Alachua County Florida has been selected to receive a three-year $250,000 grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, one of 10 awarded following a national, year-long competition to identify innovative community-based efforts to improve outcomes for infants and toddlers. The Children’s Trust of Alachua County will manage the grant funds on behalf of a coalition of public and private partners that have crafted a strategy for a strong and sustainable infrastructure to improve access to programs and services that offer a foundation for a strong start for the community’s youngest children.
The coalition and its members will join other national, state, local organizations as part of the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers.
“We are grateful for the investment in our children by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative. Working with our community partners, we can help our children thrive,” said Colin Murphy, Executive Director of the Children’s Trust of Alachua County.
The “On the Way” initiative aims to increase participation rates of children and families below 200% FPL across our existing continuum of prenatal to three (PN-3) services, while simultaneously improving the quality of PN-3 care and early education. The primary strategy is to maximize our area’s existing services and resources through activities that leverage under-utilized resources, strengthen connections among the various PN-3 touchpoints, target outreach to the families and communities most at risk, as well as incentivize commitments for early education centers to achieve Gold Seal accreditation and provide infant care. Our strategies will focus on specific zip code areas within Gainesville (32607, 32609, 32641) that have concentrated child poverty (43.2%, 35.6% and 46.8%, respectively).
“Supporting strong prenatal-to-three efforts in communities across the nation is key to expanding the numbers of young children in the United States with access to high-quality programs and services. We believe that setting infants and toddlers on the path to success in school and in life is work on which we can all agree,” said Gerry Cobb, Director, Pritzker Children’s Initiative. “We are pleased to support the priorities of the Children’s Trust of Alachua County through this grant and want to build on the innovative work being done by the outstanding public and private partners that have come together on behalf of the Alachua County’s youngest children.”
The Children’s Trust of Alachua County (CTAC) provides children’s services throughout Alachua County. It was created after the voters of Alachua County approved a referendum in 2018, by over 61 percent, authorizing its creation. The Trust is building on the years of effort of the Children’s Services Advisory Board Plan and the Campaign for the Children’s Trust of Alachua County. Through its Pritzker Children’s Initiative, the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation has been a champion of quality early learning for almost two decades. The Pritzker Children’s Initiative supports organizations and coalitions in states and communities to expand equitable access to and participation in high-quality services for infants, toddlers, and their families across the United States. The National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers (NCIT) brings together early childhood leaders, policymakers, and practitioners committed to advancing policies and programs that ensure every child from prenatal to age three has the support he or she needs for a strong start in life.