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Mayor’s Office

Mayor Weinberger Announces Selection of Vermont Birth to Five to Manage Early Learning Initiative Grant Process; VB5 Seeking Grant Applications


November 16, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane


Mayor Weinberger Announces Selection of Vermont Birth to Five to Manage Early Learning Initiative Grant Process; VB5 Seeking Grant Applications


Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger announced that the City of Burlington concluded the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for a group to help manage the Early Learning Initiative grant process with the selection of Vermont Birth to Five (VB5). VB5 will manage the grant-making program in collaboration with the City’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO), and the program will enable Burlington-based child care providers to compete for City funding intended to increase the number of high-quality child care slots for infants and toddlers from birth to age three.


“The opening of the Early Learning Initiative grant process means we are one step closer to achieving our goal of becoming a city in which every child has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of the means of their parents,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The City looks forward to selecting proposals that will begin the important work of expanding high-quality early care and learning options for children ages zero to three. By investing in our youngest children today, we will reap a better educated, healthier, and more just tomorrow. Thank you to Vermont Birth to Five for partnering with the City to lead this grant process.”


Vermont Birth to Five

An initiative of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, Vermont Birth to Five works to increase access to high-quality early care and learning statewide. VB5 will solicit and refine Burlington Early Learning Initiative grant applications and provide assessments to a Grant Committee that will ultimately make recommendations to the Mayor. VB5 has an expert staff focused on implementing early childhood education programs. The organization has dedicated a strong team to support this effort and has subsidized the cost of the work to help the City preserve funding for the grants to expand high-quality early care and learning slots in Burlington.


VB5 has published the details of the application process here: http://vermontbirthtofive.org/burlington-early-learning-initiative/. Information sessions for grant seekers will be held on November 27; VB5 staff are also available to answer questions. Letters of Intent will be due December 1. Full grant applications are due January 12, 2018.


Early Learning Initiative

In May 2017, Mayor Weinberger, Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, City Councilor Dave Hartnett, and many other community leaders announced that the City of Burlington would be funding the Burlington Early Learning Initiative (ELI) focused on Burlington children from birth to age 3. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, the City will invest $500,000 annually in a capacity-building grants program for Burlington early care and learning programs that provide high-quality care to low income children and commit to increasing the number of slots available for children birth to three. The focus on expanding capacity was refined by the work of an Advisory Board of providers, health care professionals, advocates, residents, and City officials that met regularly in 2015 and 2016 to sort through many of the challenges to providing high-quality early care and learning programs in the City.


Burlington’s ELI is part of a growing national and state movement to expand investment in children before they enter kindergarten. New early childhood investment is a major priority of Governor Phil Scott, as it was for Governor Peter Shumlin, President Barack Obama, and mayors across the country. Features of Burlington’s ELI include:

  • The program will seek to address the fact that low-income Burlington children are disproportionately likely to be unready for school, experience a widening achievement gap as they age in the public school system, and are more likely to experience a range of negative outcomes later in life, including reduced educational achievements, higher rates of chronic health problems, higher rates of incarceration and drug misuse, and lower lifetime earnings.
  • The ELI will support the good work that many early care and learning programs are already doing by providing a stable funding source that can be drawn on to increase the total number of high-quality child care slots available within Burlington. The City’s research in prior years documented less than 200 slots available for children ages 0-3, with about 350 Burlington babies born every year.
  • The ELI will be rigorously evaluated over time. The program aspires to become a model for investments in early learning that result in measurable economic, health-related, social, and educational benefits that convince other funders to participate in affecting long-lasting changes.
  • In future years the City will attempt to leverage significant additional funding from other private, institutional, and public sources to provide scholarships for high quality early care to young children living in poverty to expand the impact and public returns of the ELI effort. A recent study released by the Vermont Business Roundtable found that every dollar invested to expand Vermont’s high-quality early care and learning programs will yield a return of $3.08 (view the full report here).
  • The long-term goal of the program is to ensure that all Burlington children have the opportunity to succeed regardless of family income level.


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