Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Invests more than $1 Million to Support Small Home-Based Childcare Providers in Western New York

July 30, 2020

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation recently announced more than $1 million in grants to support small, home-based childcare providers through the “Small Grants for Small Children” program. The funds were granted to four Western New York-based community foundations to cover nine counties across the region.

“Childcare is essential now more than ever,” said Amber Slichta, vice president of programs at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Small home-based childcare providers rarely qualify for support and in turn, do not view themselves as small businesses. It’s important that we continue to fill these gaps and uplift these providers, as they are often the only option for working families in rural areas and urban neighborhoods.”

Grants were distributed to the following:

  • Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation – $50,000 for Cattaraugus County
  • Chautauqua Region Community Foundation – $100,00 for Chautauqua County
  • Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo – $516,000 for Erie, Niagara, Wyoming and Allegany counties
  • Rochester Area Community Foundation – $384,000 for Genesee, Monroe and Orleans counties

These foundations will work with local child care resource and referral agencies to distribute grants of up to $2,000 to nearly 525 small home-based childcare providers across Western New York. Childcare providers will have flexibility to use the funds as they best see fit to help them re-open or remain open to continue to provide high quality care to children.

“As we begin the reopening process here in Cattaraugus County, childcare will be more important than ever,” said Cattaragus Region Community Foundation Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “Many people will be returning to work for the first time in months to provide for their families, and they need dependable, safe childcare to make that possible. It is a crucial piece of how we can begin to move into the ‘new normal’ for our community.”

“We are so pleased to partner with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation on this important grant,” said Tory Irgang, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation executive director. “Their quick response to the needs of childcare providers in making this funding available was amazing. These are dollars are helping our childcare providers remain viable during the most challenging circumstances they have ever faced.”

“As we move toward COVID-19 recovery efforts in our community, these childcare grants made possible by the generosity of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation will make a big impact in Western New York,” said Betsy Constantine, Executive Vice President, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “The regional collaboration between the foundations and the Childcare Resource Networks will ensure that we can support childcare providers during a critical time of building back in our community.”

“In-home childcare has always been in demand. But the pandemic has more families looking at home-based childcare as a way to minimize their children’s exposure to large numbers of other children and adults,” says Jennifer Leonard, the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s president and CEO. “This sudden need by families during an already difficult time has placed a great deal of strain on home care providers who want to help.”

During the pandemic, childcare providers have been struggling to accommodate the changing needs of families and balance this with their own needs for reliable income and fears of being exposed to COVID-19. Most challenged are the small home-based childcare programs that serve between three and twelve children. Currently, they are ineligible for many of the Federal and State supports available to small businesses. This is exacerbated by the fact that most programs supporting small business do not have childcare on their radar.

This program is modeled after the long-standing Small Grants to Small Children developed by the Adirondack Foundation.

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The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email foundation@cattfoundation.org, or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).

The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation is a tax-exempt, grantmaking organization that serves the charitable purpose of benefitting the people of the Chautauqua Region. Since 1978, the Foundation has helped donors make a positive impact on their community. In 2019, the Foundation awarded $3,385,723 to the community in the form of grants and scholarships.  

For more than a century, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has enhanced and encouraged long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. A 501 (c)(3) organization, the Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. Established in 1919, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. Learn more at cfgb.org.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best.