East Grand Forks continues to work on implementing financial support for child care providers
The EGF Child Care Fund will help to address the capital and operating costs for child care providers in the city
EAST GRAND FORKS — A minimum of $5,000 in seed money is needed to establish an East Grand Forks Child Care Fund as the city's Economic Development Authority is currently looking for donors.
Creating a sustainable funding source for child care providers was first pursued starting late last year and is part of the city’s Community Solution Action Plan to address child care needs.
The EGF Child Care Fund will help to address the capital and operating costs for child care providers in the city. Child care providers will be able to apply for assistance to help with a multitude of expenses associated with operating a child care center.
No public dollars are going to be used for the fund, but it will instead rely on charitable contributions and grants. All tax-deductible donations will be made to the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, who will ultimately control the fund.
The EGF Child Care Fund will have three components including a permanent endowment component from which only the earnings are available for projects, the project fund component, in which all earnings and assets will be available for projects and the restricted fund component, which will include restricted purpose sub-funds for specific areas of interest.
A minimum of $10,000 in assets is required before grants can be made from the earnings of the endowment component, and the minimum endowed balance of the fund must be $10,000 within three years of the fund's establishment.
The update on the status of the child care fund with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation was presented as an informational item during the Economic Development Authority Board's Jan. 17 meeting.
Both the City Council and School Board were presented with the concept of the child care fund at their meetings in November and December as the fund will be a collaborative effort between NWF, the city and the school district.
The establishment of the EGF Child Care Fund is set to receive approval from the NWF Board during their Jan. 20 meeting.
During the meeting, Paul Gorte, local economic development director, said the city will help to spread the message about the child care fund by utilizing the NWF’s resources.
“Since they receive the dollars, they help us with requesting additional dollars, they help with the messaging,” Gorte said. “We can tap into their resources for things like that.”
EDA board members also agreed to serve as part of a Fund Advisory Committee, which will oversee procedures on grants that will go to child care providers.
Creating a sustainable funding source is one of six goals within the Community Solution Action Plan, which were identified after the city held town hall meetings in early 2022 allowing parents and child care providers to share their thoughts and solutions for child care needs in the community.
Since having the town hall meetings, Gorte said five home child care centers have opened.
“That’s up to 75 children that can be in child care where there was not space available previously,” he said.
While more slots have opened up for home daycares in that time, Gorte and Karla Anderson, the city’s finance director, said the process to get state child care licensing needed for child care centers is slower than local licensing needed for home daycares.