Boston, Mass. (February 14, 2013) – The Children’s Investment Fund has filed legislation for capital bond financing that will authorize $45 million over five years for early childhood education (ECE) and out-of-school time (OST) facilities that serve children living in low-income communities across the Commonwealth. The legislation, which is being sponsored by State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Boston), offers a dedicated source of capital financing for nonprofit providers serving low income children, which will help them upgrade their learning space. Additionally, language supporting this financing has been inserted into affordable housing legislation sponsored by State Senator James Eldridge (D-Acton) and State Representative Kevin Honan (D-Boston).
“The evidence is clear: high quality space is critical for early learning,” said Mav Pardee, program manager for the Children’s Investment Fund. “Children in underserved communities will gain tremendously from child care centers that are designed to help their learning. This bill will help providers who are looking for ways to improve their space but currently have little access to financing.”
“Investing in early childhood education is vital to the Commonwealth’s long-term economic health,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico. “In order to ensure that our youth have the tools necessary to compete in our global economy, we must start building a strong foundation today. This legislation aims to do just that by giving our non-profit, child care providers the ability to create a quality educational environment for our youngest and most at-risk students.”
“This piece of legislation will offer early childhood education and out-of school time centers who teach our neediest children, the ability to make necessary update to their facilities, that they otherwise might not be able to afford,” said Representative Sánchez. “These updates will increase their capacity to serve our children.”
In addition to the bill’s cosponsors, the Children’s Investment Fund is working with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley, the Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), and other education, community development, and health advocates to ensure that nonprofit child care and after-school centers that serve families in low income neighborhoods can access a designated source of capital financing to create, upgrade, or renovate their facilities. State Representative Honan and State Senator Eldridge, who co-chair the Joint Committee on Housing, also filed An Act Financing the Production and Preservation of Housing for Low and Moderate Income Residents, which - for the first time - includes capital financing for nonprofit ECE and OST centers.
The bond legislation offers a dedicated source of capital financing for nonprofit providers – who often cannot afford and do not qualify for conventional financing – serving children from low income families. It will provide flexibility in facility improvements or expansion – allowing providers to build a new facility or renovate, as market conditions dictate - while delivering learning quality. The bill will ensure that providers receive technical expertise to expose them to best practices, which will help ensure high quality and cost effective projects.. Finally, it will safeguard state investments by requiring that facilities continue to serve eligible children for the life of the financing.
The early care and education and out-of-school time sector is critical to the Massachusetts economy, both in its current state and in the future. Two-thirds of children in the Commonwealth live within families where all parents are working. In order to work, parents need access to good care. High quality ECE & OST programs help children from low income communities thrive and help break the cycle of poverty; in fact, economists estimate 7 to 16% return on public investment in high quality early education. Additionally, the sector currently provides 24,000 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in annual revenues.
“We applaud Senator DiDomenico and Representative Sánchez for their leadership on this critical education and community development initiative,” said Pardee. “This legislation will ensure that Massachusetts will keep its leading edge in education in a fiscally responsible manner.”
The Children’s Investment Fund was established in 1991 to increase the supply and quality of early childhood education (ECE) and out-of-school time (OST) facilities for children from low- and moderate-income families in Massachusetts. The Fund’s mission is to ensure that children spend their days in physical environments that support healthy development and learning. The Fund provides loan and grant financing, technical assistance, and training to nonprofit ECE and OST organizations planning facilities projects.
Children’s Investment Fund is affiliated with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC). CEDAC is a public-private, community development finance agency that provides financial and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations involved in affordable housing development and preservation and to agencies that promote workforce development. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts created CEDAC in 1978 to serve as a resource for nonprofit organizations engaged in community economic development.