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Saving Quality Child Care

United Way Success By 6 helps keep Boonton child care center open

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You don’t have to look far to see the effects of the economic downturn…bank accounts earning lower interest rates, increased demand at food pantries and soup kitchens, and state unemployment rates tipping 9 percent.

For many nonprofit child care centers, the effects threaten to close their doors, posing the dire ramifications to a community of working parents with no convenient, safe coverage for their children, veteran educators with no employment, and preschoolers lacking a nurturing, stimulating environment.

“We have operated in the red the last five years and were at a point where we thought we would have to close,” said Sue Uhlendorf, director, Ada Budrick Child Care and Learning Center in Boonton.

“The Ada Budrick Board of Trustees approached United Way ready to shut down due to financial hardship, leaving nearly 40 low-income families and children without quality child care,” said Jeff Bashe, chair of United Way of Northern New Jersey Success By 6 in Morris County.  Ada Budrick is the primary provider of child care services to ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and low-income families in the Boonton area, first opening in 1968.

“We stepped in to assess the situation and then approached the Greater Morristown YMCA Management and Board and suggested a merger of the two agencies*,” Bashe explained.  “The YMCA came through, demonstrating its community spirit and dedication to quality early childhood education by providing management and financial support, which will allow Ada Budrick to continue to provide all the children in their community with quality care.”

Thanks to an anonymous United Way donor who is committed to quality early learning for young children, United Way presented the YMCA and Ada Budrick with a check for $20,000 that will cover capital upgrades to improve the quality of the program and help bridge the financial gap until the center begins to recognize the cost savings associated with being part of a larger entity.  

“Our goal is to provide the best child care for as many little children as possible,” said Carol Armour, president, Greater Morristown YMCA.  “These families are dependent on this location…if it went away I don’t know where those children would go.”

The Greater Morristown YMCA draws on a solid management staff in child care, overseeing centers at Richard F. Blake Children’s Center in Cedar Knolls, Children’s Corner at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Allamuchy Early Childhood Center at the Mount Villa School, and Collinsville Child Care Center at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown.

Collaborating for results

Ada Budrick is not alone.  In the past four years, United Way has mobilized its resources and expertise to avert the closure of five financially challenged child care centers in Morris County.

By connecting partners, securing donors, and providing operational guidance, United Way has helped sustain high-quality early childhood education programs at Madison Day Care Center; Parsippany Child Day Care Center; Dover Child Care Center; Morristown-based Collinsville Child Care Center; and most recently Ada Budrick.

“This latest partnership shows how United Way brings together the right resources to benefit the entire community,” said Bashe.

United Way Success By 6 works to improve the long-term financial health of centers that serve low-income families by providing ongoing guidance to partner child care centers, offering expertise to strengthen volunteer boards, identifying group discounts, grants and shared services opportunities, and raising funds to support scholarships, teacher training, quality improvements, and operations.

“This is what United Way does best,” said Michelle Roers, United Way’s Chief Professional Officer in Morris County who oversees Education initiatives. “We identify a problem and bring community leaders together so that each one of us can lend our talents and expertise to create a solution for families in need.”

For information on United Way Success By 6, contact Kathy Kwasnik at 973.993.1160, x130.

*The merger is pending State government approval.

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