COVID-19 put a spotlight on the critical role that childcare plays in supporting the city’s economy, businesses, and families. As part of the Unified Early Childhood Workforce Stabilization Initiative, the City of Alexandria partnered with ACT for Alexandria to award Provider Sustainability Grants to eligible childcare providers. Childcare providers generate revenue primarily through enrollment and tuition fees and this business model depends on full enrollment. The sustainability grants provided financial support to licensed and regulated providers in the City of Alexandria that were in danger of closing or have a business in recovery as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
More than $1.7 million in sustainability grants and social emotional wellness funds were awarded to providers serving the community.
Awarded providers used the grants to:
- Financial relief to childcare providers to help defray unexpected business costs associated with the pandemic, and to help stabilize their operations so that they may continue to provide care
- Personnel costs, including increased compensation, benefits, ongoing professional development, premium pay, staff bonuses, and employee transportation costs to and from work
- Rent/mortgage costs, utilities, facilities maintenance and improvements, and insurance. (Examples of facility improvements include playground upgrades and other minor renovative efforts focused on providing a safe developmentally appropriate environment, such as renovating existing spaces. New construction and major renovations are not allowed)
- Training and professional development related to health and safety practices
- Business resources or software products that assist in effective and safe operations
- Goods and services necessary for operating a childcare program, including equipment and materials to facilitate childcare, such as diapering supplies and care materials
- Infant and early childhood mental health consultation to support children, staff, and families in childcare facilities. This may include ways to support children with challenging behaviors or to help children, families, and staff who may need support due to pressures of the pandemic
- Payment of past COVID-19 losses and expenses retroactive to March 15, 2020, to ensure future childcare business viability
Providers also had the opportunity to apply for Social Emotional Wellness Grants, which supported childcare homes and center based childcare classrooms in creating and equipping social/emotional wellness spaces for children in need of self-regulation and trauma support.
This program is supported, in whole or in part, by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds award number 21.027 awarded to the City of Alexandria, Virginia by the U.S. Department of Treasury.