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Community Foundation receives grant

The Duke Energy Foundation and the Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA) Foundation announced $115,000 in grants will be awarded to five organizations working to assess and address child care gaps in Indiana communities. The Community Foundation of Huntington County is among the five organizations to receive funds. It will get $30,000. In recent years, the cost of child care has skyrocketed, and the number of licensed child care providers has shrunk. These challenges have put a strain on working parents and their employers. In response, Duke Energy and IEDA launched a first of its kind child care innovative grants program to provide financial support to communities willing to approach this issue in new and innovative ways. The Community Foundation intends to launch a Child Care Business Lab, which will serve as a platform for developing and connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with turnkey models, training support and access to capital investment and start-up opportunities. The goal is to attract and support sustainable, high quality child care businesses that, over time, will bridge the child care gap for working families in Huntington County. “A lack of affordable, high-quality child care can prevent parents from advancing in the workforce, hinder children’s access to structured learning at an early age, and burden employers with absenteeism and employee turnover,” said Erin Schneider, managing director of Midwest economic development for Duke Energy. “These grants will help local communities begin to confront this challenge with head-on and support working parents.” More than 40 state and local government entities, local and regional economic development agencies, and public and private non-profit organizations responded to Duke Energy and IEDA’s request for proposals, collectively requesting more than $1.1 million in funding. “High-quality child care is an investment we can’t afford to ignore,” said Lee Lewellen, IEDA”s chief executive officer. “Through this infusion of grant funds, we hope to make measurable progress toward closing the child care gap in Indiana communities – supporting children, families, child care workers, employers and the economy.”