From the Desk of the Director of Programs and Initiatives: Alethea Gomez
Hello Friends and Members of EPIC!
On September 19, 1783, the first hot air balloon showcased humans in flight for the first time ever to human eyes at the palace of Versailles in France. When asked by a skeptic what possible use a human in flight could be, Leonardo DaVinci, who was in the crowd that day replied, “Friend, what use is a newborn baby?”
DaVinci saw the possibility in the spark of an idea, and EPIC is inspired by this notion and others in our observance and support for current innovative and ambitious projects in Colorado communities and at the legislative level, and partnerships and funding streams that are paving the way towards a stronger childcare infrastructure and workforce and Colorado for all.
READ ON for some highlights of what’s happening in…
Creativity in Community Partnerships: When is Empty Space Community Space?
More than ever, creativity and innovation are needed in our communities to make programming, places, and resources of all kinds accessible to our population at large. In early care and education, ideas about real estate, funding, and endeavors that bring together partners with mutually beneficial resources and knowledge are continuing to take shape around the state.
This month, we are highlighting the Revive Community Church Project in Arvada, which is developing its vision of adapting their new space, The Bridge, to house community partners that will provide direct and indirect services addressing economic, relational, and spiritual vulnerability. Their vision includes the development of affordable housing, workforce development, health care services, and other mutually beneficial services/tenants that generate revenues and create opportunities for Revive Church to serve others. The project also includes plans to utilize a significant portion of real estate for childcare and Revive is in talks with an operator with the plan to complete the project by Late 2022.
EPIC will continue to highlight this work as it moves forward as one of Building Up’s Projects of Promise to track progress and aid in the development of regulatory barriers to help this and other endeavors thrive. Stay tuned for more news!
Progress at the Legislative Level
EPIC is very proud to have our own President and CEO, Nicole Riehl, advocate alongside EPIC members and ECE stakeholders to support several bills this legislative session. Among these are bills that will create a refundable tax credit for early educators, help build a database of real estate throughout the state that can be an asset to developing child care capacity, support the removal of financial barriers to early care and education businesses, and of course, the Universal PreK bill. This pivotal bill was signed into law on April 25, making preschool within reach for thousands of Colorado families.
EPIC is proud to have advocated for additional Funding and Support for ECE with the passing of House Bill 22-213 which will provide an additional $100 million in funding. This includes investments in capacity, workforce, and diverse systems of delivery. It also establishes the family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) support programs, including an advisory group and training programs.
This includes $15 million to support programs to recruit and retain child care workers, including scholarships and loan forgiveness for early childhood educators. $16 million to emerging and expanding the childcare businesses across our state making access, affordability, quality care, and education a reality for families in our community.