WCF invests in child care providers from COVID-19 Community Resilience Fund

Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) awarded a grant to the Opportunity Council for the NW Center for Child Care Retention and Expansion. As part of the award, approximately $25,000 will be made available for pass-through grants to all licensed child care providers on Whidbey Island.

“COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on child care programs that have already been running on thin margins. Providers who remain open face even greater challenges than before.  Meeting safety standards to keep everyone safe from coronavirus, lower enrollment creating even lower margins, and as we approach the school year many families will need to access child care where costs are often higher than university tuition. These grants will help stabilize providers on Whidbey Island that have been forced to adapt quickly with revenue shortfalls and increased costs, all while continuing to provide quality care for the children in our community,” stated Wilanne Ollila-Perry, Senior Manager, NW Center for Child Care Retention and Expansion/Opportunity Council.

WCF’s grant to the Opportunity Council was awarded from the COVID-19 Community Resilience Fund which was designed to complement the work of public agencies by expanding local capacity to address aspects of the coronavirus pandemic as efficiently as possible. To date, the COVID-19 Fund has raised over $227,000 and distributed over $170,000 to community organizations on Whidbey Island. Grants provided by the COVID-19 Fund have supported basic needs (including all food banks on Whidbey), personal protective equipment (PPE), and all three school districts on the Island.

“The cost of child care, driven by our inadequate supply, impedes the financial stability and resiliency of families with children in our community. We are excited to partner with the NW Center at the Opportunity Council to help stabilize licensed child care providers on Whidbey Island challenged by the pandemic,” noted Jessie Gunn, Program Manager, Whidbey Community Foundation.

Licensed child care providers on Whidbey can inquire about available funding from the Opportunity Council’s NW Center by contacting their Child Care Aware/Early Achievers Coach or by emailing childcare@oppco.org to request information about the application process.

In addition to WCF’s investment in licensed child care providers on Whidbey, Island County Human Services recently announced CARES dollars available for families with unexpected child care costs due to change in school schedules or loss of regular care. Visit Island County Human Services’ website or call 360-678-8284 for more information.

About Opportunity Council

Opportunity Council is a private, nonprofit Community Action Agency that for over 50 years has offered a broad scope of services that range from immediate and crisis-oriented needs to longer-term programs that promote quality child care, early learning, education, and family services as well as self-sufficiency. Opportunity Council’s mission is to help people improve their lives through education, support, and direct assistance while advocating for just and equitable communities.  

Opportunity Council’s presence in Island County began in 1981 and has grown to a fully developed service center with a broad range of programs designed to offer stability to low-income families.  Services include energy assistance coupled with referrals to weatherization and home rehab, transitional housing, homeless prevention assistance, employment readiness and financial stability.  Additionally, a program specifically geared towards helping veteran families is available.  In 2019 Opportunity Council served more than 3,000 households in Island County.

About the NW Center for Child Care Retention and Expansion

In partnership with Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, Opportunity Council/Child Care Aware of Northwest Washington opened the NW Center for Child Care Retention & Expansion in January 2020 to provide consultation, service navigation, and technical assistance to businesses, individuals and nonprofits interested in opening or expanding child care capacity. The NW Center now serves and provides grant funding focused on child care stability, recovery and growth to their five-county region: Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties.

About Whidbey Community Foundation

Whidbey Community Foundation was formed in 2016 to improve the quality of life on Whidbey Island by providing support for the nonprofit sector, assisting donors to build and preserve enduring assets for charitable purposes, and meeting community needs through financial awards. Visit WCF’s website www.whidbeyfoundation.org for more information. If you have questions, contact WCF at info@whidbeyfoundation.org or call at 360-660-5041.