Things are out of balance in the world of childcare. Parents’ income is often not enough to cover the costs of childcare – which can approximate college tuition. Childcare providers struggle to break even; challenged further by new requirements for staff / child ratios and fewer children per room. And childcare teachers are often not compensated according to their responsibilities. Mount Baker Foundation is seeking collaborative community solutions to affordable childcare. Childcare to us means integrated early learning to support school readiness, integrated classrooms, and family support.
Mount Baker Foundation has pledged $400,000 to Lydia Place for the construction of a childcare center within the planned Heart House, offering residence and services for high risk and vulnerable families. The Foundation was particularly intrigued with the two-generational model, i.e. support for both children and parents, and the wrap around services provided.
When local investors found it necessary to close operations of four Kids World childcare centers, impacting more than 500 children, Mount Baker Foundation joined the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County in pledging its support as the Boys & Girls Club worked to take on these centers. Mount Baker Foundation has provided $100,000 in funding towards the sustainability of these programs.
Grants totaling $200,000 to support childcare providers have been approved by Mount Baker Foundation’s Board. Whatcom County has been challenged by a lack of childcare availability, and the impact of COVID-19 has been challenging on childcare providers. Staff / child ratios have gone up and the number of children per room has gone down, creating a very difficult business model. Our funds are going to:
Mount Baker Foundation has provided a grant of $20,000 to Chuckanut Health Foundation, to support fiscal mapping to identify the source of funds currently flowing to childcare services in Whatcom County, as a platform to understand where gaps exist.
We are interested in hearing from local experts, as well as those at the state, national or even global level.