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Minnesota Newsletter   |   February/March 2014
Minnesota News
It's that time of year again! Much like last legislative session, early care and education is a hot topic at the Capitol. A few things that have been proposed so far:
  • Early Learning Scholarship funding increase and availability expansion (removal of the $5,000 cap)
  • Funding universal preschool for four year old students
  • Requiring child care providers accepting CCAP to be Parent Aware rated by 2018
  • Inclusion of the Basic Sliding Fee program in the February and November economic forecasts
  • Modification of CCAP maximum rates, absent days, and registration and activity fees
  • Elimination of the Basic Sliding Fee waitlist to serve all eligible families
Earlier this week, the E-12 Finance Division heard from MinneMinds coalition members about the need for increased investment in Early Learning Scholarships. Check out this video featuring a family that has been impacted by their scholarship.

Contact your legislator today! Let them know what kind of support your early care and education business needs, or what support you've had that has been valuable. Your voice matters!

in the News
Child Care Director Featured in NYTimes' Small Business Blog
Photo by Laura Pedrick for the NYTimes
At First Children's Finance, we love to see when child care professionals are given credit where credit is due as being small business owners! Earlier this month, the New York Times' small business blog You're the Boss interviewed a child care center director from New Jersey about how her business would be impacted by a statewide minimum wage increase.

Even before the increase, Ms. Riley, who owns Gramma's Schoolhouse Day Care, a child-care and learning center in Cinnaminson, had been struggling to keep her business going. Since 2008, the number of children her company cares for has dropped from 75 to 40, dragging down her annual revenue from $600,000 to $350,000 - and forcing her to reduce her own salary by 75 percent. 

Infant Toddler Care & Education Conference:
March 7-8 


The Reggio-Inspired Network of Minnesota (RINM) in collaboration with the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) welcomes early childhood development and Reggio expert Dr. Carolyn Pope Edwards for a two-day conference on Friday and Saturday, March 7 & 8. Friday's gathering will focus on "Infant & Toddler Care" and Saturday morning's will look at "The Role of the Teacher." The conference will be held at the Hennepin County Central Minneapolis Library in downtown Minneapolis. You can register for either Friday, Saturday, or both days of the conference. 


Click here for more information.

Heidi Hagel Braid

Regional Director, 

Minnesota & the Dakotas


(612) 279-6504 direct



Jamie Swezey

Business Development Associate


(612) 279-6512 direct




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Building stronger child care businesses

An Update from Greater Minnesota


We have been busy trudging through the polar vortex in Greater Minnesota for the past couple of months. Check our the video below to see where we've been and what we've been up to with the Greater Than MN project!


Greater Than MN February 2014 

We'd like to thank everyone who has braved the cold and ice to come out and share their thoughts at our town hall meetings; business leaders and decision makers who have put their expertise and clout behind early care and education in their community; child care professionals that have attended our trainings; and all of our regional Minnesota Initiative Foundation partners. Together, we are creating a Greater Minnesota for our children, working parents, and employers.
Marsha Erickson (West Central Initiative), Rep. Jay McNamar (MN House District 12A), Diane Strobel (Morris ECFE/Stevens County ECI), Heidi Hagel Braid (First Children's Finance) at the West Central Town Hall
Bonny Stechmann (MN DEED), Heidi Hagel Braid (First Children's Finance), Rep. Dan Fabian (MN House District 1A), Vicky Grove (Northwest MN Foundation), Rep. Debra Kiel (MN House District 1B) at the Northwest Region Business Advisory Council meeting
Our latest Community Solution Action Plan is for the Southwest Region and is published here, and we're busy working on Northeast and West Central's plans - stay tuned!
>MN is a statewide initiative to address rural early care and education needs in Greater Minnesota. Visit greaterthanmn.org and follow us on Twitter: @greaterthanmn. 
Sunrise Banks Raises Money, Awareness for Child Care

It's not every day that a bank raises money for one of its clients. But that's exactly what Sunrise Banks is doing for La Creche Early Childhood Center. As part of FCF's Adopt a Child Care Program, these two unlikely partners have joined forces to support the children and families of North Minneapolis.


The All Our Children Under One Roof campaign is fundraising throughout February and March, with all proceeds going to La Creche Early Childhood Center, an anchor in the North Minneapolis community and a partner with the Northside Achievement Zone. Almost all of the children served by La Creche come from low-income families.


"Our dream has always been to put all of our children under one roof," said Phyllis Sloan, Executive Director of La Creche, which currently has two separate child care facilities. Consolidating their operations to one location would mean greater financial sustainability for La Creche, an increased number of much-needed child care slots in the community, and a state-of-the-art learning space for the children of North Minneapolis. "Children from low-income families like those at La Creche are the ones that need and benefit from quality early learning environments the most," said Sloan.


Sunrise Banks is the first Business Champion for Children in Minnesota through the Adopt a Child Care Program with First Children's Finance. Through this unique partnership, Sunrise Banks employees has provided hundreds of volunteer hours and resources to La Creche, from the classroom to the board room.
Mayor Betsy Hodges and La Creche Director Phyllis Sloan at National Night Out, sponsored by Sunrise Banks