Research shows that when children receive high-quality early care and education, they are better prepared to succeed in school and, ultimately, in life.
But, when early care and education providers are bogged down with the business of running their child care business, quality often suffers.
That’s why Mile High United Way is proud to announce its collaboration with Early Learning Ventures (ELV) and the creation of the ELV Alliance Venture Fund. Early Learning Ventures, through support from the David and Laura Merage Foundation, has provided seed money totaling $550,000 to kick off the venture fundraising effort.
The ELV Alliance Venture Fund aims to launch ten Alliances across Colorado by the Summer of 2012. These Alliances will bring together community-based networks of centers and family child care homes to share services including tuition collection, enrollment, marketing, benefits management, purchasing of goods and services, professional development and much more. The objective is to strengthen overall business operations, and allow the child care providers to spend more time in the classroom.
Earnestine Woodberry, Co-Owner and Director of E&R Cannon Child Care Center, is affiliated with the ELV Alliance at Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council. Earnestine was feeling the demands of running a small child care business.
“We felt the need to organize a little bit better because we found ourselves in the office more than we were in the classroom,” said Earnestine. “We needed help, and the Alliance came in and they assisted us in putting that together. It took a big, big burden off of us by getting the assistance from the Alliance.” Now, Earnestine says she can spend more time with the children she serves, and less time in the office doing paperwork.
There are also considerable economic and social benefits of Alliances outside of the classroom. It is estimated that a fully implemented, statewide consortium of 30 regional Alliances has the potential to impact over 3,000 small early care and education businesses, employ 13,500 professionals, and serve 70,000 of Colorado’s children ages birth to five with parents in the workforce.
Currently, there are Alliances launched in Colorado Springs, Arapahoe County, and Broomfield. More are under development in the Denver metropolitan area, Summit County, and across the state.
The ELV Alliance model allows small businesses to retain their autonomy and diversity, while attaining critical efficiencies and economies of scale. By participating in an ELV Alliance, small early care and education businesses become stronger, more accountable, more financially sound and efficient, and better-equipped to offer affordable, high-quality services for Colorado children and their families.