elorza providence

Mayor Jorge Elorza and LISC Launch Facility Improvement Grants Expanding Pre-K Seats Citywide

Grant Applications Open July 15

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to announce facility improvement grants aimed at expanding the number of high-quality, pre-kindergarten seats citywide. Eligible local childcare and early learning providers within Providence can apply online beginning July 15.

“We know the tremendous impact early education can have on our kids,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Our community has experienced it first-hand through innovative programs like Providence Talks, which is why early education supports continue to be a part of our plan to create a top-tier education system for our city. I am excited to work with LISC in increasing and improving the programs available to our residents, and remain committed to becoming the first city in the state to reach universal pre-k.”

Aligned with Mayor Elorza’s commitment to creating cradle-to-career supports for Providence youth, $750,000 supporting early learning was included in the FY20 budget. Earlier this year, LISC responded to a request for proposals and was subsequently awarded the contract to provide specialized assessment and technical assistance to local childcare and early learning providers through these funds. Grants provided through LISC will support organizations that develop a comprehensive indoor and outdoor facility plan; renovations to address issues related to licensing compliance, health and safety, or physical space barriers to quality improvement; and the expansion of quality programming throughout the city.

“We know that high quality space can have a significant impact on a child’s overall health and well-being,” said LISC Rhode Island Program Officer Erin Cox, AIA.  “The Mayor’s support for the role that physical space plays in our early learning system underscores his commitment to universal pre-K and our children’s education. We are thrilled to partner with the Mayor and offer this grant program to Providence-based childcare providers for improvements to the physical environment. These funds will work to improve health and safety, and lead to increased quality.”

Eligible organizations are licensed childcare and early learning providers within Providence, serve high-needs infant through pre-kindergarten aged children, and must be actively engage in the BrightStars process, Rhode Island’s Quality Rating and Improvement System for childcare and early learning programs. Additionally, LISC Rhode Island offers a small, competitive pool of private funding, accessible for licensed school-age childcare facilities in Providence that serve a substantial percentage of DHS-subsidized children and are actively engaged in the BrightStars process.

Research show that high-quality early care and education programs can improve children’s cognitive and social-emotional development, enabling them to perform better in school. Mayor Elorza believes that providing access to voluntary, free, high-quality pre-kindergarten programs helps close achievement gaps before children enter school. Investments in early learning and childcare facilities come in addition to the City’s continued investment in school facilities, including its recently approved $278 million school capital improvement plan.

The online application and eligibility requirements for this grant opportunity is available online on July 15th. Organizations are also encouraged to join LISC’s virtual information session July 20th at 2:00pm or to find the recording on the www.riccelff.org website after July 20th.