We are excited to announce that through our inaugural Choice Bank Child Care Grant Program, Choice Bank distributed $150,000 in grant funding to 16 child care facilities across rural North Dakota.
Choice Bank launched the Child Care Grant in 2021 to provide financial assistance to rural licensed child care providers. The program received 66 applications in its first year. Grant recipients were selected based on how well their proposed project would serve the underserved, expand who they can serve, and improve how they serve.
The 2021 Choice Bank Child Care Grant Recipients are:
- Bearcat Den Daycare, Hebron, ND, is using its grant funds to pay down debt on the new daycare facility, a new 1,800 square foot manufactured home.
- Before & After School Program, Kindred, ND, is using its grant funds toward a 29-passenger school bus to transport children safely to and from school and toward an additional door for the home facility for safer entry and monitoring of children.
- Country Kids Corral, Medina, ND, is using the grant funding toward a fire alarm system for their new facility, which required major renovations as it was converted from a grocery store.
- Itsy-Bitsy Daycare, Lincoln, ND, is using the grant funds toward training for staff, one-time hiring bonuses, and one-time contributions to employees’ Health Savings Accounts.
- Jan’s Little Jewels, Lincoln, ND, is using the funding for equipment, including outdoor and indoor play equipment, in addition to hiring bonuses for new teachers to increase their capacity to take on more children.
- Kiddie Klubhouse, Park River, ND, is using the grant funding toward heating and plumbing updates as well as new windows, doors, roofing, and baby gates.
- Kids Choice, Inc., Walhalla, ND, is using the grant toward sensory items and dramatic play pieces for their older children; highchairs, pack and plays, and changing table for their infants; new cleaning equipment; and employee bonus stipends.
- Kids Town House, Inc., Cavalier, ND, is using their grant to replace the wood mulch in their playground with rubber mulch, creating a safer play area for the children.
- Langdon Day Care Center, Langdon, ND, is using the grant toward the expense of replacing all the flooring in their facility.
- Lil Spuds Daycare, Hoople, ND, is using the grant to fund their expansion project to meet the demand of the large enrollment of children from Hoople and the surrounding area.
- Little Bugs Daycare, Oakes, ND, is using the grant funds to pay for wiring, plumbing, and labor at the daycare site.
- Little Steps Learning Center, Hunter, ND, is using the grant toward a new HVAC system and employee bonuses.
- Mini Monarchs, Inkster, ND, is using the grant funds toward competitive pay incentives for their staff, including sign-on bonuses and quarterly bonuses.
- Minto’s ABC Daycare, Minto, ND, is using the grant funding to install skirting around the mobile home the facility is housed in and add insulation over the pipes underneath the building.
- Sonshine Center, Casselton, ND, is using their grant funds toward continuing education and bonuses for their staff and a new laptop to be used in the classroom for presentations and educational planning.
- Tiny Tornadoes, Oakes, ND, is using the grant to install new vinyl flooring throughout the facility.
“Child care providers in rural communities face a unique set of challenges. With this Child Care Grant, we hope to provide rural child care facilities with the extra support and resources they need to remain resilient,” Brian L. Johnson, Choice Bank CEO.
Choice Bank created this grant because access to child care is essential to the economic vitality of rural communities. Many rural towns are rapidly declining as their economic survival is dependent on access to child care. If a child care facility doesn’t have the resources to operate, parents are forced to commute elsewhere for child care. This leads to a progressive decline in rural communities as parents move and find jobs somewhere where child care is available and money begins to leave the community. Rural areas have the highest concentration of these childcare deserts compared to urban areas because barriers to funding and lack of resources can make it difficult for rural child providers facilities to remain successful.
“Choice Bank’s roots are in the rural communities of North Dakota. We see firsthand the work ethic and dedication of our neighbors coming together to better their communities,” said Brian L. Johnson, CEO of Choice Bank. “Child care providers in rural communities face a unique set of challenges. With this Child Care Grant, we hope to provide rural child care facilities with the extra support and resources they need to remain resilient.”
The demand for child care services far exceeds the current capacity of licensed child care providers in North Dakota. According to Child Care Aware of North Dakota, there are 120,371 children potentially needing care in North Dakota, yet the licensed child care capacity statewide is only 36,529. The Choice Bank Child Care Grant strives to support child care providers meet this demand.
We are very excited to see how the disbursed grant funds support North Dakota’s rural child care providers and look forward to reopening the Child Care Grant again in 2022.
For more on the Choice Bank Child Care Grant, visit bankwithchoice.com/childcaregrant/.