Fort Wayne, Decatur organizations get early education grants

As a part of Early Learning Indiana’s mission to increase access to high-quality early educational opportunities, two area organizations are among the eight ministry-based programs that have been awarded a total of $168,790 in grants by the today Indianapolis-based nonprofit.

Saint Therese Catholic School in Fort Wayne was granted $14,050 to install a playground fence and anti-scald valves on hand washing sinks, to purchase new curriculum, and to cover the cost of background checks for new hires and ongoing professional development opportunities for existing staff. Kids First Child Care Ministry at the First United Methodist Church of Decatur was granted $23,000 to purchase new curriculum and to add a separate play area for infants and toddlers.

Funds will be used for physical, operational and program improvements that enable the programs to join and advance along Paths to QUALITY, the state’s child care quality rating and improvement system. The voluntary, four-tiered system assesses each provider on health and safety standards, its overall learning environment, the use of planned curriculums and national accreditations.

Since 2015, Early Learning Indiana has awarded more than $2 million in grants that created 1,500 new seats throughout the state. Grants like these are made possible thanks to the Lilly Endowment and its $20 million in support of Early Learning Indiana’s efforts.

Early Learning Indiana is the state’s oldest and largest early childhood education nonprofit, founded in 1899 as Day Nursery. Today, Early Learning Indiana operates nine Day Early Learning centers in Central Indiana, educating more than 1,000 children each year. More information is available at