Hendersonville, N.C., May 2, 2022 – Community Foundation of Henderson County awarded a total of $63,400 to two area nonprofits as part of their special 40th Anniversary Grant program. The awards were presented to Children & Family Resource Center and WNCSource during Sunday’s International Children’s Festival at Jackson Park. The event was organized by Hola Carolina and sponsored by Community Foundation of Henderson County.
“Community Foundation of Henderson County is excited to celebrate our 40th Anniversary by giving back to our community through these grant awards and sponsorship of local community events,” shared Foundation President/CEO McCray V. Benson. “For 40 years, countless community members have helped make Community Foundation of Henderson County the strong organization it is and we can’t think of a better way to support those who have supported us than by giving back through these avenues now, and throughout the rest of the year.”
A grant in the amount of $30,000 was awarded to Children & Family Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides services to children and families in Henderson County through focusing on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and ensuring that children are reaching developmental milestones so they are ready for success in school and life. Children & Family Resource Center will use the $30,000 grant to support the launch of their new Early Learning Bus. Enhancing kindergarten readiness and providing transition activities help lay a critical educational foundation for Henderson County preschoolers. Currently, 70% of students entering kindergarten are not enrolled in licensed child care for a variety of different reasons. The Early Learning Bus will be a vehicle for outreach to these families as it removes barriers such as transportation, availability of care, and expenses that often keep children out of a preschool setting and will allow parents to access the necessary support for their children to begin kindergarten ready to learn.
“We are thrilled to receive these funds and put this bus project in motion,” shared Children & Family Resource Center’s Executive Director Jamie Wiener. “The Early Learning Bus will meet families where they live connecting those who are isolated to resources, offering chances for connection with others, and providing high-quality early childhood experiences to those with barriers. This grant is making it possible to help prepare even more children for success in kindergarten and beyond.”
A second 40th Anniversary grant in the amount of $33,400 was awarded to WNCSource, formerly known as Western Carolina Community Action, a nonprofit that has served Western North Carolina for over 55 years by providing essential programs in the four key areas of Children’s Services, Housing, Transportation, and Older Adult Services. WNCSource will use the $33,4000 grant to launch its new Child Development Associate (CDA) Pathways Training Program. This innovative program gives individuals interested in working with children the opportunity to gain the necessary schooling, on-the-job training, and exam preparation needed to obtain their Child Development Associate credential – all while being paid.
WNCSource started the CDA Pathways Training Program in response to the nationwide childcare worker shortage that has left Henderson County and other communities without adequate care for children ages five and younger. As childcare centers close due to lack of staff, the entire economy is impacted because many parents (most often women) are unable to return to the workforce. The Child Development Associate or CDA is a nationally recognized certification that demonstrates specialized knowledge and experience in early childhood development. Early childhood education programs like Head Start, Early Head Start, NC Pre-K and many preschools require childcare workers to have a minimum of a CDA. To earn a CDA, an individual must have childcare experience, take classes in early childhood development, assemble a professional portfolio and pass the CDA exam.
“The CDA certification process takes about six months and offers a start to an amazing and rewarding career working with children until they enter kindergarten,” explains Linda Carter, Director of Children’s Services for WNCSource. “WNCSource will help program participants through every step of the way. This program meets a real need.”
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Community Foundation of Henderson County. To date, the organization has paid out $77.5 million in grants and annuities. Nonprofits submitted grant applications in February 2022 and a volunteer committee of eight community members carefully and thoughtfully reviewed 57 applications choosing nine grantees for the 40th Anniversary awards. Community Foundation of Henderson County will be presenting the remaining awards throughout the year at community events the organization is supporting. More information can be viewed here.