with the Chamber to provide training, technology, and support to entrepreneurs, as well as to connect them with the working families in Huntsville who are in need of child care services.

In the Huntsville/Madison County area, there are more than 10,000 children in need of child care services, and just 6,000 licensed child care spaces available. The TVA grant will help the Chamber to address this critical need by providing funding and resources to support the development of new child care facilities and micro-enterprises.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from TVA and to partner with TOOTRiS to expand child care in the Huntsville community,’’ said Lyndsay Ferguson, Vice President of Workforce at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. “This program will not only help to meet the growing demand for child care services, but also provide opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own child care businesses and contribute to the economic growth of our community.’’

Visit GiveHSV.org for more information.

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