Fort Wayne’s Foellinger Foundation provides $500,000 grant to strengthen Let’s Grow! early childhood program

Let’s Grow! early childhood programs affiliated with Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County received a $500,000 boost Thursday from the Foellinger Foundation.

Foundation officials announced the grant during a news conference at Precious Angels Christian Day Care, 704 E. Pontiac St.

The grant will support projects for the child-care ministries that include developmental learning, staff learning environments, staff training and mentoring workshops, the foundation said in an announcement.

“Communities need to invest in training and education in the childcare field in order to provide high-quality and developmentally focused early learning environments to all children,” Cheryl Taylor, Foellinger Foundation president, said in the announcement.

The Let’s Grow program allows children to “develop in safe, healthy and nurturing environments,” the announcement said.

Many Let’s Grow! child-care centers have attained a status of Level 1 or better in Indiana’s Paths to QUALITY, a statewide child-care quality rating and improvement system, the announcement said.

Foellinger Foundation focuses on supporting effective organizations, the announcement said. The Let’s Grow! program has demonstrated success by providing:

• Early childhood development and funding of age-appropriate projects serving over 1,000 children.

• Professional development of more than 25 directors and 100 members of their teaching staffs.

• Project administrations, including coaching and mentoring of grantees.

• Independent evaluation of the project.

Including the grant announced Thursday, Foellinger Foundation has invested nearly $1.25 million in the Let’s Grow! program since 2011, the announcement said.