Teaching Tree lands Bohemian grant

FORT COLLINS — Bohemian Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center to support the expansion of its child care center in Fort Collins.

The gift advances a campaign that will allow Teaching Tree to more than double its licensed capacity, from 101 to 215 children, and more than double its space, from six to 12 classrooms. Campaign funds also will enable Teaching Tree to continue to provide scholarships to approximately 30 percent of all children enrolled.

The award follows on the heels of a $225,000 grant from the Buell Foundation.

“We appreciate Bohemian Foundation’s support, which brings us 72 percent of the way to meeting our $2.1 million capital campaign goal,” said Anne Lance, executive director of Teaching Tree.

In addition to adding six new classrooms serving children six weeks old to five years old, the expansion also will include two natural playgrounds, or outdoor learning environments, to stimulate children’s curiosity, exploration and increased physical activity. Construction is slated to begin this spring, with completion anticipated in late 2019.

“Bohemian Foundation is pleased to be among the many contributors to this project,” said Bohemian Foundation Community Programs Director Sara Maranowicz. “The child care shortage is a far-reaching community challenge that requires a community-level response. Generous local donors, businesses, government partners and statewide funders are contributing in order to address the need for quality, affordable child care. It is vital to the well-being of our community.”

In 2017, research conducted by the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County revealed an overwhelming deficit in licensed child care availability for families in the county. According to the study, published in a white paper, “A Workforce Strategy and Major Economic Driver: Child Care in Larimer County,” the estimated need for child care is nearly 14,000, yet the number of licensed child care slots is just over 7,000 across infant, toddler and preschool ages. The gap is most acute for infants, with only 25 percent of families who need infant care able to access licensed spaces.

United Way of Larimer County and the city of Fort Collins have been working with Teaching Tree since last year to make the physical expansion of the child care center possible.

United Way of Larimer County will be vacating its offices in the building it shares with Teaching Tree at 424 Pine St. This will allow Teaching Tree to renovate the space and occupy the whole building. The city of Fort Collins, which owns the building, approved the expansion project and provided Teaching Tree with a 20-year lease at a cost of just $50 each month.

Other foundations supporting the project are Buell Foundation, Fort Collins Community Fund administered by Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, Qualistar Colorado, and NoCo Unify.

Teaching Tree Fort Collins has been providing affordable, quality early childhood care and education for low- and middle-income families in Larimer County since 1970. The program maintains a Level 4 Colorado Shines rating, making it one of the highest quality providers in the state.

Bohemian Foundation, founded in 2001 by philanthropist Pat Stryker, is a private family foundation that supports local, national, and global efforts to build strong communities.

The foundation works to empower citizens and impact communities through its responsive grantmaking programs and special initiatives. 

FORT COLLINS — Bohemian Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center to support the expansion of its child care center in Fort Collins.

The gift advances a campaign that will allow Teaching Tree to more than double its licensed capacity, from 101 to 215 children, and more than double its space, from six to 12 classrooms. Campaign funds also will enable Teaching Tree to continue to provide scholarships to approximately 30 percent of all children enrolled.

The award follows on the heels of a $225,000 grant from the Buell Foundation.

“We appreciate Bohemian Foundation’s support, which brings us 72 percent of the way to meeting our $2.1 million capital campaign goal,” said Anne Lance, executive director of Teaching Tree.

In addition to adding six new classrooms serving children six weeks old to five years old, the expansion also will include two natural playgrounds, or outdoor learning environments, to stimulate children’s curiosity, exploration and increased physical activity. Construction is slated to begin this spring, with completion anticipated in late 2019.

“Bohemian Foundation is pleased to be among the many contributors to this project,” said Bohemian Foundation Community Programs Director Sara Maranowicz. “The child care shortage is a far-reaching community challenge that requires a community-level response. Generous local donors, businesses, government partners and statewide funders are contributing in order to address the need for quality, affordable child care. It is vital to the well-being of our community.”

In 2017, research conducted by the Early Childhood Council…