Invest Early, a collaboration of MCF member Blandin Foundation, four Itasca area school districts, Kootasca Head Start, Itasca County Human Services and others originated almost ten years before its first classrooms opened in 2005.
Since then it has truly changed how early childhood programs are delivered in northern Minnesota.
The partners combined enrollment forms for several early childhood options. Now parents complete one form, and they don’t have to determine their eligibility for various programs or decide which to apply for.
Funds from various sources, which can’t actually be combined, look like they are to customers, and program staff place children and match the family with the most appropriate funding source.
As a result, services for all children, regardless of their family’s income level, are more equitable and kids who will start kindergarten together are already becoming fast friends.
Read more in the summer issue of Giving Forum on collaboration, online and in your mailbox now.
- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate