A newly renovated classroom at the Child Care of the Berkshires. (@Damianos Photography)
The Healey-Driscoll Administration and the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) awarded FY23 grants through the Early Education and Out of School Time (EEOST) Capital Fund to provide critical resources necessary to sustain the Commonwealth’s essential child care infrastructure. The FY23 EEOST Capital Fund round granted $8.5M to 20 projects, led by non-profit early education and out-of-school time centers, to help fund expenses for critical capital improvements. Over 1,900 children and their families will be impacted by the improvements at these sites.
On October 18th, the Administration unveiled a $4 billion plan, the Affordable Homes Act, to support affordable housing across Massachusetts. The comprehensive and bold legislation includes continued funding for the EEOST Capital Fund, with an authorization level of $50 million over five years. The EEOST Capital Fund was first created through a similar bill in 2013, referred to as the Housing Bond Bill, and was reauthorized once in 2018. Over the next several months, the legislature will hold hearings and review the proposed legislation. We are grateful for the Administration’s support of child care as community development and look forward to continued support from the Legislature.
Providing quality child care facilities and programs equitably and for all residents of Massachusetts is one of CEDAC’s and CIF’s top priorities. We are committed to working towards a future where all of the child care needs of the Commonwealth are met. Below are some projects receiving funding in the FY23 EEOST grant round:
Cape Cod Children’s Place, Eastham – $293,000
After 30 years, the skylights and windows within the Cape Cod Children’s Place (CCCP) reached the end of their useful lives, and the plumbing fixtures within the center’s restrooms required maintenance and repairs to ensure they remained functional. The building lacked an accessible entrance and means for children and staff with mobility challenges to access the outdoor play space. The EEOST grant will permit CCCP to replace all 40 windows throughout the center as well as the leaking skylights, increasing the building’s energy efficiency. The center will install three accessible automatic doors and a new accessible pathway into the play space. It will also replace toilets, sinks, and other fixtures in restrooms, which will help conserve water.
Paige Academy, Roxbury – $500,000
For nearly fifty years, Paige Academy has provided culturally affirming child care that honors the seven principles of Kwanzaa, including purpose, creativity, responsibility, and compassion towards others within a verdant campus within the hills of Roxbury’s Highland Square. Paige’s historic structure built in 1859 requires extensive repairs. The EEOST grant will enable Paige to restore service to an existing elevator and improve accessibility throughout the building and outdoor play space. Paige will also replace elements of the inefficient heating system and improve fresh air intake and ventilation throughout the four-story building.
Girls Club of Greenfield, Greenfield – $445,000
The Girls Club of Greenfield, recently renamed to The Learning Knoll, is the nation’s second-oldest Girls Club. It operates its infant, toddler, preschool, and school-age programs from a masonry building that nearly dates to the organization’s founding in 1895. The site will utilize the EEOST grant towards a range of sweeping improvements throughout the building, including installing handwashing sinks and new flooring within the classrooms as well as purchasing shade structures, new play equipment, fencing, and benches to enhance their outdoor play areas and ensuring a more accessible environment for children and staff.
LEO, Inc., Lynn – $450,000
LEO, one of the largest Head Start provider agencies in Essex County, will consolidate three scattered preschool programs into its renovated landmark building. The project will include two new outdoor play spaces with universal design and accessibility and create fifteen new classrooms to serve 270 preschoolers for many of Lynn’s most vulnerable families. The EEOST grant will fund the new high efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to be installed, which will also allow teachers to adjust the temperature and ventilation in individual classrooms.
The Healey-Driscoll Administration made a bold investment in the EEOST Capital Fund in its FY24 – FY28 Capital Plan, with $10.85M allocated for the upcoming FY24 grant round. This funding level is more than double the $4M that the EEOST Capital Fund has historically received each year. We look forward to supporting more providers with this increase and thank the Administration for its commitment.
Application materials and details for the FY24 EEOST Capital Fund small grant round will be posted on the state’s procurement site, COMMBUYS, in November.