The Capital Area United Way will get a boost in its mission to improve early childhood development in the 10-parish area around Baton Rouge with a $2 million, two-year grant from the federal government.
The federal Corporation for National and Community Service awarded the grant from its Social Innovation Fund, which is designed to put public and private money together to help grow community-based programs that improve the lives of people in low-income communities, according to the corporation’s website.
The grant is $1 million per year with a guarantee of two years of funding, said Kendall Hebert, senior director of communications and marketing with Capital Area United Way. The grant can be renewed up to five years, she said.
As part of the Social Innovation Fund program, which is designed to leverage federal money with privately raised money, the Capital Area United Way is required to match the grant dollar for dollar, said Karen Powell, director of education initiatives with Capital Area United Way.
The grant will help support the Capital Area United Way’s early childhood education initiative that was announced during the organization’s July 2011 annual meeting.
The money will be used to provide funding to nonprofit organizations in the 10-parish service area whose programs meet one of the five desired outcomes of the United Way’s early education initiative.
The five outcomes are: parents would be engaged, supported and educated to meet the needs of young children; birth outcomes would improve; all children have access to quality child care and preschool; all children’s physical and safety needs are met; and children’s social and emotional health needs are met.
There will be a competitive grant process that will require the applicants to come up with one-to-one matching money as well, Powell said. Eight to 12 nonprofit programs likely will benefit from the grant, she said.
This is only the third year of the national program, and it’s the first year that the Capital Area United Way has been named a recipient of the competitive grant, Powell said.
“Investments in early childhood development programs help ensure that more children, especially high-need children, enter school ready and able to succeed,” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said in a news release Tuesday.
“I congratulate the Capital Area United Way for their commitment to Louisiana’s children and hope to see the Social Innovation Fund continue to invest in our many worthy community-based nonprofits,” she said.
The Capital Area United Way serves a 10-parish region: East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, Iberville, Livingston, Ascension, St. Helena and St. James parishes. During the 2011-2012 annual fundraising campaign, the Capital Area United Way raised $10.5 million.