Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) recently awarded 525 emergency grants totaling $254,950 to child care providers in SMIF’s 20-county region.
At the urging of Governor Tim Walz, the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations, including SMIF, created the Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide immediate relief to child care providers caring for the young children of emergency and essential workers in Greater Minnesota. Providers in SMIF’s region who received grants are caring for more than 1,800 children of emergency and essential workers. Statewide, the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations supported more than 1,500 providers with nearly $1.4 million dollars.
The program was launched March 26 with dollars going out the door over the two weeks that followed. The intent was to get immediate support to child care providers experiencing financial strain until a larger source of public funding allocated by the Minnesota Legislature and administered by Child Care Aware could be made available.
A total of 491 family-based providers and 34 centers received grants. In Mower County, $11,900 was provided to 24 providers. Due to overwhelming response, the grant program is currently closed. Should sufficient funding become available, the application will reopen. SMIF is also working to support strategy and business planning for child care providers during this difficult time.