Rural Minnesota, including the Southwest Initiative Foundation’s southwest Minnesota region, is facing a child care crisis. More than 12,000 child care providers already have all of their slots filled. SWIF has launched a new program called Bright Beginnings to add providers and support working families, because everyone from families to employers are impacted by this shortage.
Utilizing the work of both SWIF’s Microloan and Early Childhood Initiative programs, Bright Beginnings is all about supporting the business of child care. This program also directly aligns with SWIF’s Grow Our Own work which officially launched in December and is focusing on giving all southwest Minnesota kids the best possible start to life. It’s also designed to provide capital and business education to home or center-based licensed child care providers in SWIF’s microloan service area, which serves the following counties: Big Stone, Swift, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Meeker, McLeod, Renville, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood, Rock, Nobles, Jackson, Benton, Carver, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright.
Loans up to $15,000 are available, and the funds can be used for a multitude of things–including licensing, curriculum, playground equipment, educational toys and materials, repairs, renovations, or upgrades, code requirements, start-up or expansion expenses.
Providers must hold a Parent Aware Rating or be working towards obtaining a rating.
Loan recipient Summer Snow operates Sandy Lake Christian Childcare in Zimmerman. “The Bright Beginnings loan program assisted me in expanding my daycare,” said Snow. “I was limited to the number of children I could care for and had a waiting list of families. With the loan funds I was able to purchase what I needed to expand and grow my business. I am very grateful for this program and recommend it to anyone wanting to start or expand a daycare.”More info