Mon, 12 February, 2024

The Rapides Foundation, communities invest in Early Childhood Education

The Rapides Foundation, communities invest in Early Childhood Education

A $2.6 million investment from The Rapides Foundation and $510,700 raised by local communities will ensure that up to 600 children ages 3 and under can attend a high-quality education program in the 2024-25 school year while their parents work or attend school.

The funding was in response to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund’s announcement that it would provide a dollar-for-dollar match on investments made to expand access to quality early care and education for children who need it most. Grant, Natchitoches and Rapides parishes elected to participate in the program based on their availability of childcare seats.

The Rapides Foundation in November awarded $2.13 million to the three school districts to provide their state match to fund childcare seats for up to 380 children. The Foundation also pledged additional funding to match all dollars raised by local entities for additional seats.

Communities stepped up, raising $510,700 by the January 31 deadline set by the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund program. The community contributions, plus The Rapides Foundation’s funding, plus the state match resulted in a $6.3 million investment in early childhood education.

“We are pleased with local communities for recognizing the importance of providing children the opportunity to attend a high-quality early childhood education program,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “Investing in early childcare and education ultimately produces a stronger workforce, improves graduation rates and results in higher family incomes.”

Community fundraising totals by parish were:

  • Grant Parish -- $6,000
  • Natchitoches Parish -- $4,700
  • Rapides Parish -- $500,000

The Rapides Foundation Early Childhood Access grants are funded under its School Readiness Initiative, which has the goal of increasing kindergarten readiness through the support, expansion or establishment of high-quality early childhood programs, which support the teacher-child and family-child interactions.

“Research tells us that children who attend high-quality early childhood programs before kindergarten are more likely to complete high school and go through their school careers without repeating a grade, which sets them up for success beyond graduation. This project also allows parents and guardians to attend school or go to work while their children receive quality education in the daycare setting,” Rosier said.


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