Huntsville, Alabama (October 23, 2023) – The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber announce three new grant-funded initiatives targeted at addressing increased capacity for childcare in Huntsville.
The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville’s Women’s Philanthropy Society (WPS) – established for women by women – seeks to support strategic solutions addressing systemic issues facing women and families in our community. This year the members of the WPS selected economic empowerment as their focus area for their annual high impact grants, and during their spring Community Conversation, childcare was identified as the top priority.
The WPS Grants Committee selected Huntsville Housing Authority’s Childcare Project and Heart of the Valley YMCA’s Pathways to Solutions to each receive a $50,000 grant. Both of these programs are addressing the critical shortage of trained childcare workers and childcare openings.
“The Women’s Philanthropy Society has chosen to plant their flag on the childcare issue this year,” said Melissa Thompson, CEO/President of the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville. “We know that this community does not shy away from tackling big issues, so we are proud to provide financial resources to help address this critical need.”
The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber was awarded a Workforce Invest Grant by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to support collaborative efforts in training and education for family child care providers. This project aims to improve the quality and availability of child care in Huntsville by creating new in-home family child care programs and enhancing existing ones. The Chamber will be contracting with TOOTRiS, the nation’s largest Child Care platform, to execute the program.
“Thank you to the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber for working to expand Child Care opportunities for working families,” said Mark Brazeal, Vice President at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing. “With your important work and TOOTRiS’ employer-sponsored child care assistance, you’ve developed a holistic strategy to address the challenges of childcare across Madison County. On behalf of our working parents – we appreciate your support!”
The project has two main components: 1) the establishment of 4 new in-home family child care programs, each with a capacity of 6 children, and 2) upgrading 12 existing in-home family child care programs with modernized materials and equipment, while also getting them certified in Alabama Quality STARS and National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA).
“We’re excited to partner with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber to help address the critical need for Child Care options for working parents and their employers,” said Alessandra Lezama, CEO of TOOTRiS. “Our technology platform and training will enable these entrepreneurs to streamline their operations and provide high-quality Child Care services to families in our community.”
The program is an innovative initiative that will provide funding and technical assistance to individuals interested in starting or enhancing in-home family child care providers. They will benefit from training, licensing support, and upgraded materials and equipment, which will enable them to offer higher quality care. TOOTRiS will work with the Chamber to provide training, technology, and support to these entrepreneurs, as well as to connect them with the working families in Huntsville that are in need of Child Care services.
In the Huntsville/Madison County region, there are currently over 10,000 children in the region who are in need of Child Care services, and only 6,000 licensed Child Care spaces available. The TVA grant will help the Chamber to address this critical need by providing funding and resources to support the development of new Child Care facilities and micro-enterprises.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant from TVA and to partner with TOOTRiS to expand Child Care in Northern Alabama,” said Lyndsay Ferguson, Vice President of Workforce at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. “This program will not only help to meet the growing demand for Child Care services, but also provide opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own Child Care businesses and contribute to the economic growth of our community.”
About Huntsville/Madison County Chamber
The Huntsville Madison Chamber of Commerce has been a leader in addressing the critical needs of the community, and this grant is yet another example of their commitment to making a positive impact. The Chamber will continue to work with its partners to identify and address the most pressing issues facing the region.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is the nation’s largest public power supplier, delivering energy to 10 million people across seven southeastern states. TVA was established 90 years ago to serve this region and the nation by developing innovative solutions to solve complex challenges. TVA’s unique mission focuses on energy, environmental stewardship and economic development. With one of the largest, most diverse and cleanest energy systems – which includes nuclear, hydro, solar, gas and advanced technologies – TVA is a leader in our nation’s drive toward a clean energy future.
TOOTRiS is a revolutionary Child Care platform empowering children, parents, providers, employers, and all Child Care stakeholders to achieve greater freedom, fulfillment, and financial opportunity through a unifying real-time technology exchange. They are the largest, most comprehensive Child Care network with 200,000+ providers nationwide.
About Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville
The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville mobilizes generosity to improve the quality of life in our community. One of the Community Foundation’s initiatives, the Women’s Philanthropy Society, was established to provide a legacy of love for women and families in our community. Visit GiveHSV.org for more information.