New funding through Childcare Entrepreneur fund announced
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement, Economic Development, and the City of Boston's Economic Mobility Lab announced the third funding round of the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund to support home-based family childcare businesses with grant funding, coaching, and technical assistance, to support early educators in sharpening their entrepreneurial skills. Businesses may apply for $3,500 of flexible grant funding to stabilize and maintain family childcare businesses until December 4, 2020.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our economy and society in innumerable ways. Now more than ever, we depend on childcare to function as a society," said Mayor Walsh. "Supporting our families has been our number one priority, and we continue to work hard to support access to high quality, affordable childcare for all working families, as well as living wages and good work conditions for our early education workforce."
Yesterday, 65 previous grantees were recognized in the 2020 Childcare Entrepreneur Fund Graduation. The Childcare Entrepreneur Fund is part of the City's approach to making high-quality affordable childcare an accessible component of working families' lives. As part of the selection process, priority will be given to businesses owned by women (WBEs) and people of color (MBEs) and businesses operating in Boston Housing Authority (BHA) units to serve families using childcare vouchers. Interested participants can watch informational workshops on the application process here.
A new study commissioned by the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement, "Too Much and Not Enough: Family Stresses and childcare Preferences in Boston During COVID-19," examines the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on working families with childcare needs. The study drew three important conclusions: Boston's families are balancing competing fears (COVID-19, job loss, and lack of positive growth and development for their children); flexibility in the workplace is not enough to alleviate increased stress at home; and the childcare options available to families do not yet reflect their preferences.
"These findings clearly demonstrate how families have reached their 'breaking points'--they are stressed, exhausted, and scared," said study authors Dr. Kimberly D. Lucas and Dr. Wendy Wagner Robeson. "At the same time, the findings point to very clear and concrete actions that the City of Boston and its partners can continue--as well as adopt--to better support Boston's families in the near- and long-terms."
The City's scope of childcare initiatives includes empowering parents, childcare industry workers, and community organizations to improve childcare accessibility for working families. The City of Boston collected data on childcare arrangements and preferences of working parents through its Census Childcare Survey in 2019. Most recently, the City contributed $25,000 to Community Labor United's Care That Works program to expand childcare access during nonstandard hours to support families who work outside of conventional working hours.
This is coupled with funding opportunities through the Boston Resiliency Fund, which has directly provided $950,000 in funding to Boston emergency childcare programs to ensure that families of essential workers had childcare options. Boston Public Schools works with community organizations to explore the creative use of spaces and places outside of school to provide students and families with enriching learning experiences. Mayor Walsh has advocated in support of the Childcare is Essential Act, to fund childcare businesses that weren't included in other federal relief efforts during COVID-19.
Since its launch in 2019, the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund has already supported more than 65 childcare businesses with a total of $227,500 in funding. To learn more about the program, including information session workshop dates and times, visit boston.gov/childcare-fund. To learn more about the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement's childcare initiatives, visit here.ABOUT THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF WOMEN'S ADVANCEMENT
The Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement creates specific programming and opportunities that support three priority areas: economic equity, safety, and empowerment, and representation. Some of the office's most recent work includes: research on paid parental leave and childcare affordability; a multi-pronged approach to closing the gender pay gaps; reducing the demand for commercial sexual exploitation; and creating specific programming for women entrepreneurs. Learn more on their website.ABOUT THE ECONOMIC MOBILITY LAB
The Economic Mobility Lab is a team of social entrepreneurs centrally located in the Mayor's Office of Policy. It emerged from the Resilience Strategy, centering its work on racial, gender, and economic equity. The Lab researches and tests promising ideas that have the potential to dramatically increase upward economic mobility. One of its focus areas, in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement, is childcare. Learn more on their website.ABOUT THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Economic Development Cabinet's mission is to make Boston an appealing and accessible place for working families, entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors to innovate, grow, and thrive in a way that fosters inclusion, broadens opportunity, and shares prosperity, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all Bostonians and the experience for all visitors. Learn more on their website.