mother reading a book with young daugther

Women United Invests $200,000 to Strengthen Early Childhood Education

Women United is proud to announce awards of $200,000 in grants to support underserved families in the region. These investments are strategically designed to bolster access to high-quality child care and remove barriers to kindergarten readiness.

Research consistently underscores the profound impact of high quality early childhood education. It improves cognitive abilities and emotional development, builds a foundation for lifelong learning, makes learning outcomes more equitable, reduces poverty and improves social mobility from generation to generation. It’s worth noting that 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs before age 5.

Amy Crist

And yet, these critical experiences are not available to all children, and are particularly lacking for those in disadvantaged neighborhoods. In these areas, too many children enter kindergarten underprepared to succeed.

Amy Crist, co-chair of Women United, emphasized the importance of these investments, stating, “Access to quality child care and kindergarten-readiness programs are essential to ensure that every child starts on their educational journey with confidence. These grants have been made possible by our generous Women United donors and dedicated members, symbolizing our unwavering commitment to ensure every child enters kindergarten ready to thrive and on a path to read by third grade.”

Echoing the sentiment, Rene Gellerman, president and CEO of United Way Quad Cities, added, “These dollars exemplify the impact of people-powered change. Women United members are at the forefront of advocating for quality child care and early learning in the Quad Cities, actively supporting their convictions with their generous time and contributions. These strategic investments will not only bridge gaps in early childhood education but also pave the way for brighter futures and more equitable opportunities for the children of the Quad Cities.”

Women United Grant Recipients

Organizations receiving Women United Grants, collectively totaling $200K, include:

  • Community Action of Eastern Iowa
  • EveryChild
  • SAL Community Services
  • YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley

The selection of grant recipients was the result of a rigorous process. Each application was considered based on several key factors, including being previously reviewed during United Way’s spring 2023 Community Impact Grant process. Additionally, the organization’s track record, alignment with Women United’s mission, potential to impact educational equity, and the innovative approaches they proposed were assessed. Women United volunteers wanted to ensure that these organizations are not only capable of delivering results but also committed to making a meaningful, lasting difference in the lives of young learners and their families.

About Women United

Women United, a donor network of United Way Quad Cities, is a dynamic community of change-makers and passionate philanthropists. Over the past 12 years, they have raised and invested more than $6 million to increase access to quality child care and preschool for underserved children, empower parents with the tools they need to be their child’s first and best teacher, and support the development, attraction and retention of the child care workforce.

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