This year brought a new partnership between the Charlevoix County Community Foundation and the Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet, and northern Antrim counties, with the foundation awarding several grants for preschool scholarships.
This past spring, the foundation provided tuition support of $5,220 benefitting seven children in Charlevoix and Boyne City. On May 23, 2022, the foundation announced another round of funding, an additional $10,000, also earmarked for preschool scholarships for Charlevoix County families.
“We are so grateful for the support from the foundation for these children. Families today are facing many challenges with rising cost of living expenses, and these dollars go a long way toward helping children receive quality preschool that will set them up for success,” said Jill Haan, Director of Early Childhood for Char-Em ISD. “Investing in early childhood programs is truly an investment in the future.”
The funds are distributed to families through the Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet, and northern Antrim counties. Char-Em ISD is the fiduciary for the collaborative and as such is listed as the grant recipient.
“The Charlevoix County Community Foundation is pleased to be able to help support families in need, particularly those with young children,” said Mishelle Shooks, Grants and Youth Advancement Director for the community foundation. “All children deserve a quality start to their education. We are thrilled to be a small part in helping to make this possible and couldn’t have better partners in this effort.”
Marcia Campbell, Early Childhood Program Manager for Char-Em ISD, said the initial spring scholarship need came to light during a meeting with community foundation representatives, where it was mentioned that there were children on a waitlist for scholarships as existing funding had been depleted.
“The foundation was interested right away in providing funds for those seven remaining children so they would have the opportunity to attend preschool as well,” said Campbell. “They stepped up immediately and covered those costs, which was terrific.”
The partnership between the collaborative and the foundation will make a meaningful difference in the lives of children, said Savanah Cool, Great Start Collaborative Director. “The foundation’s committee was impressed with our screening and qualification process, and also is aware of the need in our region for helping families enroll their children in quality preschool programs,” said Cool.
About preschool funding
The Great Start Preschool Scholarship Fund (GSPSF) fills the state and federal preschool funding gap in local counties. Upon capacity of government funded preschool programs, GSPSF provides preschool tuition for eligible children ages 3-5. Eligibility standards require families to be living at 250% or below poverty level and takes into account other factors such as development delays and single parent households. Scholarships are awarded for assistance up to 100% for preschool enrollment to high-quality programs. Preschool partners are selected based on participation & rating in the state’s Quality Rating & Improvement System. GSPSF is a committee of the Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet & northern Antrim counties. The fiduciary is a collaborative partner, Char-Em ISD. GSPSF has awarded 440+ preschool scholarships. Through partnerships with Joint Preschool Recruitment & Great Start to Quality Northwest Resource Center, children of highest need are assured to receive high quality care and education.