The Georgia Power Foundation recently awarded Purpose Built Communities a $3 million grant to address education inequity and enhance early childhood care and education for Georgia families. As part of the three-year pilot program, the national nonprofit, in collaboration with Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), will invest funding, resources, strategic support and training in several Georgia communities that are part of the Purpose Built Communities Network.
“Our goal is to develop a deep understanding of the early childhood care and education landscape and create a path that provides families access to high-quality early learning that fits their needs,” said Carol R. Naughton, CEO, Purpose Built Communities. “We’re starting with three communities, but we’re developing a strategy that will be replicable across our 28-member network and in dozens of U.S. neighborhoods.”
Since 2020, the early childhood care and education industry has experienced significant shifts and disruptions. According to a National Center for the Education of Young Children survey, over 30 percent of providers were thinking about leaving or shutting down their child care programs; this percentage increased for minority-owned programs, with more than half reporting they considered permanent closure.
“Early education and childcare play a central role in creating a thriving community. The link be-tween the lack of quality early childhood education and poverty is strong — we want to create new ties. By investing in and improving early learning, we create the conditions for children to thrive and have their potential nurtured and realized,” said Naughton.
“LIIF has a long-standing partnership with Purpose Built Communities, where we’ve provided flexible capital to their network members. Georgia Power Foundation’s commitment will support our collaboration to expand Purpose Built Communities’ early care and education strategy, which deepens both of our commitments to holistic community development,” said Rachel Bluestein, LIIF’s Chief Program Officer.
“As Georgia continues to grow and change, we need to be ready to tackle the innovation and opportunity coming to our state,” said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “That starts in our communities, setting our children up for success from the beginning. Purpose Built Communities is on the frontlines helping do that in so many neighborhoods. They understand that early childhood education and care is critical to strengthening communities, and is how we help shape the leaders of tomorrow, today. We’re proud to partner with them look for-ward to seeing this effort to support Georgia families grow, positively impacting children in our state, and across the nation.”
The program will look to comprehensively strengthen the different types of early care and education that families use in each community, including home-based and centers-based options.
“In addition to advancing the quality of education, we’re giving our entrepreneurial caregivers essential support, funding and training to transform the quality of care and create a more sustainable business,” added Naughton.
About Low Income Investment Fund:
Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is a national community development financial institution (CDFI) that invests in communities of opportunity, equity and well-being. As a CDFI, LIIF sup-ports projects that have high social value but lack access to traditional financial institutions. Since 1984, LIIF has deployed more than $3.2 billion to serve more than 2.4 million people in communi-ties across the country from its five offices. An S&P-rated organization, LIIF funds healthy com-munities by providing innovative capital solutions.
About The Georgia Power Foundation:
The Georgia Power Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is the third-largest corporate giving foundation in Georgia. The Foundation provides grants to organizations that are enriching communities across the state and is part of Georgia Power’s philanthropic focus to empower Education, Environmental Stewardship and Communities.