News release from the United Way of Allen County:
United Way announces $1.6 million returning to Allen County through On My Way Pre-K and first full year of students
(September 8, 2015) – United Way of Allen County announced the official launch of the On My Way Pre-K Pilot Program today at Kiddie Prep School. To date, the program has leveraged more than $1.6 million in state funding and grants. Last month, 220 four-year-olds started the first full year of the Indiana state funded pre-k program in Allen County.
An initial trial of the pilot was held in January with 50 students. At that time, 22 child care providers were approved for the program. That number has more than doubled to 45 approved providers that parents were able to choose from for the August start. All providers are at a level 3 or 4 on the Paths to QUALITYâ„¢ system, Indiana’s Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System.
On My Way Pre-K is the name of Indiana’s state-funded prekindergarten program, which was approved as a five-county pilot by the Indiana General Assembly in 2014. The Indiana General Assembly approved an additional $20 million for the program ($10 million for each of the next two years) in the 2015.
“This is a phenomenal investment in our community,” said David Nicole, President and CEO of United Way of Allen County. “This program allows us to leverage an outstanding return on investment for our Allen County neighbors and ensure that our children start kindergarten ready to learn.”
State funding is secured through a match. For every $1 that Allen County invests, the state matches $9. Several local organizations have committed to funding the program.
The first to commit was the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from the PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE:PNC). PNC presented its $50,000 contribution during today’s press conference.
“Indiana businesses need a capable workforce, especially as we compete in a world economy fueled by knowledge and skills. PNC’s support underlies our understanding that part of the solution is investing in high-quality early childhood education. This not only provides children with a pathway out of poverty, it also contributes to healthy economic development,” said Doug Wood, PNC regional president of northern Indiana.
Additional funders to date are BF Goodrich, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne and United Way.
About the PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
About United Way
Established in 1922, United Way of Allen County is a not-for-profit organization that unites our community’s time, talent, and treasure to cultivate and advance community solutions that address the most critical issues around basic needs, education, financial stability and healthy lives. For more information, please visit www.unitedwayallencounty.org.