Foundation Invests $4.5 Million to Boost Supply of High-Quality Early Learning Seats in D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8

Continuing its commitment to improve early childhood in the District of Columbia, the Bainum Family Foundation today announced a $4.5 million partnership with national expert Reinvestment Fund to help expand the supply of high-quality early learning seats for infants and toddlers in Wards 7 and 8.

The Foundation’s strategic plan calls for adding 750 high-quality early learning seats in these two wards by 2020. Efforts to meet this goal include creating new seats through facility construction and expansion, as well as improving the quality of facilities with existing seats.*

Facility upgrades are often needed to help early learning providers meet higher quality standards, but these upgrades can be complex and cost-prohibitive. To remove these potential barriers, the Foundation provides technical assistance and financing, offering gap financing to help providers add new seats or enhance the quality of existing seats. This new funding will accelerate and support these efforts in a substantial way.

The Foundation’s contract with Reinvestment Fund and its partner organization Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) — which together have led a similar effort, the Fund for Quality in Philadelphia, since 2014 — includes two components:

  • A $3.8 million loan fund called the Early Learning Quality Fund (ELQF). Reinvestment Fund will use the ELQF fund to make loans to qualifying early learning providers in order to finance the addition of an estimated 625 new high-quality seats in Ward 7 and 8. The work will create a scalable model that includes a pipeline of high-capacity providers.
  • $700,000 inadvance work to prepare service providers to make capital improvements and add sustainable high-quality seats. This work will take about a year to complete and begins with a supply and demand analysis of infant and toddler child care in the District to help target resources where they are needed most.

The new investment is part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to improve the odds for the District’s infants and toddlers, especially those at greatest risk. As our Chair of the Board, CEO and President of the Foundation, Barbara Bainum notes:

“High-quality early learning helps ensure that children get a strong start during the critical birth-to-three years and are able to thrive later as students in school and adults in life. We want this for all children in the District, and we look forward to working with Reinvestment Fund and PHMC, alongside our existing partners, to reach our goals and increase the availability of high-quality early learning seats in D.C.’s underserved neighborhoods.”

— Barbara Bainum

Read the full press release here.