The United Way of Monroe County and partner agency Pocono Alliance announced this morning, Friday, October 30 at an event held at The Growing Place Child Care Centers in Monroe County that they will each provide financial assistance to The Growing Place, enabling the child care center to continue programming through the end of this year. Both the United Way and Pocono Alliance will each provide $20,000 to The Growing Place as no-interest loans with potential options for further funding, depending on what occurs with the state budget.
Several non-profits across the state, including early childhood centers certified under Pennsylvania’s state-subsidized pre-kindergarten programs, are facing financial and operational challenges due to the state’s budget stalemate. The Growing Place – who announced last week that they will be closing their PA Pre-K Counts program at the end of October – has accepted no-interest loans from both the United Way of Monroe County and Pocono Alliance. Each agency provided $20,000 to The Growing Place on Friday, which will enable The Growing Place to continue programming through the end of 2015. These interest free loans are to be repaid, once the state budget has been approved and payment for the PA Pre-K program is received from the state. Both United Way and Pocono Alliance have committed to working with The Growing Place to identify potential next steps should a state budget still not be in place by the new year.
According to Lisa Eick, Executive Director, The Growing Place, “Pre-K Counts is a state-funded program, provided free of charge to families that qualify. The Growing Place is so grateful for the assistance of United Way of Monroe County and Pocono Alliance to keep our Pre-K Counts program running during the budget impasse.”
“Years ago the United Way of Monroe County established a fund to specifically support agencies in crisis,” said Michael Albert, President and CEO for the United Way of Monroe County. “Providing The Growing Place with the support to stay open through this difficult period is what the United Way is all about: working together to support the well-being of our community. Living United.”
Michael Tukeva, Executive Director of the Pocono Alliance added, “Pocono Alliance also received funds five years ago to save for a rainy day. Well, Pocono Alliance has not had a rainy day, but the community has. We will do everything we can to be a community dedicated to helping others. That is our vision.”
“We are extremely proud that United Way and the community came together to make sure The Growing Place’s doors can remain open, but this in no way should remove any urgency for our elected officials to end the state budget impasse. We need the Governor and state legislators to work together to pass a budget with bi-partisan support immediately,” says Kristen Rotz, President, United Way of Pennsylvania.
About The Growing Place – The Growing Place was established in 1976 as a non-profit outreach of Salem-St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kresgeville. What began as a single child care center has grown into two centers and several distinct programs, serving children from birth through school age, shaping the lives of thousands of children in the West End of Monroe County.
About Pocono Alliance – Pocono Alliance provides resources to the community by building relationships and creating solutions and has played a critical role since 2002 in comprehensive health and human service planning and management activities, program development and service delivery for low to moderate income families in the Pocono Mountains.
About United Way of Monroe County – “Live United” is part of United Way’s mission of giving, advocating and volunteering to produce positive changes in the community and advance the common good. To support its mission, United Way of Monroe County raises funds that stay in Monroe County, funding health and human services through community initiatives and partnerships with 21 non-profit agencies and more than 30 local health and human service programs. United Way of Monroe County has been serving the needs of local residents since 1942, assisting children, youth, adults, families, and senior citizens. Its targeted need areas include engaging youth, meeting basic needs, helping children succeed and promoting self-sufficiency.