FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GreenLight Fund Charlotte Announces $1M Investment in Children and Families: Helping Move Charlotte from Its 50th of 50 Ranking Nationally in Economic Mobility
Charlotte, NC – May 29, 2019 – After a comprehensive selection process in collaboration with local community leaders, GreenLight Fund Charlotte announces its first investment, ParentChild+ (formerly known as the Parent-Child Home Program). ParentChild+, based in New York, is a proven home visiting program focused on early childhood literacy, school readiness and socio-emotional development. GreenLight Fund’s investment in ParentChild+’s expansion to Charlotte fills an identified unmet need in Charlotte’s low-income communities. Partnerships with the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Charlotte Housing Authority and UCity Family Zone will ensure that ParentChild+ is equipped to support kindergarten readiness for at least 400 children and families in Charlotte.
After Charlotte-Mecklenburg was ranked 50th out of 50 in economic mobility, GreenLight Fund Charlotte deployed its model, engaging in deep conversations with local stakeholders and families to identify opportunities for expanded services and resources. The result was a focus on early childhood resilience and parental support. Families living in poverty often experience limited access to quality early childhood education and as a result, children ages 2-4 are experiencing socio-emotional delays and are not school ready when they reach kindergarten. GreenLight vetted dozens of organizations to find a program with the most impactful results and promise of local fit. With the assistance of GreenLight Charlotte’s Selection Advisory Council, ParentChild+ was selected as the first investment in a portfolio of solutions expected to grow each year to address gaps in services to families in Charlotte’s low-income community.
GreenLight Fund Charlotte has worked together with ParentChild+ to identify local partners that will implement the program in high areas of need throughout Charlotte beginning this fall. The Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) and UCity Family Zone are partnering with GreenLight and committing their resources to ensure a successful launch of ParentChild+.
Sarah Walzer, CEO of ParentChild+ shared with community leaders, “We are honored to join these partners to help bridge the opportunity gap for Charlotte families. Together, we are expanding the resources available to ensure that every child has access to equal possibilities from the start and enters their first classroom ready for school and life success.”
The Charlotte Bilingual Preschool has proven to be an essential resource for the immigrant community. They serve nearly 500 Spanish-speaking children and families with robust family and dual language early education programs. Like many high rated preschools, they have experienced an influx of applicants most of which have been placed on a waiting list. They have discovered that when children, ages 2 to 4, are finally able to enroll they are not school ready. Executive Director of the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Banu Valladares shares her enthusiasm for the announcement, “Our new partnership with Greenlight Fund and ParentChild+ is a game-changing next step for us that will fill a critical gap in services, building school readiness earlier where it starts: the home. We are delighted to be working with partners who share our view of parents as partners in their children’s education.”
In conversations with the CHA, Southside homes was identified as a major area of need and opportunity for the services provided by ParentChild+. Their Jobs Plus program provides workforce training skills for its residents, and this new partnership will provide a pathway for parents to work in their own neighborhood while building early education resources and advocacy. A. Fulton Meachem Jr., President and CEO of the CHA, is convinced that this is the right opportunity for their children and families. Under his leadership, CHA allocated resources to launch the site at Southside. “This partnership will create a zest for learning for our children that we hope never ends,” said Meachem. “With this investment, our children will be educationally and socio-emotionally prepared to enter kindergarten ready for success. Together, we can break the cycle of poverty, and change the trajectory of a family’s future.”
Dr. Mark DeHaven and the Early Years Collaborative at UNC Charlotte will begin evaluating ParentChild+ metrics for success alongside the childhood and family resilience work led by the UCity Family Zone Steering Committee. The UCity Family Zone is being considered as a future partner site for ParentChild+. DeHaven shared, “The UCity Family Zone is implementing a comprehensive life course approach throughout our communities, and ParentChild+ is an essential component of our nurturing families and school readiness strategies.”
GreenLight Fund is committed to the success of ParentChild+ as it launches in Charlotte by providing financial and on-the-ground support for the next four years. A ParentChild+ Director from Charlotte will be hired by early fall, and will work together with the implementation partners to hire and train site coordinators and early learning specialists from within the community to work with families. By the end of year one, there will be a cohort of 100 families being served. The goal is to add 100 families a year each of the next four years and support a corps of parent advocates within community. GreenLight Fund will support ParentChild+ in hiring the local director, assisting in the creation of their advisory board, and measuring program outcomes over the four year grant duration. GreenLight Fund’s Executive Director, Carrie Cook shared her passion for this investment, “we have spoken with families, we have been active in neighborhoods, and we understand the data supporting early childhood development – so this investment is made in partnership with the families who will be most impacted by this program. We are invested in change together with our neighbors.”
About GreenLight Fund Charlotte
The GreenLight Fund transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that have a significant, measurable impact; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city. Started in Boston in 2004, the nonprofit venture philanthropy organization launched the Charlotte site in 2017. Additional GreenLight sites include Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area. More information at https://greenlightfund.org/sites/charlotte/.
About The Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
Charlotte Bilingual Preschool (CltBP) has dedicated 20 years to providing innovative, two-generation solutions for preparing Spanish-speaking children for success. Core services include the 5-star licensed dual language Preschool Program for children 3-5 and the Family Program, which empowers families as their children’s most important teachers. In 2018, CltBP launched an extension of the Preschool Program called the Green Room, a three-year pilot integrating students and families from diverse cultural backgrounds to facilitate the flow of social capital. A recent alumni study of CltBP graduates in K-2nd grade indicates CltBP students enter kindergarten ahead of their Hispanic peers and maintain consistent growth and advantage. More information at https://www.bilingualpreschool.org/mission/.
About The Charlotte Housing Authority
In December 1938, The Charlotte City Council recognized the need for a public housing authority in Charlotte that would provide safe, sanitary and affordable housing for low-income families. That need evolved into today’s mission to develop, operate and provide quality housing in sustainable communities of choice for residents of diverse incomes. CHA works hand-in-hand with quality service providers for supportive services and as a result, continues to evolve as a collaborative leader, helping to provide solutions to housing and related issues in Charlotte and the surrounding area. More information at http://cha-nc.org/about/history.
About UCITY Family Zone
The UCity Family Zone is a place-based initiative (PBI) for improving the social determinants of health and quality of life among residents of University City and surrounding communities. Through collaboration with a wide array of community partners, the UCity Family Zone and UNC Charlotte seek to improve the daily living, learning, and working conditions of individuals and families throughout the community. UCity Family Zone is a continuous geographical area surrounding UNC Charlotte, is comprised of multiple community run and based organizations, and is home to 45,000 residents in an area of 5.5 square miles. The College of Health and Human Services provides administrative leadership, research expertise, and program evaluation support through the Academy for Research on Community Health, Engagement, and Services (ARCHES) and the Community Action Research Scholars (CARS). More information at https://arches.uncc.edu/our-work/ucity-family- zone.
ParentChild+ uses education to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families. We engage early in life and help toddlers and their parents access a path to possibility. What we provide isn’t just early literacy, it is early opportunity. For families living in underserved communities, we are a first step on the ladder to success. Through 92 home visits and gifts of 46 books and educational toys, we ensure that parents have access to the knowledge skills and materials to prepare their children for school and life success. Our early learning specialists model reading, conversation, and play activities that strengthen the parent-child bond, and build the critical early literacy, numeracy, language, and social- emotional skills children need to be successful students. Our staff are community-based and share a cultural and linguistic background with the families with whom they work. 25% of our early learning specialists graduated from the program as parent participants before being hired to work with other families in their communities. ParentChild+ currently works with communities and local partners in 15 states and 6 countries. More information at https://www.parentchildplus.org/about/.