E-news Header (party)
Minnesota Newsletter   |   Mid-Summer 2013
News Corner
Early Learning Scholarship Details Announced by MN Department of Education

Attention 4 Star Parent Aware rated programs! You may be eligible to reserve scholarship dollars to serve low-income children (via 'Pathway II'). The application and program guidance are available online now and the deadline is Friday, August 23


Click here for details

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Praises Minnesota's Early Learning Progress
Photo by Office of Gov. Mark Dayton
Secretary Duncan stopped by the Twin Cities to talk early ed with Governor Dayton and state education leaders. Read more about the visit here and here.
Sunrise Banks 
Invests in Children
David Reiling, Sunrise Banks CEO, Phyllis Sloan, La Creche Executive Director, and Cal Christensen, Sunrise Banks VP & La Creche Board Member
La Creche Early Childhood Center has been 'adopted' by Sunrise Banks! Through FCF's Adopt a Child Care Program, this new and innovative partnership will include both volunteer hours and building La Creche's business capacity through marketing, fundraising, and non-profit board governance. 


Sunrise Banks is sponsoring La Creche's National Night Out event, planning a bankwide fundraising campaign, and more!

Jeanette Geisbauer, Sunrise Banks Marketing Manager and La Creche kids at the Sunrise Banks Community Picnic
Heidi & Tez
Heidi Hagel Braid

Regional Director, 

Minnesota & the Dakotas


(612) 279-6504 direct


Jamie Swezey

Business Development Associate


(612) 279-6512 direct




Or call us toll free:




Find us on Facebook
and LinkedIn:
FCF Facebook Icon  FCF LinkedIn Icon
First Children's Finance
Building stronger child care businesses
Family Child Care Providers Connect with Business Leaders in Southern MN

Six child care businesses in rural MN are currently working with FCF and the Southern MN Business Advisory Council to develop their business improvement plans. All of the providers chosen are in the process of becoming a Parent Aware rated program (one has already achieved 4 stars!), have been linked with a mentor through a partnership with MLFCCA, and are dedicated to serving low-income and special needs children. Thanks to generous funding from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, each provider will receive a grant of $1,500 to implement their business plan.
The result of convening these two sets of experienced professionals - business leaders and child care providers - is multi-faceted. While providers gain access to the resources and expertise of business leaders, our Business Advisory Council members gain valuable, real life insight towards advocating for policy level change.
"The Business Improvement Project we've partnered on with First Children's Finance has proven to be an extremely valuable resource to the region's child care providers," said Tim Penny, President of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. "We know their efforts will contribute to our goal of helping more children be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten." 
FCF Hosts Community Forum


National, state, and community leaders recently convened to discuss the business side of early care and education. The event was hosted by FCF and their National Board of Directors.


Unlike other industries, child care, in order to be both high quality and affordable, requires public and private investment. "The benefits of high quality child care accrue not only to the children served, but all of society," explains Rob Grunewald, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Currently the support coming from government subsidies doesn't reflect the cost of providing high quality early care and education." 


There was a lively discussion around strategies and solutions to address the cost of quality. "We think there is a reward or incentive that should be paid to you because you have maintained your slots and improved your quality," said Melvin Ming, CEO of Sesame Street, referring to those providers rated by Parent Aware. Ming is a board member at FCF and was in town for their meeting. "I'm not from Minnesota, so I can talk about you," he joked.   

Heidi Hagel Braid, Regional Director, presented FCF's business plan for the work that lies ahead within our state's rapidly changing landscape of early care and education.
FCF is undertaking the arduous and groundbreaking task of creating economic and business models for early care and education programs that reflect both the cost of quality and Minnesota's recent policy changes. 
"We need to hone in on the cost of providing quality and how to provide that from a business perspective," said Grunewald. "That's certainly a niche that First Children's Finance can fill."   
Rural family providers, urban child care centers, and preschool programs in local school districts have all reached out for help around how to account for the cost of quality. FCF's statewide plan not only addresses those constituents and their requests for new and sophisticated business models, tools, and assistance, but also includes strategies to engage them with the resources and expertise of the private sector. 


"We develop business plans for child care providers all the time," said Hagel Braid. "So we understand the power of stepping back to evaluate what's working and what can be improved. We believe that a strong vision can guide our work to a new place and create real and lasting change in the child care sector."