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Child Care Center at Aims earns $15,000 Daniels Fund grant

Submitted on: 09-27-2004

Aims this week learned it will receive a $15,000 grant from the Daniels Fund to help student parents pay child care expenses this year at the Monfort Early Childhood Education Center. The grant will go toward the MECEC’s sliding-fee scale, which lowers child care tuition rates for Aims' student parents based on their income. “The sliding scale is so important for our students,” said Linda Neigherbauer, director of MECEC. “When we quote our prices to students, the look on their face says it all. They don’t have the income to afford child care. They’re using financial aid to pay for their tuition and books and it doesn’t leave them much to pay for child care. “Of all the students I have, all of them are either on the sliding scale program or on county child care assistance.” County child care assistance is helpful to students, but as of this year, they will only be eligible for 12 months of assistance rather than 24 months as was standard in the past. The sliding scale program at MECEC began in 1995 when it became apparent that students were dropping out of school because they were unable to pay the cost of child care. It is the only child care facility in Greeley that offers a sliding-fee scale. The Mildred Hanson Scholarship Endowment has been the program’s chief source of funding since a four-year federal CAMPIS grant of almost $37,000 was exhausted last summer. The program has faced tough times since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which crippled the stock market, lowering returns on endowments. Though the market is on the rise, the returns are still not at their full value. Beginning this summer, there were some earnings from two endowments from the Winograd Foundation that MECEC added to the sliding scale program. Grants for childcare assistance also are getting hard to come by, Neigherbauer said. “What we’re seeing more of are grants for children learning English as a second language. We’re not seeing anything that helps student parents with child care. We’re just so thankful for the $15,000 from the Daniels Fund.” This is the second year for the Daniels Fund at Aims. In the winter of 2003, the Fund gave MECEC $10,000 to help with the sliding scale program. “Competition for money from the Daniels Fund has increased substantially,” said Susan Kirkpatrick, director of the Aims Foundation, which distributes funds to MECEC. “The fact that we got any money is wonderful. The Daniels Fund operates the Daniels College Prep and Scholarship Program and the Daniels Fund Grants Program in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah. The Fund was established in 1997 by Bill Daniels, a pioneer in cable television known for his philanthropy.



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